June 17, 2005
Technology Literacy for the Nation and for its Citizens
This white paper from 1995 by Thomas and Knezek articulates a strong concern about the gap between the number of citizens who are technologically competent and the growing need for technological competency in the global economy.
This white paper defines technology literacy as involving the following:
*demystifying technology through conceptual understandings of the underlying science and mathematics principles,
*operational competence with modern technology systems,
*the ability to evaluate and use a variety of common technology applications,
*the ability to innovate and invent ways of applying technology in challenging new situations,
*an awareness of technology-related careers and of factors critical to
success in those careers, and
*understanding of and sensitivity to societal issues related to technology.
Thomas and Knezek observe that in order to have a technologically literate citizenry, there must be an infrastructure to support the development of technological competency. They conclude with the following action items:
Action #1: Revise school curricula and develop standards to address the science and mathematics of technology.
Action #2: Establish technology literacy as a priority for adult education and worker retraining.
Action #3: Formulate policies that place technology literacy for all Americans on the national agenda
Finally, Thomas and Knezek assert that developing technological literacy requires effort on multiple levels:
"The task of achieving a technology-literate nation will depend on the combined efforts of the education, business, and policy-making communities."