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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Is it design or is it inquiry? : exploring technology research in a Filipino school setting Yazon, Jessamyn Marie Olivares


My case study explored Filipino secondary students' and teachers' experiences with technology research, project-based pedagogy. The study was conducted to examine the nature of a Technology Research (TR) Curriculum, and how it mediates non-Western students' learning, and interest in technology-based careers. The context for my study is Philippine Science High School's (PSHS) TR program wherein students outline a proposal, design an experiment or a device, and implement their design to address a real world problem. My data sources included semi-structured interviews of 27 students and 2 teachers; participant observations of classroom and group activities, teacher-student consultations, and Science-Technology Fair presentations; TR curriculum documents; and researcher journal logs. My examination of curriculum documents revealed that since the 1960s, the Philippine government has implemented specialized educational programs, such as the PSHS Science/Technology Streaming and TR programs, to support Filipino youth interested in science and technology courses and careers. Data analyses showed that the TR program provided a rich, practical learning environment where 'doing technology design' blended with 'doing science inquiry'. The TR activities enhanced student understanding of science and technology; helped them integrate and apply knowledge and skills learned from other school subjects; encouraged them to be creative, problem-solvers; and helped develop their lifelong learning skills. Students recognized that TR teachers adopted alternative instructional strategies that prompted students to adopt more active roles in their learning. Research findings revealed that student interest in pursuing technology-related careers was supported by their participation in the streaming and the TR programs. Data also showed that Filipino cultural practices mediated student learning, and career decision-making. My research findings suggest that present notions of scientific inquiry, and technological design need to be re-examined; that integrated science-technology school programs must be implemented to enhance students' academic and vocational knowledge and skills; and that career direction interventions should address personal and socio-cultural factors other than student interest and aptitude. My study provides strong evidence that technology research pedagogy can change teaching-learning approaches in a Filipino classroom. This study showed that academic-vocational, technology-enriched science curriculum could be effectively designed to help equip students to become critical thinkers and leaders in the 21st century.

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