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ERIC Number: EJ782301
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2002
Pages: 24
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 13
ISSN: ISSN-0022-1864
Children Designing & Engineering: Contextual Learning Units in Primary Design and Technology
Hutchinson, Patricia
Journal of Industrial Teacher Education, v39 n3 p122-145 Spr 2002
The Children Designing & Engineering (CD&E) Project at the College of New Jersey is a collaborative effort of the College's Center for Design and Technology and the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce. The Project, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), has been charged to develop instructional materials for grades K-5. The twelve thematic units under development integrate science, mathematics, technology and other content through design-and-make activities. Activities are coordinated with both state and national standards and are situated within contexts inspired by seven New Jersey businesses. Project staff members are also attempting to explore how design-based activities can provide an early orientation to skills and attitudes sought by employers. The CD&E project began in 1998 as a three-year effort to help elementary teachers incorporate design and technology into their teaching. Project collaborators from the College of New Jersey and the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce joined forces to design real-world, developmentally appropriate instructional units that would communicate the unique nature of technological pursuits and harness the inherent appeal of design activity as a vehicle for learning. The approach taken to the CD&E units draws on research from a wide range of current educational orientations, with the most notable among these found in the literature on contextual learning and problem-based learning. Underlying the materials is a general constructivist perspective, and units feature elements of authentic assessment and cooperative learning. Theories about workplace contexts, learning styles, and multiple intelligences have also informed the design decisions. In this article, the author describes how the CD&E project applies theories of contextual learning, problem-based learning, and Design and Technology (D&T) education to create an amalgam of the three which project collaborators call Design & Technology-Based Contextual Learning. (Contains 3 figures and 2 tables.)
National Association of Industrial and Technical Teacher Educators. Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education; Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New Jersey