critical thinking / K-5 Tech training / middle school technology / teacher resources

What Everybody Ought to Know About Technological Literacy

imagesThe Experts and their Experts have released a draft of a study, whose goal is to determine what children understand about life in a technological society. This doesn’t set standards (at least not yet–the study won’t be completed until 2012), but it asks good questions about what technology is, what the pros and cons are, what students know about available technology, and how it’s used. The reasoning behind the study boils down to this: Many in the education field believe technological literacy is a critical element to the successful 21st – century citizen.

Why is it important to answer these questions? Finite resources, meaning teacher time, school money and all that stuff required to provide a good education. The biggest push in education is incorporating technology into every corner of the classroom. It’s called Web 2.0–using blogs, wikis, Open Source, widgets–to inspire learning and make it faster/easier/more complete. I spent most of this summer doing just that, so I agree: We should understand what it is that we are pushing. Especially since I know first hand that many teachers resist the effort. It takes a lot of time and training to become a tech-savvy teacher. Why do it if it isn’t going to translate into better results for students? Wouldn’t that time be better spent on one-on-one help with students, lesson plans, tried-and-true teaching methods if all this technology isn’t the tsunami of improvement we need in America’s education results?

When the study is completed, it will include:

  • a definition of technological literacy
  • the challenges of developing its framework
  • best practices
  • and more (I’m assuming in three years, they’ll come up with lots more)

This isn’t the first such effort. the International Society for Technology (ISTE) has a comprehensive set of national K-12 technology standards. From what I can tell in the NAEP’s WestEd draft, takes it a step further, to a broader definition (automobiles to computers) and the bad with the good.

My recommendation: Go faster. By 2012, technology will be nothing like what we see today.

Education Week: NAEP Draft on Technological Literacy Unveiled

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