Van Eijck, Michiel, Claxton, Nicholas Xumthoult. (2009). Rethinking the Notion of Technology in Education: Techno-Epistemology as a Feature Inherent to Human Praxis. Science Education. (93, 2), 218-232. doi: 10.1002/sce.20308

Summary: I honestly have a difficult time summarizing the authors work. It is a complex look at the interaction of science, technology, and epistemology. They define the two current camps in the technology education realm as, “Technology as a way of knowing, and Applied Science.” These two division have existed for quite some time. The authors work attempts to describe technology as dependent on one’s epistemological view of systems. They assert that technology can best be explained by a dialectical unit, Techno-Epistemology. To help the reader along they conduct a case-study of the Saanich first nation people’s reef net fishing practices.

Response: First off, a fascinating read. By using a Pacific NW Indian tribe as their case the authors had me hooked throughout the 15 page article. It is extremely well written and I was forced to pull out my dictionary a few times. I wish to highlight several key ideas I gleaned from the paper. The concept of Bricolage is quite interesting. The authors define it as,

“The usefulness of an artifact in the inherently dynamic sociocultural and material setting in which it is constructed rather than a certain predetermined and scientifically justified “truth” or “method” determines what is ultimately adopted as “good” technology.”

This of course occurs in many situations, for instance, chain-saws were “good” technology for capitalists, but poor for environmentalists. The perspective taken on technology is a critical factor that this paper examines. Recognizing the world view that tech is evaluated on is imperative. Page 223,

“…”all systems of knowledge about nature are embedded in the context of a cultural group; that all systems therefore are culture-laden; and that science (Western science) is the system of knowledge about nature that is predominant in Western
culture” (Lewis & Aikenhead, 2001, p. 3).”

An intriguing article that makes one wonder about the way things are currently done.

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