Making the Case for Technological Literacy

Committee on Technological Literacy Workshop and Committee Meeting

Event Details
September
10
1999
07
30
AM
to
September
11
1999
03
00
PM
National Academies Building
2101 Constitution Ave., NW
Washington DC
Contact
Greg Pearson
Contact Greg Pearson
Phone202-334-2282
gpearson@nae.edu

Workshop and committee meeting for the Committee on Technological Literacy on September 10-11, 1999.  This project is a joint effort of the National Academy of Engineering and the Center for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Education.

SEPTEMBER 10, 1999
7:30am Continental Breakfast
8:00am Welcome and Introductions
Tom Young, Committee, Staff, and Invited Guests
 
8:15am Plans for the Day/Questions
Tom Young, Committee
 
8:30am Opening Plenary Talk
George Bugliarello, Polytechnic University
Summary text of George Bugliarello's statement
 
9:15am Instructions/Logistics for Witness Presentations
Greg Pearson, NAE
 
9:30am Witness Presentations/Discussions
Committee Subgroups and Witnesses
 
  Subgroup 1 (Room GR 122)
 
  • Witness #1: "What is the relationship between technological literacy and industry's interest in a trained workforce and an educated consumer base?"
    Joseph Miller, E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Company
    Text of Joseph Miller's statement
  • Witness #2: "What is the importance of technological literacy to 'basic' skills and general employability?"
    John Souders, Center for Occupational Research and Development
    Text of John Souders' statement
  • Witness #3: "What is the federal government's interest in technological literacy?"
    Duncan Moore, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
  Subgroup 2 (Room GR 128)
9:30am
  • Witness #4: "What is the potential and what are the limits of educational technology for enhancing technological literacy?"
    Henry Becker, University of California, Irvine (By videoconference)
    Text of Henry Becker's statement
  • Witness #5: "What special concerns are there regarding technological literacy among underrepresented minorities and the economically disadvantaged?"
    Shirley McBay, Quality Education for Minorities
    Text of Shirley McBay's statement
  • Witness #6: "What can recent assessments tell us about the level of current technological skills and knowledge?"
    Richard T. Houang, U.S. TIMSS National Research Center, Michigan State University
    Text of Richard Houang's statement
  Subgroup 3 (Room GR 127)
9:30am
  • Witness #7: "How do/should technological literacy considerations fit into teacher education programs?"
    Kathy O'Neil, Georgia State University
    Text of Kathy O'Neill's statement
  • Witness #8: "What are the practical issues involved in introducing technology content into the nation's schools?"
    Michael Hacker, The MSTe Program
    Text of Michael Hacker's statement
  • Witness #9: "The critic's view: Technological literacy should not be a priority for the nation."
    Andrew Kimbrell, International Center for Technology Assessment
    Text of Andrew Kimbrell's statement
11:30am Lunch and Luncheon Speaker
Luncheon Speaker to be Determined
 
1:00pm Witness Panel 1: "Why is it in the nation's interest to boost technological literacy?"
 
2:00pm Witness Panel 2: "To whom should the 'case' for boosting technological literacy be made?"
 
3:00pm Break 
 
3:30pm Once Around the Table
Committee, Guests
 
CLOSED SESSION
4:00pm Observations on Day 1 and Discussion of Plans for Day 2
Committee, Staff
 
4:30pm Committee Subgroups Meet to Prepare Chart-Paper Reports for Day 2 "Wisdom Walk" 
 
7:00pm Committee Dinner
 


SEPTEMBER 11, 1999 - CLOSED SESSION
 

7:30am Continental Breakfast
 
8:00am Review of the Plan for Day 2
Tom Young
 
8:15am Reports of the Outreach and Report Planning Subcommittees
 
  • Goery Delacote, Outreach Planning Subcommitte
  • Jim Rutherford/Jonathan Cole, Report Planning Subcommittee
8:45am Discussion of the Subcommittee Reports
Committee
 
9:15am "Wisdom Walk" and Discussion of Subgroup Findings from Day 1
Facilitator: Karen Falkenberg
 
10:00am Break
 
10:15am Focused Discussion: "Moving Toward Consensus on Message and Audience"
Committee
 
12:00pm Working Lunch: Continued Consensus Discussion of Message and Audience
Committee
 
1:00pm Planning Next Committee Activities/Selection of Dates
Committee, Staff
 
2:00pm Assignment of Subcommittee and Staff Tasks
Committee, Staff
 
2:30pm Once Around the Table
Committee
 
3:00pm Adjourn

Speeches
Tech Lit Workshop I - Summary of Presentation by Richard T. Houang
NAE/CSMEE Committee on Technological Literacy Workshop and Meeting

Sponsored by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, the goal of TIMSS (the Third International Mathematics and Science Study) was

1. To measure student achievement in mathematics and science in the participating countries and,

2. To assess some of the curricular and classroom factors that were related to student learning in these subjects.

TIMSS focused on student learning at three different age levels or populations, roughly parallel to the 3rd and 4th grade students, the 7th and 8th grade students and the high school seniors. The design of the study and its instrumentation were based on a conceptual framework that focused on the system, school, classroom, and individual student levels. TIMSS was guided by the questions

1. What were students expected to learn?
2. Who ... More

Speech
Tech Lit Workshop I - Summary of Presentation by Richard T. Houang
Tech Lit Workshop I - Statement by Brigitte Valesey
NAE/CSMEE Committee on Technological Literacy Workshop and Meeting

To whom should the case for increasing technological literacy be made?

