KEIRL, S., 1999. As if Democracy Mattered.... Design, Technology and Citizenship or 'Living with the Temperamental Elephant'. IDATER 1999 Conference, Loughborough: Loughborough University
This presentation takes as its basis the proposals for 'civics and citizenship education' - exemplified from Australia 'Whereas the people: civics and citizenship education' (1994) and from England and Wales 'Education for citizenship and the teaching of democracy in schools' (1998).
Not only is the current orthodoxy impaired - that the content of these reports ought to be the remit of curriculum areas such as Studies of Society - but also the reports' attention to technology is impaired by limited understandings of information and communications technologies. It will be argued that Design and Technology has an obvious and significant role to play in citizenship education and education for democracy. Furthermore, the case is presented that Design and Technology can only claim its legitimate place in a democratic curriculum if it is constructed holistically rather than being limited to the instrumental, the gendered or the vocational.
In addressing the dysfunction between the rhetoric of the reports and the potential of Design and Technology Education to empower students as citizens, workers and individuals, the paper explores:
the significance of design as a change agent and creator of the future;
understandings of matters of our very being and existence, and relationships with gene technologies and 'machine consciousness';
technologies and technological practices which inhibit democracy.