Discerning technological systems related to everyday objects: mapping the variation in pupils’ experience

  • Maria Svensson
  • Åke Ingerman


Understanding technology today implies more than being able to use the technological objects present in our everyday lives. Our society is increasingly integrated with technological systems, of which technological objects, and their function, form a part. Technological literacy in that context implies understanding how knowledge is constituted in technology, and in particular how concrete (objects) and abstract levels (systems) are linked. This article has an educational focus concerning systems in technology education. Using a phenomenographic approach, the study explores pupils’ experiences of technological systems as embedded in four everyday objects. We identify five qualitatively different ways of understanding systems, ranging from a focus on using the particular objects, over-focussing on the function of objects, seeing objects as part of a process, and seeing objects as system components, to understanding objects as embedded in systems. As a conclusion, we suggest an educational strategy for teaching about systems in technology education.


Technological systems Technological objects Artefacts Understanding technology Technological literacy Teknisk bildning Technology education Phenomenography 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EducationUniversity of GothenburgGothenburgSweden
  2. 2.Department of Social and Welfare StudiesLinköping UniversityNorrkopingSweden

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