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The Mitcham Score: quantifying students’ descriptions of technology
Linköping University, Faculty of Educational Sciences. Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Division of Learning, Aesthetics, Natural Science.
2020 (English)In: International journal of technology and design education, ISSN 0957-7572, E-ISSN 1573-1804, Vol. 30, no 5, p. 995-1014Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A central issue when measuring students’ attitudes toward an object is the children’s understanding of that object, in this case, technology. Studies have shown that schoolchildren often describe technology narrowly as different kinds of technological objects; more specifically, modern electrical objects. This may mean that we have been measuring students’ attitudes toward modern technological objects for more than 30 years. This study intends to research what other aspects students potentially describe, when describing technology, and how the descriptions can be implemented in attitudes toward technology research. To visualize and analyze different aspects of technology, Carl Mitcham’s philosophical framework of the manifestations of technology is used. The deductive method used for analysis quantifies students’ descriptions of technology, for use in attitude, and other quantitative, studies. In this study, descriptions of technology and technology education from 164 students (aged 12–15) are analyzed, classified and quantified within Mitcham’s typology (technology as Object–Activities–Knowledge–Volition). The student descriptions are compared to the typology and students score a point for every one of the four aspects of technology they describe. The sum of aspects in the description is named The Mitcham Score. The results of this study show that students can describe technology in a broad way using all four aspects of Mitcham’s typology. In line with previous studies, the most common way is to describe technology as objects and activities using the objects. Technological knowledge has not been in focus in previous studies of student descriptions. In this study, 44.5% of the students mention technological knowledge in their descriptions of technology. Measurement using the Mitcham Score provides a method to study both students’ concepts of technology and the factors that might affect this. The Mitcham Score is potentially one more factor to use in analyzing students’ attitudinal profiles. The method is sufficiently reliable and enables a broad understanding of students’ attitudes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2020. Vol. 30, no 5, p. 995-1014
Keywords [en]
Technology education · Attitudes · Concepts of technology · The Mitcham Score · PATT
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-164110DOI: 10.1007/s10798-019-09530-8ISI: 000574226700010OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-164110DiVA, id: diva2:1412206
Available from: 2020-03-05 Created: 2020-03-05 Last updated: 2024-03-19
In thesis
1. Having an attitude toward technology: Rethinking PATT studies from a theoretical perspective to study students’ attitudes toward technology
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Having an attitude toward technology: Rethinking PATT studies from a theoretical perspective to study students’ attitudes toward technology
2024 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Attityd till teknik : Teoretiska perspektiv på PATT-studier för att studera eleves attityder till teknik
Abstract [en]

Attitudes are complex and consist of emotions, beliefs, and behavior. The overall aim of this thesis is to contribute to a theoretically anchored understanding of attitudes toward technology by exploring the three components of attitudes: affective, cognitive, and behavioral among 12-15-year-old students in Sweden.  

This thesis includes three research papers (I, II, III) and one book chapter (Paper IV) that are based on data from two studies. Data (student interviews N=6 and survey N=173) from the first study was used in Papers I, II and IV, and data (student survey N=485) from the second study were used in Paper III.     

In Paper I, an existing attitude survey (PATT) is validated for use in a Swedish context. In Paper II, an instrument to quantify students’ perceptions of technology and technology education is developed This instrument is used to study the cognitive component of attitudes and is named the Mitcham Score. In Paper III, the methods developed in Paper I and II are used to study the relationships among the affective, cognitive, and behavioral components of attitudes. In Paper IV, students’ perceptions of technology are discussed as a starting point for teachers, when planning and teaching technology. 

The methods developed throughout the thesis prove useful to research the different components of attitudes. The Mitcham Score can give insights into students’ perception of technology as well as be used as a construct of the cognitive component of attitudes. The PATT survey categories called Boredom and Interest measure students’ feelings (affect), while the category called Career was seen as assessing the behavioral component. The affective component, Interest, was related to both the cognitive component and the behavioral component. A high Mitcham Score, or in other words a broad perception of technology, seems to be a key concept for girls to consider technological careers.   

Abstract [sv]

Attityder är komplexa och kan påverkas av olika faktorer, såsom känslor, övertygelser och beteenden. Det övergripande syftet med denna avhandling är att bidra till en teoretiskt förankrad förståelse av attityder till teknik genom att utforska de tre komponenterna av attityder: affektiva, kognitiva och beteendemässiga, bland 12–15-åriga elever i Sverige.  

Avhandlingen innehåller tre artiklar (Paper I, II, III) och ett bokkapitel (Paper IV) som är baserade på data från två studier. Data (elevintervjuer N=6 och enkät N=173) från den första studien användes i Paper I, II och IV, och data (elevenkät N=485) från den andra studien användes i Paper III.     

I Paper I valideras en befintlig attitydenkät (PATT) för användning i en svensk kontext. I paper II utvecklas ett instrument för att kvantifiera elevers uppfattningar om teknik och teknikundervisning, detta instrument utvecklades för att kunna studera den kognitiva komponenten av attityder och kallas Mitcham Score. Paper III utgår från de metoder som utvecklats i Paper I och II för att studera sambanden mellan de affektiva, kognitiva och beteendemässiga komponenterna av attityder. I Studie IV diskuteras elevers uppfattningar om teknik som en utgångspunkt för lärare, för att planera och undervisa teknik.  

De metoder som utvecklats i avhandlingen visar sig vara användbara för att undersöka de olika komponenterna av attityder. Mitcham Score kan ge insikter i elevernas uppfattning om teknik samt användas för att bedöma den kognitiva komponenten av attityder. Den använda PATT-enkätens kategorier som kallas Tråkighet och Intresse mäter tydligt elevernas affektiva komponent medan kategorin som kallas Karriärssträvan mäter den beteendemässiga komponenten. Den affektiva komponenten, Intresse, relaterade till både den kognitiva och den beteendemässiga komponenten. Högt Mitcham Score, eller med andra ord bred uppfattning om vad teknik är, verkar vara en nyckelfaktor för att flickor ska överväga en karriär inom teknik.  

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2024. p. 99
Series
Studies in Science and Technology Education, ISSN 1652-5051 ; 126
Keywords
Attitudes, Technology Education, PATT, Mitcham Score, Attityder, Teknikundervisning, PATT, Mitcham Score
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-201743 (URN)10.3384/9789180756099 (DOI)9789180756082 (ISBN)9789180756099 (ISBN)
Public defence
2024-04-12, K1, Kåkenhus, Campus Norrköping, Norrköping, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2024-03-19 Created: 2024-03-19 Last updated: 2024-03-19Bibliographically approved

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Svenningsson, Johan

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