What is Technology Education?

A world without creative thinking would be a very different world. All significant advancements in technology are the result s of a person thinking by using knowledge and not being afraid to take a risk. When society embraces change, good things will occur. In a society that is dependent upon technology, it is important that all students develop technological literacy. The development of the National Standards for Technological Literacy has defined a body of knowledge for the study of technology. This body of knowledge includes the study of topics in The Nature of Technology, Technology and Society, Design, Abilities for a Technological World, and The Designed World. In order to meet or exceed these standards along with the New Jersey Technological Literacy Standards, High Point Regional High School in Wantage , New Jersey offers a comprehensive program in Technological Studies.

The state of New Jersey is best known as the invention state, but may soon be famous as the birthplace of an educational revolution. However, when businesspeople first tossed around the idea of a program in which students would learn the skills necessary to succeed in the “New Economy”, revolution was not a word they used. “Frustration” came more readily to their minds – business leaders’ frustration with the lack of skilled local employees; students’ frustration as they came out of school unprepared for jobs in a technologically advanced marketplace; and the community’s frustration with the quality of public education in general. Out of frustration came inspiration, and Technology Education was born. Since the birth of Technology Education in NJ, High Point Regional High School has been a leader in new Jersey and Nationally.

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Students may choose to touch on many technological areas at High Point or select a specialized path that allows in-depth study of a particular technological area. Some of the courses will satisfy the Technology high school graduation requirement. Combinations of these courses will also satisfy the Career education and Consumer, Family, and Life Skills Standards. There are approximately 813 students enrolled in our technology programs of study. A number of programs offered at the school provide a unique curricular experience, including Mechanical Movement and Women in Engineering.

Since providing students with technology courses of study in 1999, the technological studies department has grown 200% and graduated many students, sending them to an impressive list of top colleges. The students themselves helped design the programs elegant modern facilities. The classrooms are visions of modern industriousness; with each student seated at his or her own personal computer when needed or seated with team members around a bench developing solutions to problems. Students use the latest software to do everything from accessing mentors to computer aided design assignments. Current Department programs include; Computer Aided Design, Architectural Design, Material Processing, Engineering and Design Technology, Power, Energy and Transportation Technology, Mechanical Movement, Media Technology, Computer Animation, Biotechnology and Communication Technology and the Nation’s first Women in Engineering program. The most exciting aspect of education in this department is directly connected to this access to technology. It’s called “project-based learning”. Instead of plugging their knowledge into “fill-in bubbles” on Scantron sheets at finals time, students present tech-based projects about the subject at hand. You won’t find any book reports; you’re more likely to see a robot or a beautifully designed structure, a power point presentation combining digital photography and solar powered vehicles.

Extracurricular activities include the Technology Student Association, the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Challenge, the Edison Innovation Challenge, the Panasonic Design Challenge, Synergis Challenges, and an Engineering Club. Students learn self-sufficiency and time management, and participate in what I call “A Community of Trust.”. Small class sizes and personal relationships with instructors create an environment in which students are responsible for their own learning. It’s more like college, or even a workplace, than high school. In addition, the atmosphere of trust and respect makes students feel comfortable. Students are given time to use the knowledge they have learned for the past nine to twelve years. The enormous success of this internationally and state recognized “Five Star -Program of Excellence” brings some inevitable questions, including how to keep up with the latest technological developments. We continually strive to seek grant money and use school budget money wisely as we develop plans. We recently used grant money to purchase the first 3-D printer in the county. Students can now design and print their invention. High Point ’s Technological Studies Department specializes in developing programs concentrating on the discipline of “technology” and I welcome you to contact me and arrange a visit so that technological literacy is spread throughout New Jersey.

Mark Wallace – DTE

PCB 2. 2008. Photograph. Stock Xchng. By Sun Designs. HAAP Media Ltd, 30 Aug. 2008. Web. 14 May 2011. <http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1067402>.