Break open the hubby bubbly

11 June 2007

Family cappings are nothing unusual at UCT. They've been done up - and down the family tree -for many years. But here's one that's a little different. Come Friday, Brandon Reed (mechanical engineering) will straighten his academic gown and step up to the platform to receive his PhD. And there to cap him will be his wife, Debbie Collier.

Collier is also a UCT graduate. The two met in 2001 through UCT's Centre of Research in Engineering Education (CREE), which was participating in a series of video conferences.

An academic in the Faculty of Law, Collier was called in to help with the faculty's video conferencing facility. Soon they found themselves serving together on a number of committees. They married in 2004, proof that perhaps there is some good to be said of committees.

Reed's story continues. He's the first PhD graduate from CREE and his thesis, Pupils' Experiences of Technology: Exploring dimensions of technological literacy, is both topical and timeous.

It grew from his interest in engineering education. As the PhD dissertation reads: "The need to ensure that people are technologically literate has become an issue of great significance around the world."

His thesis investigates high school pupils' experiences of technology and, in particular, their conceptions of technology and the nature of their interaction with technological artefacts.

Reed interviewed scores of pupils from the city's diverse schools.

As the dissertation points out, the findings contribute towards filling a "major gap in the research literature, where there have been many studies around pupils and technology, but nearly all based on a priori categories constructed by 'experts', rather than being constituted from the perspective of the pupils themselves".

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