Student Teachers of Technology and Design: Can short periods of STEM-related industrial placement change student perceptions of engineering and technology?

Ken S Gibson
2012, Vol. 17, No. 1,


This is a report, on a small-scale case study, of a
programme of short industrial placements (5 day block)
for student teachers of technology and design in Northern
Ireland. Such placements increase student awareness and
understanding of the nature of Engineering and Technology
and therefore better prepare them to teach these subjects,
as integral elements of STEM (Science, Technology,
Engineering and Mathematics). The aim was to discover if
a short period of industrial placement would change
student perceptions of industry, engineering and
technology. Prior to the placement, undertaken in
collaboration with industrial partners, the students revealed
preconceived ideas about engineering, technology and
industry. During placement students had opportunities to
‘work-shadow’ engineers and technologists and to contest
their predetermined views and opinions. This study reveals
that previously held views were challenged in terms of
definitions contested, roles and function considered,
perceptions challenged, and awareness increased.


placement, perceptions, engineering, technology, industry, awareness

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