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3 Context for Technological Literacy
Pages 47-76

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From page 47...
... In the political arena, we might ask if policy makers have made technological literacy a priority and how they approach technological decisions. We must also try to determine what people actually know about technology and how it is developed.
From page 48...
... The world of 1900 was much more dependent upon these machines and tools, which posed challenges that were entirely new. A competent, contributing member of society had to understand and use an increasing number of technological devices.
From page 49...
... In general, as the population has shifted from rural to urban and suburban areas, people have become less technologically self-sufficient. In the workplace, increasing computerization and automation have made it possible for fewer CONTEXT FOR TECHNOLOGICAL LITERACY As technology has become more complex, society has become more specialized.
From page 50...
... Nevertheless,technology remained mostly a trial-and-error discipline. As recently as the late 1800s, most technological progress was made by professional inventors, such as Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, and Alexander Graham Bell.
From page 51...
... Science aims to understand the "why" and "how" of nature, engineering seeks to shape the natural world to meet human needs and wants. CONTEXT FOR TECHNOLOGICAL LITERACY By the beginning of the twentieth century, technology had become a largescale enterprise that depended on large stores of knowledge and know-how, too much for any one person to master.
From page 52...
... A sense of this complementary relationship is crucial to many policy decisions, for example how public research dollars should be allocated. Technological Determinism Another prevalent misconception is that technological change is somehow disconnected from human influence.
From page 53...
... Technological Studies in K-12 Developing technological literacy will require early and regular contact with technology in the school setting. Unfortunately, technology has not been the focus of study in K-12 in the United States.
From page 54...
... As metalworking, woodworking, and other shop classes came to seem less and less relevant in the second half of the twentieth century, some industrial arts teachers began to broaden the scope of their classes to Include general information about technology—the basic characteristics of a technology, the engineering design process, and how technology shapes society. Although some curricula now include separate classes in technology, many teachers and school officials still think of it as a vocational rather than academic subject (Rogers, 1995~.
From page 55...
... The two sets of national K-12 science standards developed in the 1990s include specific benchmarks related to technology and design, and a small number of rigorously developed instructional materials that reinforce connections between science and technology have CONTEXT FOR TECHNOLOGICAL LITERACY Schools of education spend virtually no time developing technological literacy in those who will eventually stand in front of the classroom.
From page 56...
... An analysis of some highly rated high school American history textbooks found almost no mention of Technological concepts are also addressed in K-12 standards for mathematics, history, language arts, geography, visual arts, civics, eco nomics, health, and behavioral studies (Mid-Continent Research for Edu cation and Learning, 2000~. And the standards promulgated by the Council for Basic Education and the National Center on Education and the Economy for a variety of school subjects including those related to technology, problem solving, and design have been combined into single publications (CBE, 1998; National Center on Education and the Economy, 1997~.
From page 57...
... Learning About Technology Exposure to technological concepts and hands-on, design-related activities in the elementary and secondary grades are the most likely ways to help children acquire the kinds of knowledge, ways of thinking and acting, and capabilities consistent with technological literacy. Unfortunately, there is very little information about how children or adults learn concepts in technology and how, or whether, that learning differs from other types of cognition (Cheek, 2000~.
From page 58...
... Department of Education, the Office of Educational Technology, promotes the use of technology as a teaching tool, but not the teaching of technology. Since the launch of the Technology Literacy Challenge in 1996, the federal government has invested more than $2 billions in This figure includes spending on Technology Innovation Challenge Grants, the Technology Literacy Challenge Fund, Preparing Tomorrow's Leaders to Use Technology, and Community Technology Centers.
From page 59...
... , one of the two members of Congress who is a physicist. The bills were focused mostly on science and mathematics education but also included provisions that would have strengthened the training of technology teachers and provided CONTEXT FOR TECHNOLOGICAL LITERACY Many people, even people in the educational system, confuse educational technology with technology education, but the two are quite different.
From page 60...
... The bill is focused on science and mathematics, but several of the provisions make reference to technology education. The relative absence of legislative attention to the issue of technological literacy is striking considering the number of issues with a technological component that come before Congress.
From page 62...
... As states have assumed increasing responsibility for economic development, environmental protection, transportation, health care, job creation, and education, this advice has become even more important. In an effort to leverage technology for economic growth, for example, more than $400 million was invested by states in 1995 to support public-private technology programs (State Science and Technology Institute, 1996~.
From page 63...
... Berglund' State Science &Technology Institute, October 25, 2001~. Thus, although there appears to be a recognition at the federal and state levels of the need for information and advice about technological issues, this concern has not led to a recognition of the value of technological literacy for the population at large.
From page 64...
... Recently, the International Technology Education Association (ITEA, in press) commissioned the Gallup Organization to conduct the first-ever public poll in the United States on technological literacy.
From page 66...
... By contrast, only 17 percent considered themselves very well informed; 30 percent considered themselves poorly informed. Research by the Pew Center for the People and the Press paints a mixed picture, with people paying close attention to media reporting on certain high-profile science and technology issues but nearly ignoring others (Box 3-2~.
From page 67...
... The Miller group's survey attempted to assess people's knowledge of science and technology by testing their ability to judge the correctness CONTEXT FOR TECHNOLOGICAL LITERACY 67
From page 68...
... Technological Literacy in Other Parts of the World Several countries outside the United States have used various methods to determine the technological literacy of their school children. During the 1999-2000 school year, for example, researchers in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan gave children a five-hour test of their technological knowledge and abilities.
From page 69...
... The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development CONTEXT FOR TECHNOLOGICAL LITERACY FIGURE 3-1 The dimensions of technological literacy, showing the "space" occupied by most Americans.
From page 70...
... , which measures literacy in reading, mathematics, and science among 15-year-olds in the 29 OECD countries (OECD, 2001~. Although the assessment did not explicitly address technological issues, PISA plans to develop an assessment area related to problem solving, which may include technology-related questions (personal communication, S.A.
From page 71...
... On Capitol Hill and in statehouses across the country, the issue of technological literacy is rarely discussed. This policy-making blind spot is indeed troubling given the thicket of technological issues lawmakers must negotiate on a daily basis.
From page 72...
... For reasons that are at once historical, institutional, and reflective of the nature of modern technology, Americans appear to be unprepared to engage effectively and responsibly with technological change. To put it bluntly, we are a nation that does not value technological literacy and, therefore, has not achieved it.
From page 73...
... Background paper prepared for the National Academy of Engineering/National Research Council Committee on Technological Literacy.
From page 74...
... 1998. Technology education teacher demand and alternative route licensure.
From page 75...
... 2001. 1999 Provincial Learning Assessment in Technological Literacy.


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