Technology has been described in many ways. Many definitions concur that technology is the application of math and science for specific purposes… to make our lives better, more productive, or more enjoyable. Technology has also been described as the use of knowledge, processes, and skills to increase our potential, to solve problems, to modify our human-built world. In itself, technology is rigid and inhuman. It offers no solutions. Managed, technology is flexible. Understood, it can be adapted and changed as needed -- or wanted.

Many aspects of technology are being addressed in our schools through a contemporary subject area called -- Technology Education. As part of the school curriculum, Technology Education teaches students to understand, use, and manage technology. The curriculum covers the development of technology and its effect on people, ... More

Speech
Tech Lit Workshop I - Statement by Brigitte Valesey
Tech Lit Workshop I - Statement by Daniel M. Hull and John C. Souders Jr.
NAE/CSMEE Committee on Technological Literacy Workshop and Meeting

Enhancing Technical Literacy Through Tech Prep

As engineering managers in both the government and private sectors, we needed staffs that could create and sustain systems that embodied cutting-edge technologies. Most of the engineers we worked with had strong analytical skills and in-depth knowledge of technical principles but were not very proficient in using measurement equipment and systems integration hardware. To support these engineers, we had technicians who were "hardware oriented" and "tools proficient." Though these skills were important, they were not sufficient. Our systems were so complex and state of the art that our technicians needed to also have a fundamental understanding of the mathematics, science, and technology principles that underscored these systems. We found a few "supertechs," and they were priceless, but they were not coming from our schools and colleges.

Academic ... More

Speech
Tech Lit Workshop I - Statement by Daniel M. Hull and John C. Souders Jr.
Tech Lit Workshop I - Statement by Dorothy Dunn
NAE/CSMEE Committee on Technological Literacy Workshop and Meeting

One of my favorite definitions for "technology" is: "That which does not exist when you are born." "Technology" becomes the catch phrase for those systems and tools that define scientific and engineering progress while baffling us in our daily life experience. For instance, I do not think twice about making a long distance phone call at work or at home. However, my great aunt plans for days before calling long distance that, in her childhood, represented a special event and a great expense. Now, I watch my 3-year old explore the computers in our home as easily as he explores his train set or the trees and shrubs in our yard. In his domain, all of these objects are equal while, to me, the "technology" of the computer stands out as "the other."

I have the privilege of being Head of Education at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, a branch of the Smithsonian Institution located in New ... More

Speech
Tech Lit Workshop I - Statement by Dorothy Dunn
Tech Lit Workshop I - Statement by George Bugliarello
NAE/CSMEE Committee on Technological Literacy Workshop and Meeting

Technological Literacy: What and Why?

There is a great deal of confusion, both semantic and substantive, about what is meant by technological literacy. The word technology is relatively new, mainly of this century. The word literacy has been around somewhat longer. But there is confusion about what the combination of the two words means.

Many think of technology as computers and of technological literacy as the ability to use them. Others think of technological literacy as understanding how things work, or knowing how to build things, to be learned, for example, through skill courses in the schools. Still others think of a technologically literate person as one who has an understanding of the technological process and its impacts, historically and today.

In a pervasively technological society like ours is, technological literacy needs to encompass all these views. There is little agreement, however, as to the ... More

Speech
Tech Lit Workshop I - Statement by George Bugliarello
Tech Lit Workshop I - Statement by George D. Nelson
NAE/CSMEE Committee on Technological Literacy Workshop and Meeting

Why is it in the Nation’s interest to increase technological literacy?

I define literacy as the knowledge and skills that a citizen needs to lead a productive and interesting life. By productive and interesting I mean that a citizen holds a job that provides at least a living wage, and is aware of and participates in the primary activities of society. One hundred years ago literacy by this definition meant the ability to read, write, communicate, and do simple mathematics. The ability to do physical work might also be included along with a taste for sports, and the arts, but not much more. And one job could last a lifetime.

Literacy in the early twenty-first century is more complicated. Physical labor is not so much in demand, most jobs require technical skills involving machines, and most jobs have a fairly short life span before they are completely transformed by technology. Society is more complicated. Mass media ... More

Speech
Tech Lit Workshop I - Statement by George D. Nelson
Tech Lit Workshop I - Statement by Henry Jay Becker
NAE/CSMEE Committee on Technological Literacy Workshop and Meeting

The Pedagogy of Educational Technology and Technology Education: Data from Teaching, Learning, and Computing,1998:
A National Survey of Computer Technology and Instructional Reform

Teachers can use computers in almost an infinite variety of ways to help children learn, and for their own professional needs. Computers are…

  • A way to make repetitive practice of algorithmic skills more enjoyable
  • A means of accessing a rich variety of information about a topic
  • A powerful tool for data analysis, for creative expression, and for perfecting articulate verbal expression
  • A vehicle for synchronous and asynchronous communication with persons known and unknown.
  • And they provide an ability to publish one’s ideas, in visually attractive ways, before both local and worldwide audiences.

