Purdue News

December 13, 2004

Purdue technology education program ranked No. 1 in nation

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A Purdue University program that prepares educators to expose middle and high schools students to the broad range of career options available in technology and engineering fields has been honored as the nation's finest.

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The Association for Career and Technical Education has named Purdue's Technology Education Program the best at preparing future technology teachers at the K-12 level. The award recognizes both the quality of the program's coursework and the abilities and contributions of its graduates.

"This is a great honor for Purdue and faculty and students who have put the program at the forefront and will help usher in the continued rapid advances in technology," said George E. Rogers, who oversees the program. "It is a testament to the quality of both Purdue's technology and education faculty, as well as the program's students."

Rogers, an associate professor of industrial technology and curriculum and instruction, pointed specifically to advances the program has made over the last three years. Since 2001 enrollment has increased by 370 percent to almost 80 students. A new pre-engineering curriculum has been approved and faculty have established a study aboard program in Queensland, Australia. Corporate gifts also have funded a teacher education laboratory in which students can develop and analyze lesson plans and hands-on activities for their students.

"Technology education is a rapidly growing field," Rogers said. "Schools across Indiana and the rest of the country have a critical need for teachers who are properly trained to teach the developing areas of technology. In addition to technology, some states have incorporated a high school pre-engineering curriculum as well, and as more states include this focus, Purdue graduates will be able to fill that demand. Indiana has arrangements with 40 states that accept our teaching certifications, giving technology education graduates opportunities across the country."

Rogers said technology education in middle and high schools has changed dramatically over the last several years. Gone are the days of wood shop and welding dominating the classes, giving room to topics like design processes, manufacturing technology and construction management. High school students now spend their time with activities like computer modeling, computer-numerical-controlled machining, digital electronics, strength and materials testing, and factory design.

"It's important to expose students to the breath of topics involved in technology at an early age," Rogers said. "It's similar to the way we teach young people science, where they learn subjects like biology, chemistry and anatomy before choosing to specialize. In technology, we also want them to understand the different possibilities and explore their interests.

"As technology becomes more and more a part of our everyday lives, it is also important that our schools produce graduates who understand the technology that will be affecting almost everything they do."

The Purdue program is a joint effort between the College of Technology and College of Education. Technology education students take courses in technology theory and application in the College of Technology and courses in classroom instruction in the College of Education. They graduate with both a technology degree and teaching license.

"The strength of this program comes from the collaboration between the two colleges," said Sidney M. Moon, College of Education associate dean of learning and engagement. "This way, we are able to provide our students not only a world-class education in the subject matter they will teach, but also with a solid understanding of learning and teaching techniques, as well as practical classroom experience."

Purdue's technology education program is accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education and the Indiana Professional Standards Board.

Michael T. O'Hair, the College of Technology's associate dean for engagement and statewide technology, said Purdue's Technology Education Program also benefits from its connection to the Project Lead the Way program. The national initiative brings together schools, higher education and industry to increase the number and quality of engineers and engineering technologists in the United States.

The College of Technology administers Project Lead the Way in Indiana as part of a collaboration between the university and Indiana Department of Education. The program provides technology education training and curricula for teachers in elementary, middle and high schools.

"Under Purdue's leadership, more than 92 Indiana schools participate in Project Lead the Way – the second most of any state," O'Hair said. "The program is one of the best in the country and, when combined with college preparatory math and science classes in high school, introduces students to the rigor, scope and discipline of engineering and engineering technology. It is the type of curriculum that our graduates can use to complement what they learn in Purdue's Technology Education Program."

The College of Education's Teacher Education Council is responsible for ensuring that all teacher licensure programs at Purdue meet state and national standards. The council – a collaboration between the College of Education and six other Purdue colleges that offer teacher education programs – provides input into the development, implementation and monitoring of teacher licensure programs. The college also provides resources for the assessment of Purdue teacher education programs and the placement of student teachers.

Writer: Matt Holsapple, (765) 494-2073, mholsapple@purdue.edu

Sources: George E. Rogers, (765) 494-1092, gerogers@purdue.edu

Sidney M. Moon, (765) 494-7301, sidney@purdue.edu

Michael T. O'Hair, (765) 494-2554, mtohair@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu

 

PHOTO CAPTION:
Purdue senior Adam Acton, at left, from Whitestown, Ind., and sophomore Thom Taylor, from LaGrange, Ind., work with robotics software in Purdue's technology education laboratory. The technology education program, which trains future middle and high school teachers, is a component of the College of Technology's efforts to encourage younger students to consider careers in technology. The program was recently named the nation's best by the Association for Career and Technical Education. (Purdue News Service file photo/Dave Umberger)

A publication-quality file photo is available at http://news.uns.purdue.edu/images/+2004/depew-technology.jpg

 

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