History of Technology: An Area of Growth in Design Education III
Technology Appreciation: what does this mean in practical teaching? Perhaps it can best be thought of by analogy with music appreciation: thousands of people, either through skilful teaching or by selfeducation (or both), have come to have a deep feeling for great music and a consequent enrichment of their lives without being in any way skilled practitioners of any instrument. By parallel thinking, it is evident that the essentials of technology can be appreciated without the need to be a skilled craftsman or engineering designer. In fact, just as the majority of our students will never be able to play a musical instrument to orchestral standard, an equivalent majority will never learn to handle data processing or sand casting.
Just as long-playing records and high-fidelity amplifiers revolu tionised music teaching in the late 1940s and 1950s (and does anyone else recall that first massive impact of hi-fi Sibelius in the classroom?), so have industrial museums revolutionised teaching the nature of technology: that first sudden glimpse of the Iron Bridge is a memorable experience, as is the unexpected towering structure of the David and Sampson blowing engines amongst the woodlands of Blists Hill, another of the Ironbridge Museum sites.