How did Technology Education evolve?

Technology Education has evolved in many parts of the world from Industrial Arts education.  Many of you may remember making window sticks and similar projects as a public school class activity.  In many ways this task was intended to expose the students to woodworking tools and to develop manual aptitude paired with skills such as measurement.  This is a very good example of what Technology Education IS NOT.  Industrial Arts for many educators was intended to provide vocational training for students.  It allowed for career building through the development of manual dexterity.  This was a wonderful opportunity for those students interested in such career paths but sadly was often a subject labeled for those who were less academically-oriented.  By sharp contrast, Technology Education is intended for all students.  We need only consider the rapidly changing technological society we live in for a moment to see that, all students need to be effective problem solvers.  This is a life skill which Technology Education programs can uniquely address.

What does Technology Education Curriculum look like in the Public Schools?

Technology Education in many jurisdictions of North America has traditionally been offered under three distinct strands:

Communications Technology

This strand of technology deals with all aspects including processes and systems of communications.  In a public school classroom you may see students working on such things as:

  • Mechanical drawings
  • Computer-Assisted Drafting (CAD)
  • Graphic Design by hand or through computer programs (COREL, Photoshop)
  • Screen Printing
  • Webpage Design
  • Electronics
  • Desktop Publishing
  • Computer Numerical Control of Machines
  • Video Production
  • Sound Editing
  • Multimedia Production
  • Simple Software Design

Energy, Power and Transportation Technology

This branch of technology deals with:

  • the generation of energy
  • its conversion into useable forms,
  • its application to transportation &
  • the impacts of applying EPT technologies.

In public school classrooms you are likely to see a laboratory that engages students in theory and practice around such topics as:

  • Small engines
  • Hydraulics
  • Pneumatics
  • Rocketry
  • Flight
  • Alternative energy sources such as solar, tidal and wind power

Note:  Communications and EPT are often taught in schools using modular stations where students are rotated through a series of topic studies.  This allows the teacher to be flexible and respond to student interest and new trends in technology.

Production Technology

This type of technology study undoubtedly has the strongest connections with the traditional industrial arts classroom yet the focus is very different.  Students in these classrooms find themselves using design and problem solving approaches to respond to either a challenge from the teacher or a design problem of personal interest.  In solving the problem students create the design idea, research and engineer the product design, build a prototype, test the prototype and complete an evaluation of the product.  In many schools this is coupled with a school market feasibility study including a cost estimate of materials etc.  Throughout this endeavor students may be exposed to 1) materials science around wood, metal and plastics, 2) tools and processes for shaping and combining materials and 3) computer numerical control of machines (CNC lathes, robotics, mills etc.).



Biotechnology is a technology category of emerging interest and importance in our society.  There is considerable ambiguity around this term because at first glance one might assume that it represents the entire overlap of biology and technology.  In fact it represents a mere fraction of that overlap.  Specifically biotechnology has been defined as "any technique that uses living organisms (or parts of organisms) to make or modify products, to improve plants or animals, or to develop micro-organisms for specific uses".

Biotechnology in Nova Scotia school is offered at the grade 9 level and has the global topics:

  • What is biotechnology?

  • Biotechnology processes

  • Biotechnology Systems

  • Issues and Trends

  • Ethical Issues

  • Careers

At this grade level by necessity, the specific topics involve rudimentary ideas around such things as:

  • Agriculture (hydroponics)

  • Aquaculture Systems

  • Bioprocessing

  • Transgenetics

  • Fermentation

  • Milk Products

  • Bioassays and Toxicity


What does the Technology Education Teacher Intern Program look like at Acadia?

The Acadia program is offered through a unique partnership with a local technology-rich high school.  All laboratory instruction is carried out in the school facilities such that student-interns have first hand knowledge of the typical resources at their disposal in an exemplary technology education school environment. 

When interns are accepted into the BEd (Secondary) at Acadia their university transcripts must demonstrate 30 credit hours in a public school teachable subject (called their 1st teachable) and 18 credit hours in a second public school teachable subject (called their 2nd teachable).  There are several other course prerequisites that must be met.  This information can be obtained by contacting the School of Education at (902) 585-1395 and requesting an application package.

Students applying to the TE program at Acadia are expected to have a related degree (technology, science, engineering) with content background in at least one of the technology strands mentioned above.  The Nova Scotia government certifies teachers in TE based on their completion of a BEd (63 credit hours) and demonstration of either a major (30 credit hours) or minor (18 credit hours) outside of the BEd credits.

The BEd program itself offers 9 credit hours of methodology courses:

     1)  Teaching Strategies for Communications Technology (EDUC 4593)
     2)  Teaching Strategies for Energy, Power and Transportation 
          Technology (EDUC 4573)
     3)  Teaching Strategies for Production Technology (EDUC 4583)

A recently released government report has highlighted Technology Education educators as being in great demand in the next 5 years.  In response to this demand, Acadia has recently modified its program to accommodate students who may not have a comprehensive background in technology as described above. 

Each methodology course is coupled with a required corresponding content course which can be counted as part of the students major or minor.  It is important to note that these credits must be taken over and above the standard BEd program in order to count as content background (i.e. credits can't be double-counted for BEd & content)

The content courses include the following:

  • Communications Technology (EDUC 41B3)

  • Production Technology (EDUC 41C3)

  • Energy, Power & Transportation Technology (EDUC 41A3)

In addition three other courses are available to the student as a means of building additional content background.  These include:

  • Digital Multimedia (EDUC 4513)

  • Teaching Biotechnology (EDUC 41D3)

  • Science, Technology & Society (EDUC 41E3)

NOTE:  All TE programs are designed and approved in consultation with the School of Education Director so as to ensure provincial certification requirements will be met.

The balance of the course requirements are very similar to other Secondary core subjects.  Details can be obtained from the aforementioned office.

Why come to Acadia for Technology Education?

Acadia University is one of the few Schools of Education in Canada that offers a teacher-intern program in broad-based technology education.  The province of Nova Scotia has specifically designated Acadia as the sole institution in Nova Scotia for TE teacher training.  The cohort class size is capped at 15 students so that TE interns get individualised instruction by experienced educators.


We look forward to your application.  Apply early as spaces are limited!

Information supplied by:
Dr. G. MacKinnon
Coordinator of Technology Education
School of Education
Acadia University