Forthcoming Paper & Podcast: Towards a Transformative Epistemology of Technology Education

In the midst of what some have labelled a ‘STEM crisis’ (?), I have become increasingly interested in our understanding of the nature of subjects and how this might affect the ways in which they are manifest within policy, curriculum, planning and lesson activity.  The work I undertook within my PhD, which looked at pupil problem solving in Technology Education classrooms, opened up a number of unanticipated philosophical doors that forced me to further consider the nature of the ‘T’ within STEM.  Though I sense I am at the beginning of a somewhat lengthy personal endeavour, my initial attempt to centralise ‘transformation’ in the epistemology of technology education through consideration, in no small part, of the ontology of artefacts, was accepted by the Journal of Philosophy of Education.   It is due to feature shortly in the 50th Anniversary volume.


I am very keen to discuss this work and hear form those who may share similar interests in this area – so please do get in touch:


Important: A version of this paper which can be cited is due to appear shortly as an electronic early view format on the JOPE website.   The hard copy paper is scheduled for publication in November (Volume 50, Issue 4 of the journal).

A pre-publication version of the paper can be downloaded from here: Towards a Transformative Epistemology of Technology Education – Morrison-Love(2016) and the abstract is given below:

Abstract: Technology Education offers an authentic and invaluable range of skills, knowledge, capabilities, contexts and ways of thinking for learners in the 21st century.  However, it is recognised to occupy a comparatively less defined and more fragile curricular position than associated, but longer established, subjects such as Mathematics and Science.  While recognising that no single factor lies behind such a condition, this paper draws upon thinking in the philosophy of technology, technology education and the ontology of artefacts to argue that transformation may be considered as a epistemic source for technology in a similar way to ‘proof’ within Mathematics and ‘interpretation’ within Science.  Encapsulating technology’s intimate relationship with materials, it is ultimately argued that the transformation of a technical artefact from an ill-defined into a well-defined ontological state constitutes a prime source of technological knowledge for pupils.  Moreover, it provides an alternative route into further consideration about the nature of the domain, epistemology and curricular identity of the subject.    

Keywords: Technology Education, Transformation, Epistemology, Ontology 

Link to Journal of Philosophy of Education

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ITEEA 21st Century Leadership Academy

ITEEA01.jpgRecently, I was fortunate enough to be awarded one of six places on the ITEEA’s 21st Century Leadership Academy. This is one of several schemes that the organisation run to support and encourage those within the field of Technology and Engineering Education. I was fortunate enough to attend a fantastic conference last month held at the National Harbour in Washington DC and, as well as attending a range of stimulating presentations and keynotes, I was able to meet with those who had also gained a place on the programme. Having spent some time learning about the scheme from Dr Roger Hill and Dr Bill Havice, it sounds truly excellent and very supportive of those things we all aspire to achieve. I very much look forward to working with everyone over the coming year.

STEMDetails of the 21st Century Leadership Academy can be found here and I would strongly encourage you to visit the ITEEA here and find out about the fantastic work they are undertaking in the field of Technology and Engineering Education – particularly with regard to Integrative STEM in elementary, junior and high schools.

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Pioneering STEM Education in Africa Summit 2015


I was fortunate enough to be invited to speak at Konnect2Africa’s Pioneering STEM in Africa Summit at the Royal Society in London (3rd & 4th December, 2015).  A range of speakers were able to provide insights concerned with supporting African countries in capitalising on their intrinsic potential through STEM at a time of great opportunity and promise.  The event was hugely successful.  Speakers tackled a range of topics including women in STEM, entrepreneurship, media and research capital, educational and learning as well as opportunities for embracing and developing advanced technologies in areas such as space exploration and biomimetics.  In addition to myself from the University of Glasgow, organisations included a range of HE institutions, STEMettes, UNESCO, Ignite, Guerilla Educators, Lightyear Foundation, TechWomen, Elsevier and NASA.

