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Engineers for the future? Nikon Partnership Professional Development for Teachers of Technology (5-14)

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3 Author(s)
McAllister, R. ; Nikon Precision Eur. GmbH, UK ; Edwards, P. ; Turner, J.

It is vital for the UK economy and advanced technology industries that the current trend of falling numbers of science, engineering and technology graduates is reversed. To help address this issue Nikon, with Learning and Teaching Scotland, the University of Edinburgh and Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh and Lothian have developed a professional development programme for teachers of technology in Scotland. This programme aims to increase the confidence and competence of teachers in delivering the technology element of the Environmental Studies curriculum for 5-14 year olds and so encourage more pupils to study technology and science in schools and beyond for longer, thereby addressing the widening technology graduation gap. The programme, which ran from January to June 2001, comprised two professional development days separated by a four-month in-school development phase. Training included case studies, pedagogy, an industrial lecture followed by a clean room tour, planning for the in-school phase and the use of information and communication technology (ICT) and the National Grid for Learning. Novel elements included working with primary/secondary school cluster groups, the involvement of postgraduate students as assistant tutors or mentors, the use of e-mentoring and the partnership approach adopted for programme planning, development and delivery. Initial indications are encouraging. Many participants worked in cluster groups for the in-school phase and an impressive range of projects has been developed. Participants have completed the programme with at least three new options for teaching technology and with a clearer idea of how to link this teaching to industry and the world of work. Participation in the programme has generated a significant amount of new technology teaching, especially in primary schools, that would not have otherwise occurred and that looks likely to be continued and built upon in future years. The Nikon Partnership is continuing to monitor the progress of the current cohort to assess the longer-term impact of this training. We hope to repeat the programme in 2002 and are looking at the potential for extending this model to other subject areas and industries.

Published in:

Engineering Education 2002: Professional Engineering Scenarios (Ref. No. 2002/056), IEE  (Volume:2 )

Date of Conference:

3-4 Jan. 2002