Effects of company visits on Dutch primary school children's attitudes toward technical professions

Tim Post*, Juliette H. Walma van der Molen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Technology-oriented company visits could potentially provide children with a stimulating ‘real-world’ setting to develop more broad and positive images of and attitudes toward technology and technical professions. The present study was the first to explore whether children’s images of and attitudes toward technology, technical competencies and technical professions could be affected by technology-oriented company visits, as they are presently carried out in the Netherlands. A previously validated measurement instrument was used to measure children’s images and attitudes prior to and after the visits and results were compared to similar measurements among children who did not take part in the visits. In addition, based on recent review studies about school visits to science centers, we derived several key theoretical guidelines for organizing effective school visits. Based on these guidelines, structured interviews were carried out with all teachers prior to the company visits. Results indicated that children’s images and attitudes remained mostly unaffected by the company visits, a finding that could be explained by the fact that the level of in-school preparation, follow-up activities and teachers’ level of involvement during the visits was generally low. In addition, observations during the visits showed that the activities at the technical companies were mostly ‘hands-on’ and stereotypical (e.g., working with machines). Based on these findings, we formulate a set of new guidelines for technology-oriented company visits that could improve the desired attitudinal effects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-373
Number of pages25
JournalInternational journal of technology and design education
Volume24
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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