Technology Education Division. (Division Report)

Article excerpt

Technically Speaking: Why All Americans Need to Know More About Technology

Technology encompasses simple to complex artifacts one uses daily. If a human made it, it is technology. According to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), "technology comprises the entire system of people and organizations, knowledge, processes, and devices that go into creating and operating technological artifacts, as well as the artifacts themselves; the process by which humans modify nature to meet their needs and wants."

NAE, with assistance from a diverse committee, recently released "Technically Speaking: Why All Americans Need to Know More About Technology." This group completed a two-year study for developing a common understanding of what technological literacy is, how important it is to the nation and how it can be achieved. It also provides recommendations for strengthening the presence of technology education in formal and informal education and illustrates the three-dimensional technological literacy model showing desired growth in "space" occupied by most Americans. The three technological literacy dimensions depicted in the graphic include capabilities, knowledge, and ways of thinking and acting.

Although national standards exist in a variety of subject areas, such as science, mathematics, language arts and history, connections to technology education for the most part are not reflected in curricula, instructional materials and assessment of those subjects. This report is directed at groups that are well positioned to address this concern and influence the development of technological literacy, including schools of education, career and technical education, industrial and engineering technology, engineering, K-12 teachers and teacher organizations, developers of curriculum and instructional materials, federal and state policymakers, industry and non-industry supporters of educational reform, and science and technology centers and museums.

According to Thomas Young, the report's committee chair, "the notion that all Americans should be better prepared and informed about our highly technological world has been advocated by many individuals and groups for years. By presenting the topic in a straightforward and compelling manner, the committee hopes technological literacy will be put `on the map,' and the way will be cleared for meaningful movement toward technological literacy in the United States."

Distinguished technology educators represented on this committee include: Dr. Rodney L. Custer, Illinois State University, and Paul De Vore, PWD Associates.

This report and a companion Web site are available for viewing at www.nae.edu/techlit.

Technology Education Division Membership

New members joining professional associations may not fully understand the significance of their membership and participation. As a professional, you will have many decades of policy advocacy afforded by your membership and by your elected or appointed colleagues. Your personal involvement can result in many benefits, including professional growth and networking opportunities, and may also allow you to serve and work toward professional objectives. …