SMITS, R., 2000. The multiple meanings of technological practice in technology education in New Zealand. IN: Kimbell, R. (ed.). Design and Technology International Millennium Conference. Wellesbourne : The D&T Association, pp. 176-189.
Understanding the nature of technological practice is one of the eight achievement objectives specified in the
New Zealand technology curriculum (Ministry of Education, 1995). Despite only a small place within the
curriculum document, technological practice has become a key concept used in the professional development
of teachers and the assessment of technology. This paper describes some of the different points of view about
the meaning of technological practice. It also summarises some initial results from a survey canvassing views
on technological practice held by those involved in leadership positions in technology education in New
Zealand. Experiences of technological practice seem to be genuinely helpful in building teachers’
understanding of technology. However, how these translate into what teachers and children do in classrooms
is less clear. Though this research suggests that most leaders in technology education agree that children meet
the curriculum aims through technological practice I ask whether this approach locks us into always valuing
technology and constrains the possibilities of being critical. Finally, an alternative to the definition of
technological practice listed on the New Zealand Ministry of Education website is suggested.