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Representations of Technology in Educational Childrenʼs Fiction in Sweden in the Early 20th Century: The Example of The Wonderful Adventures of Nils
Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Learning and Didactic Science in Education and School (PeDiUS). Linköping University, Faculty of Educational Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0829-3349
2011 (English)In: PATT 25: CRIPT 8: Perspectives on LEarning in Design & Technology Education / [ed] Kay Stables, Clare Benson & Marc de Vries, London: Goldsmiths, University of London , 2011, 33-40 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Literature as a pedagogical tool has been used by educators for a long time and the importance of using childrenʼs books in elementary classrooms has been a topic of discussion in Sweden since the early 20th century. This study presupposes that childrenʼs fiction in school libraries have played and still play a role in mediating technological knowledge and attitudes towards technology to school children. At the turn of the century 1900 school teaching, including its literature, accounted for the main mediation of views of technology to schoolchildren. An investigation of educational childrenʼs literature can therefore be seen as an important approach to the responses of our culture in general and the school in particular to technology and technical knowledge. The aim of the study is consequently to analyse changes of technological content – that is, knowledge in and about technology as well as attitudes towards technology – in childrenʼs literature in Swedish elementary school libraries and relate this content to changes in society. This study is part of a larger research project with the same research aim and questions, but for this paper we have limited the analysis of empirical material to just the one childrenʼs book, The Wonderful Adventures of Nils, by Selma Lagerlöf.

Research on the historical background to technology as a knowledge domain and practice in the school is still in its infancy. Historical research could be one possible way of strengthening the identity of technology education and its position in the school curriculum as well as of finding ways of relating the knowledge base of technology education to changes in society. The introduction in Sweden of the 1980 Compulsory School Curriculum (Lgr 80) mandated the teaching of technology in compulsory schooling. However, technical education appeared in Swedish elementary education much earlier through other subjects. The early 20th century was in many ways formative in the sense that there was an increased spread and use of technology in society as Sweden was industrialised, which also affected what was taught in the school (Hallström, 2009; 2010).

Childrenʼs literature has been used by educators for a long time and the importance of using childrenʼs books in elementary classrooms has been a topic of discussion in Sweden since the early 20th century. This study presupposes that childrenʼs fiction in school libraries have played and still play a role in mediating technological knowledge and attitudes towards technology to school children. At the turn of the century 1900 school teaching, including its literature, accounted for the main mediation of views of technology to schoolchildren. An investigation of educational childrenʼs literature can therefore be seen as an important approach to the responses of our culture in general and the school in particular to technology and technical knowledge. The aim of the study is consequently to analyse changes of technological content – that is, knowledge in and about technology as well as attitudes towards technology – in childrenʼs literature in Swedish elementary schoo  libraries and relate this content to changes in society:

What technological content can be found in childrenʼs fiction in elementary school libraries during the period ca. 1900-1920, and how does it relate to societal changes?

This study is part of a larger research project with the same research aim and questions, but for this paper we have limited the analysis of empirical material to just the one childrenʼs book, The Wonderful Adventures of Nils, by Selma Lagerlöf (Lagerlöf, 1906-07/2004, English edition Project Gutenberg). The reason for selecting this book is the fact that it was selected to be part of a body of literature for the Swedish elementary school in the early 1900s. Furthermore, it still is the most widely read of all Swedish educational childrenʼs books. It is also translated into English and several other languages, which makes it eligible to an international audience.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Goldsmiths, University of London , 2011. 33-40 p.
Keyword [en]
Technology education; history; educational childrenʼs fiction; Selma Lagerlöf
National Category
Didactics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-72101ISBN: 978-­1-­906897-­10-­9 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-72101DiVA: diva2:457109
Conference
PATT 25: CRIPT 8: Perspectives on LEarning in Design & Technology Education, London, England, July 1-5, 2011
Available from: 2011-11-16 Created: 2011-11-16 Last updated: 2015-05-18Bibliographically approved

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Axell, CeciliaHallström, Jonas

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Department of Social and Welfare StudiesFaculty of Arts and SciencesLearning and Didactic Science in Education and School (PeDiUS)Faculty of Educational Sciences
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