This was the first event of its kind and it is very much hoped that it will give rise to some innovative ideas, thinking and STEM collaborations that Continue reading

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How to turn up the Dial on the Efficiency and Quality of Student Feedback (Part 2)

This is the second of three posts that explore alternative methods of providing students with feedback on University assignments – written and otherwise.  Here, consideration will be given to audio only in the shape of feedback podcasts.  Now, podcasts are just sections of recorded media, often involving the spoken word, that are normally part of some sort of series.  One of the benefits of this is also that students can access MP3 files of their feedback on a range of mobile devices in any number of settings.  What I would say from the outset, however, is that the thinking processes associated with verbally recorded feedback are different to those for written feedback and, as such, may take a few runs to get used to.  Though all of the same standards and expectations of assessment and Continue reading

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Research in Technology Education

topic cloud

Title words from articles in the International Journal of Technology & Design Education over the last five years.

Research in Technology Education is a relatively new filed on inquiry – partly due to the fact that the curricular subject area itself is comparatively new.  Whilst this means that there is lots of exciting work still to be done, it is prudent also to note that there have been a large number of very high quality and well-considered contributions to date.  Every so often, researchers will summarise these contributions, the shape of the landscape and map Continue reading

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How to turn up the Dial on the Efficiency and Quality of Student Feedback (Part 1)

As a prior classroom teacher and researcher in the Curriculum, Assessment & Pedagogy Research Group at the University of Glasgow, assessment never strays far from my field of consideration.  Though few would argue that feedback is a critical aspect of effective assessment, it takes time.   Certainly, as an academic, I am still grappling with how I best manage my work and, in doing so, have recognised a number of quite inefficient processes.  In this series of posts, I will describe some of the major changes I have made to my practice as a result of trying to increase the quality of the feedback I give to students whilst simultaneously slashing the amount of time it takes me to administer.   With the compilation of feedback being one of the most time-demanding aspects, this formed my Continue reading

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Manipulation, Pupil Creativity and the Power of Research in the Classroom

Really good teaching involves really good manipulation.  Though this may sound as if it should have string of negative connotations attached to it, what teachers say (and the way they say it), can heavily shape how pupils interpret and learn within lessons.  Language and the design of instruction are critical.  To exemplify this (and my core argument that the use of good quality research is essential), I will briefly discuss an example form my no too distant days as a Technology Teacher.  As part of a design and make task, pupils necessarily engage with the process of generating design ideas; the challenge, as a Teacher, is to foster the greatest level of creativity in doing so.  I will offer some provisional insight Continue reading

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Edge Hill University Conference Presentation

Below is the presentation I gave at Edge Hill Universities Annual Educational Research Conference (July, 2013).

The Power of Research-Based Pedagogy: Increasing Pupils’ Creativity


Creativity is nebulous to understand and problematic to nurture. Though, as a human trait, it is frequently observed in a range of endeavours, being creative, or producing something that is deemed creative, is often very challenging for pupils.
This presentation reports on the design and execution of a focused pedagogical learning and teaching strategy that enhanced the creativity of pupils when developing sketch-based ideas in response to a brief. The pupils (13-14 years old) were undertaking a design and make project in the technology department of a Scottish secondary school. The developments discussed herein were part of the work undertaken by the department in response to the Curriculum for Excellence (Scottish Executive, 2004) .
Initially, a range of key research studies will be reviewed. This will conceptualise creativity Continue reading

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Publication of a Paper: Promoting Transfer and an Integrated Understanding for Pre-Service Teachers of Technology Education

I have recently had a paper published in the Global Education Review that reports on a small scale study into promoting transfer of learning through integrated problem solving for pre-service teachers of technology education.  You can access the full paper by clicking here.  I have included the abstract at the end of this post, but thought I would include a few words about the resultant shift in my own thinking about learning transfer that may be of use to others.

ltransPrior to embarking upon this, I was aware (especially as a secondary school teacher) that pupils did not necessarily make the links and draw upon understanding from other areas that I would have expected.  Indeed, there were even instances where the context of the Continue reading

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Classroom Techniques: Sharing Learning Outcomes


Ok, so everybody recognises this to be an important part of any lesson, but it should not simply be something that is done because it is expected.  It really does serve an important function in terms of the learning from the pupils perspective and for managing this from the teachers perspective.  In this short post, I provide some thoughts about the functions of Learning Outcomes and how to share these effectively during lessons. Continue reading

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