Technological problem-solving ability of primary school children

The requirements following constant technological development or further development drastically influence areas of human life. Adopting knowledge and competences on how to handle technological problems as well as creating a reflexive view on technological development are necessary and need to be supported as early as possible (e.g. Ziefle/Jakobs 2009). At the same time, are gender stereotypes present in today’s society, that regard technology as well as other STEM areas: boys are held up as experimenters while girls are regarded as technologically uninterested and untalented (e.g. Faulstich-Wieland 2010; Björkholm 2010). How children deal with technological problems and whether actual differences between the behavior of girls and boys are recognizable has barely been researched scientifically. Hence, the central question of the research work examines how children in primary schools solve technological problems.

Based on this research question, the aim of the study is to analyze the technological problem-solving of children in primary school with an average age of nine years. Problem-solving describes a process in which the problem solver does not know how to get from the initial state - the problem - to the desired target state - the solution (Edelmann 2000). In a first paper-pencil test, the subjects’ technological knowledge and technical self-assessment will be tested. In the following main examination, the subjects will be asked to independently solve a practical problem from the technological field, outside of their teaching and social group interaction, which will be recorded by video. The main goal of the study is to find information on the technical problem -solving of children. Furthermore, it is to investigate whether differences in the technical problem solving between girls and boys exist. Eventually, the study recommends on how to introduce children to technology and give boys and girls equal excess to a technological understanding.

Björkholm, E. (2010): Technology Education in Elementary School: Boys‘ and Girls‘ Interests and Attitudes. In: Nordic Studies of Science and Education Vol. 6 No 1 (2010). Pp. 33-42.

Edelmann, W. (2000): Lernpsychologie. 6., vollständig überarbeitete Auflage. Weinheim: Verlagsgruppe Beltz. S. 209.

Faulstich-Wieland, H. (2010): Mädchen und Jungen im Unterricht. In: Buholzer, A./ Kummer Wyss, A. (Hrsg.): Alle gleich – alle unterschiedlich! Zum Umgang mit Heterogenität in Schule und Unterricht. Seelze-Velber: Kallmeyer in Verbindung mit Klett. Pp. 16-26.

Ziefle, M./ Jakobs, E.-M. (2009): Wege zur Technikfaszination. Sozialisationsverläufe und Interventionspunkte. Berlin: Springer Verlag. Pp. 125.