Teaching and learning the nature of technical artifacts

Abstract

Artifacts are probably our most obvious everyday encounter with technology. Therefore, a good understanding of the nature of technical artifacts is a relevant part of technological literacy. In this article we draw from the philosophy of technology to develop a conceptualization of technical artifacts that can be used for educational purposes. Furthermore we report a small exploratory empirical study to see to what extent teachers’ intuitive ideas about artifacts match with the way philosophers write about the nature of artifacts. Finally, we suggest a teaching and learning strategy for improving teachers’ concepts of technical artifacts through practical activities.

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