Because of this large variety of ... More

Speech
Tech Lit Workshop I - Statement by Henry Jay Becker
Tech Lit Workshop I - Statement by Joseph Miller
NAE/CSMEE Committee on Technological Literacy Workshop and Meeting

Technical Literacy -- Industry's Case

My testimony begins with reflections about the 33 years I have spent with the DuPont Company. This career has afforded me with opportunities to touch the entire technology supply chain -- from fundamental science to the customer interface. In each move I was required to develop understanding and skills of new technology in some cases far distant form my past experiences. Each step built on the past and, upon integration, led to systemic problem-solving capability orders of magnitude more sophisticated than the capability I entered the company with as a newly bred university scientist. Essentially, each step served to build a new competency from which to draw in order to create long-lived solutions to the resident problems. This development was enabled by a framework of science literacy with roots planted more than 50 years ago through the infusion of beliefs, principles, skills, knowledge, ... More

Speech
Tech Lit Workshop I - Statement by Joseph Miller
Tech Lit Workshop I - Statement by Michael Hacker
NAE/CSMEE Committee on Technological Literacy Workshop and Meeting

Practical Issues Involved In Introducing Technology Education Into The Nation's Schools

A number of impediments have thwarted efforts to institutionalize technology education programs in the nation’s schools and have mitigated against its establishment as a core discipline in the United States. Some of these obstacles relate to public perceptions. Some, to politics. Others, to the difficulty in making structural change within a system as tradition-bound as the educational system. This brief paper attempts to identify and clarify the issues.

PUBLIC PERCEPTION ISSUES
Issue 1. Technology is not well understood.
Technology is a word in common parlance which is used in different ways. Sometimes we use the term to mean ‘technical means’. Sometimes we refer to artifacts (aspirin, chairs) as technology. Sometimes we mean sets of procedures. The popular culture confuses science with ... More

Speech
Tech Lit Workshop I - Statement by Michael Hacker
Tech Lit Workshop I - Statement by Kathleen O'Neil
Committee on Technological Literacy Workshop and Meeting

As an educator with more than 30 years experience throughout the public education system at all levels and as a heavy technology user, I have agonized for several years on why teachers are so reluctant to embrace technology. Even those educators identified as "early adopters" may use technology as a tool but a large number of them have not really entered a comfort zone with the technology itself. Except the small cadre of technology educators, few are trained to consider technology as a content area in its own right. The focus of this paper, for the most part, is on the experience and attitudes of teachers who have matriculated from "traditional" schools of education.

Many educators in the early eighties embraced technology as the solution to future problems. No educator at that time could accurately predict the future, but many believed this new educational tool could brighten it. When desktop computers began to ... More

Speech
Tech Lit Workshop I - Statement by Kathleen O'Neil
Tech Lit Workshop I - Statement by Peter A Lewis
Workship and Meeting of the Committee on Technological Literacy

To whom should the case for increasing technological literacy be made?

Since 1992 the United States has experienced an extended period of economic growth with high productivity and low unemployment. This has occurred in an era of rapid technological innovation and expansion. New companies are being born and mature companies are merging and acquiring. The standard of living for most citizens appears to be at a level that was beyond their dreams. Given these conditions it appears as if it will be difficult to make the case for technological literacy. If the population is not technologically literate, how then could we have achieved these heights?

The argument might be that while the economy as a whole continues to outperform expectations, the gains in income enjoyed by the majority of American workers have not matched the growth in the economy. More and more of the higher incomes are going to a relatively small proportion of ... More

Speech
Tech Lit Workshop I - Statement by Peter A Lewis
Tech Lit Workshop I - Statement by Shirley McBay
Committe on Technological Literacy Workshop and Meeting

Quality Education for Minorities (QEM) Network

Prepared for the NAE/CSMEE
Committee on Technological Literacy

Realizing Technology's Potential in Ensuring Quality Education for All

Background
In January 1990, the MIT-based Quality Education for Minorities (QEM) Project issued a report entitled Education That Works: An Action Plan for the Education of Minorities. The QEM Network, a Washington, DC-based non-profit organization, was established, with core support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, in June 1990 to focus efforts to achieve the vision and goals set forth in Education That Works, and to promote the report's strategic action principles.

Over the past decade, public and private sector efforts, both large and small, have been mounted in urban, suburban, and rural areas across America to help effect the needed systemic changes in education and increase understanding ... More

Speech
Tech Lit Workshop I - Statement by Shirley McBay