טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentDrucker Doron
SubjectDevelopment of Mechanical Literacy throughout the
Engineering Science Discipline: A Case Study
DepartmentDepartment of Education in Science and Technology
Supervisors Professor Igor Verner
Professor Emeritus Tanchum Weller
Full Thesis text - in Hebrew Full thesis text - Hebrew Version


Abstract

A new Engineering Science curriculum was developed by the ORT school network and implemented in secondary schools, as part of the science-technology track established by the Israel Ministry of Education early 2000s reform. The objective of the educational study is to examine the process of development of technological literacy, to follow up students' attitudes, and identify motivational factors causing students to opt for studying Aeronautics and Space. The following research questions were derived out of this objective:

1. How does mechanics and engineering systems literacy develop in students from tenth to twelfth grade in the course of technological studies?

2. How do attitudes develop regarding experience, independent study and technological curiosity?

3. What are the factors motivating students to choose technological studies during secondary school?

The research is a multi-case study conducted in one of the ORT network schools.  Students from ninth to twelfth grades participated. Quantitative and qualitative methods were combined. Research tools included: technological literacy tests, attitude questionnaires, observations and interviews. The research started from pilot experiments in which a robotics course was conducted (N=26) and a First Lego League project was guided (N=8) for ninth grade students.

In the main stage of the research the 3-years Aeronautics and Space curriculum was implemented and evaluated in tenth grade (N=11), eleventh grade (N=17), and twelfth grade (N=28) classes of one high school during the same school year.

In order to answer the first research question, literacy tests were passed in each class at the beginning and end of the school year. In order to answer the second research question, attitude questionnaires were passed in each of the classes at the end of the school year. The attitude questionnaires included four categories: (1) importance of learning activities in science and technology studies; (2) personal reasons for choosing to learn science-technological studies, (3) development of science-technological literacy in the course of studying; and (4) ways to develop capabilities. Most of the students reported their progress in science-technological literacy due to their studies. Interviews conducted with twelfth grade students showed their preferences to work in small teams creating a joint learning experience, and a cohesive working group.

Results of the attitude questionnaires related to the third research question indicate progress in evaluation of learning and self efficacy. The students noted the contribution of the studies on the development of their research and communication skills, and abilities of analysis and synthesis.