Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/59662
Type: Conference paper
Title: Archaeology and engineering: what can engineers learn from the material cultures of the past?
Author: Westphalen, L.
Knight, J.
Citation: Proceedings of the 20th Australasian Association of Engineering Education Conference, 2009: pp.783-788
Publisher: University of Adelaide
Publisher Place: Adelaide
Issue Date: 2009
ISBN: 1876346590
Conference Name: Australasian Association of Engineering Education Conference (20th : 2009 : Adelaide, Australia)
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Linda Westphalen and James Knight
Abstract: The study of material cultures has a long history. Called ‘archaeology’ in academic contexts, the relationship between objects created by humans and their cultural lives is used by archaeologists to make inferences about how people live and lived, how their technology functions/ed in mechanical as well as in social, political and economic senses, and how innovation supported changes in all these domains. Materials and cultures are thus intertwined. All things created by humans that function in day to day existence have cultural, social, economic and political significances. Since engineers are at the forefront of technological innovation, an understanding of the cultural contexts of material objects is, if not essential, key to comprehending the contexts and impacts that innovations could have. In a sense, Engineering is archaeology of the future. Thus Engineering Educators are not only bound to explore the pedagogical (how we teach) and the curricular (what we teach), they are in a position to explore the contexts of innovation in material cultures. Transformative education moves beyond the reproduction of knowledge and skills, into creative and research based practice. An understanding of these differences can allow Engineers to think beyond the object to the broader context, and beyond the context to the need for more innovation.
Keywords: engineering education; curriculum; culture; archaeology; innovation
Rights: Copyright status unknown
RMID: 0020097340
Published version: http://aaee.com.au/conferences/AAEE2009/PDF/AUTHOR/AE090191.PDF
Appears in Collections:Education publications

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