Addressing the factors responsible for the misunderstanding of Technology Education with other subject fields
Technology Education was introduced and rolled out in South African schools in 1998. It has been twenty years since its implementation, yet it is being confused with other traditional subjects. Therefore, even though it is expected that Technology Education should be known for what it is exactly, it is still misunderstood, misconceived and misrepresented. There are factors that contribute towards its misunderstanding (a failure to understand it), misconception (incorrect opinion caused falsely thinking about or understanding it) and misrepresentation (giving a false or misleading account of its nature), such as it being confused with Engineering Education, Educational Technology, Science Education and Technical Vocational Education and Training. Misunderstanding Technology Education causes its misconception and misrepresentation; hence, in this article I use misunderstanding to cover misconception and misrepresentation as well. There is no dedicated literature (at least in South Africa), dealing with this problem in detail; only piecemeal definitions contained in studies about Technology Education exist. Hence, this article explores factors leading to the misunderstanding of Technology Education. As part of addressing this problem, the article builds on the Meaningful Learning in Technology Education Framework to accommodate a more expanded understanding of Technology Education that may help to defuse its misunderstanding. The article contributes knowledge in the scholarship of the understanding Technology Education – if Technology Education scholars, teachers and the broader readership do not have a clear understanding of Technology Education, how can those who are being taught the subject, i.e. the learners, be expected to understand it?