Tuesday, October 11, 2005

"Technologically Literate"

The NCLB (No Child Left Behind Act) establishes the expectation that American students will be "technologically literate" by the time they graduate from eigth grade. However, according to Vol.5 Issue 1 of the Educational Technology News, the NCLB does not specify what, exactly, this literacy is or what a student should be able to do in order to be considered "technologically literate." The SETDA (State Education Technology Directors Association) is one organization that has come up with a definition that it hopes will help states in determining if they are producing students with an appropriate level of literacy:

"Technology literacy is the abilty to responsibly use appropriate technology to communicate, solve problems, and access, manage, integrate, evaluate, and create information to improve learning in all subject areas and to aquire lifelong knowledge and skills in the 21st century."

What does that mean exactly? I had a few questions myself when reading it. What do they mean by "appropriate technology?" Is some technology inappropriate or "bad?" Or do they simply want children to be able to choose the best technology for the job at hand? Knowing that computers are obsolete before you buy them, how is a school to teach "lifelong knowledge and skills" in connection with technology? What kind of "technology literacy" will "improve learning in all subject areas" and how on earth is a school to teach it?

While it still doesn't really spell anything out, it goes a step further then the NCLB did. Several organizations are working together to come up with specific expectations for each grade through eigth grade. This includes rubrics and tests, and if you are interested in this, check out the web site for the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory. http://www.ncrel.org/


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