[Technology 1018] Re: technological literacy question

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Mariann Fedele MariannF at lacnyc.org
Thu May 17 16:53:16 EDT 2007


Thank you, Kelli and Nancy for sharing your thoughts and resources on
the subject of technological literacy.



Since I asked the question I've been reading Tech Tally: Approaches to
Assessing Technological Literacy (National Academies Press). Tech Tally
explores the viability of assessing technological literacy. I found
particularly interesting some of the working definitions. The authors
use a broad definition of technology, "the modification of the natural
world to fulfill human needs and wants." This definition addresses their
belief that there is a conflation in the understanding of technology
generally with computer technology specifically. So when we consider
technology we should think of everything from processed foods,
transportation, modern telecommunications and space travel. They feel
this is a critical definition to have understood among the general
population for informed critical decision and policy making.

Technological literacy is defined as an individual's, "understanding of
technology at a level that enables effective functioning in a modern
technological society." It is comprised of three dimensions: knowledge
(both factual and conceptual), capabilities (fluency in the use of
technologies for problem solving) and critical thinking decision making
(the approach we take when considering new technologies for their
benefit and consequences individually and to society).

Those concepts are defined and then used to create "Characteristics of a
Technologically Literate Person." They follow.



Does this seem to folks on the list as a useful framework and
understanding of technological literacy?

TABLE 2-1 Characteristics of a Technologically Literate Person

Knowledge

* Recognizes the pervasiveness of technology in everyday life.

* Understands basic engineering concepts and terms, such as
systems, constraints, and trade-offs.

* Is familiar with the nature and limitations of the engineering
design process.

* Knows some of the ways technology has shaped human history and
how people have shaped technology.

* Knows that all technologies entail risk, only some of which
can be anticipated.

* Appreciates that the development and use of technology involve
trade-offs and a balance of costs and benefits.

* Understands that technology reflects the values and culture of
society.

Critical Thinking and Decision Making

* Asks pertinent questions, of self and others, regarding the
benefits and risks of technologies.

* Weighs available information about the benefits, risks, costs,
and trade-offs of technology in a systematic way.

* Participates, when appropriate, in decisions about the
development and uses of technology.

Capabilities

* Has a range of hands-on skills, such as operating a variety of
home and office appliances and using a computer for word processing and
surfing the Internet.

* Can identify and fix simple mechanical or technological
problems at home or at work.

* Can apply basic mathematical concepts related to probability,
scale, and estimation to make informed judgments about technological
risks and benefits.

* Can use a design-thinking process to solve a problem
encountered in daily life.

* Can obtain information about technological issues of concern
from a variety of sources.





Mariann Fedele

Director,

NYC Regional Adult Education Network

Literacy Assistance Center

Moderator,
NIFL Technology and Literacy Discussion List
32 Broadway 10th Floor
New York, New York 10004
212-803-3325
mariannf at lacnyc.org
www.lacnyc.org

________________________________

From: technology-bounces at nifl.gov [mailto:technology-bounces at nifl.gov]
On Behalf Of Mariann Fedele
Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2007 4:16 PM
To: The Technology and Literacy Discussion List
Subject: [Technology 1011] technological literacy question



Hello Tech list colleagues,

Is any one on the list doing work on technological literacy with
students? If so how are you defining it, and how are you teaching it?
Are there any resources you recommend?

Even if you aren't doing anything instructional around technological
literacy what are your thoughts on how it should be defined and what
should be taught?



Mariann Fedele

Director,

NYC Regional Adult Education Network

Literacy Assistance Center

Moderator,
NIFL Technology and Literacy Discussion List
32 Broadway 10th Floor
New York, New York 10004
212-803-3325
mariannf at lacnyc.org
www.lacnyc.org



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