Technology Education - the Ethical Challenge
Parikka, M., Rasinen, A., & Ojala, A. (2011). Technology Education - the Ethical Challenge. In M. Vries (Ed.), Positioning Technology Education in the Curriculum (pp. 133-144). The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.
© 2011 Sense Publishers. This is an electronic final draft version of an article whose final and definitive form has been published in the book "Positioning Technology Education in the Curriculum" by Sense Publishers. Deposited to JYX archive with the kind permission by the publisher.
Introduction: In everyday thinking and discussion, the concepts of technique (technical methods, as in a craft or in scientific research) and technology are often regarded as synonymous. On closer analysis, one realizes that this is not the truth of the matter. On the contrary, the difference in the concepts introduces the ethical viewpoint. Technique, which generally refers to tools, equipment and machines or know-how about their use or control, is an instrument which, as such, does not does not inherently have good or bad qualities. However, the results depend on where and how it is used (Parikka & Rasinen, 1994). Technique becomes technology when it is applied to a certain task. Thus, only technology can be analyzed and observed from ethical viewpoints, which in turn are related to values. For instance, in a technological system, product or service, value statements indicating both negative and positive effects are included. Based on the above discussion, it will be challenging for schools to become conscious of and to analyze the ideals, values and ways of thinking and models of acting which are based on the essence of future technology. It will be important to look for viewpoints and methods which can be implemented in everyday school life to motivate pupils for ethical-moral studies. In this chapter, we aim to discuss the basic concepts. However, we challenge researchers, teachers and students to take a stand in their teaching amidst the present ideology of unlimited growth and “faith in technology”, which is based mainly on high tech and controlled by market forces. The various ethical viewpoints are not discussed in this chapter. Here the question is rather of ‘practical ethics’, which hopefully can be implemented in everyday school life.