UA-5429213-2 More Musings on Technology Literacy | thoughts | Ed Tech Thoughts from the Space Coast

Ed Tech Thoughts on the Space Coast

More Musings on Technology Literacy

Last week I spent many hours adapting some student activity step sheets that were designed for Microsoft Office™ so that they would work for iWork™ and I found myself again thinking about What is technology literacy?

Any type of literacy implies a mastery of skills, fluency and application of knowledge to a variety of unrelated and dissimilar contexts.

Any type of literacy implies a mastery of skills, fluency and application of knowledge to a variety of unrelated and dissimilar contexts. Someone who knows only how to read one book would not be considered literate. A student that is truly literate in numeracy must be capable of recognizing patterns, applying logic, and manipulation of quantities in many settings, not just using a chalkboard or pencil and paper. The task of literacy is much bigger than a tool. So why do we keep focusing on tools?

We focus on the tools because they are the handle we use to demonstrate our literacies. Fluency, comprehension, synthesis, structure are visible in the evidence of what we create with tools. But we really must identify the essential evidences of literacy and ensure that we don’t marginalize the expertise of those that are clearly literate but they are coached with different tools.

While it irritates me that vendors define technology literacy as expertise using one tool, or one brand of tools, it does make sense that students have to start somewhere. Students (and learners of all ages) need to have some entry point where they begin to learn the conventions of spreadsheets for instance. They need exposure to one brand first, but I would argue that that to be truly literate, understanding that technology should transcend what the keyboard shortcut is to take the contents of one cell and fill it down. It is not the keyboard shortcut that makes them literate, it is the expectation that the program can do this for them, and the understanding of when to apply this functionality that moves the learner over into the literate category.

What do you think?
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