Education is meant to prepare students to solve problems within their environments. The concerns of education are different from the traditional approaches to education and learning since students approach their projects from problem definition as opposed to the project’s idea (Flowers, 1998, p.20). According to the author, a problem is a need or a want that needs to be satisfied. The importance of problem-solving approaches to learning and education is that learners can gain experience on the different ways of solving problems. Once several ways of handling technological design problems are established, the best possible approach is selected and implemented.
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The author identifies two main reasons why many products that are designed this way fail to meet the specific needs. Hence, he provides solutions to the existing problems. First, “…technology students or professional product designers design few, if any, of today’s products to meet the actual needs” (Flowers, 1998, p.21). In support of this assertion, the author claims that most of the products are designed such that they can be successfully placed in the open market. Establishing a problem or a need is not necessary since people can be changed to orient their needs to an existing product. The implication of this to learning and education is that technology education systems need not only to train people on the ways of creating new products but also on the mechanisms of changing the consumption patterns of people.
Hence, technology students also need to be trained on how to win people to consume products through sales so that they can purchase particular products even if they may not need them. Secondly, the author is contented that, sometimes, instead of changing products through technology to solve particular problems, a change in systems by altering a policy is the most desired strategy. This argument may influence my profession since it suggests that, rather than focusing on helping students to derive solutions to technological and practical problems through tangible solutions, they also need to be taught how to handle design problems through intangible ways. Such ways include the mechanisms of making tangible solutions to create the desired change or to satisfy an emerging need through the establishment of requisite policy frameworks.
Based on the above arguments, it is deducible that people have no utmost control over their environment. This position is the Taoist approach to technology and learning. According to Taoism philosophy, “…some other belief systems do not put humans on an adversarial battle ground with nature” (Flowers, 1998, p.22). This means that technology must be deployed in a manner that ensures peaceful coexistence between people and the universe. Indeed, any attempt to utilize technology otherwise about the environment leads to ruining the universe.
Flowers, J. (1998).Problems solving in Technology Education: A Taoist Perspective. Journal of Technology Education, 10(1), 20-25.