Date of Award

Winter 2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

STEM and Professional Studies

Program/Concentration

Occupational and Technical Studies

Committee Director

Philip A. Reed

Committee Member

William C. Bridges

Committee Member

John Ritz

Abstract

This study compared high school student's perceptions of technology and technological literacy to those perceptions of the general public. Additionally, individual student groups were compared statistically to determine significant differences between the groups. The ITEA/Gallup Poll instrument was used to survey high school student's perceptions of technology in the study. The instrument has been used twice (2001, 2004) in the United States and once (2005) in Hong Kong to survey adult's perceptions of technology. The student population in question consisted of three subgroups: students enrolled in a standards-based technology education courses, students enrolled in a Project Lead the Way® (PLTW®) Principles of Engineering pre-engineering course, and students enrolled in a general education course (language arts, mathematics, or science). In addition, each student group's perceptions of technology were compared to one another to determine differences within each group.

A convenience sample (n=10) was drawn from the entire population of North Carolina's Fundamentals of Technology course teachers (N=125) and a sample (n=9) was drawn from the entire population of North Carolina's PLTW® (N=35) programs. Additionally, a convenience sample consistent with the number of Fundamentals of Technology courses and PLTW® courses was drawn for the study to serve in a reference group capacity. Since the entire population of North Carolina's PLTW® programs was (N=35), only nine schools from each of the three groups were mailed the survey packet. Randomly selected teachers were mailed a cover letter explaining the study to the teachers, parent consent form, student participation form, a reference copy of the survey including specific demographic information, and the ITEA/Gallup Poll (2001/2004). Data collected were compared using chi-square analysis to answer the research questions.

Of the 29 packets mailed out to teachers of all three different groups, 15 packets were returned for a response rate of 51.7%. A total of 151 students were surveyed, 58 of which were enrolled in technology education classes, 23 in PLTW® classes, and 70 enrolled in general education classes. All instruments were deemed usable for the study.

Thirteen of the 66 items in the ITEA/Gallup Poll (2001/2004) showed a significant difference between students that complete a Project Lead the Way® pre-engineering course, students who complete the Fundamentals of Technology standards-based technology education course, and students who are only enrolled in general education courses. Of those 13 items showing a significant difference between all three groups, 7 of the 13 items showed a significant difference between technology education and PLTW® respondents, 6 of the 13 items showed a significant difference between PLTW® and general education respondents, and 8 of the 13 items showed a significant difference between technology education and general education group respondents.

DOI

10.25777/rebd-m438

ISBN

9781109705973

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