Technology Literacy – not a Synonym for Computer Literacy

Ninety percent of the discussions I come across on technology literacy, is about visual literacy, the use of Apps, and invariably ‘tool literacy.’

Yeah, yeah,  there are wikis, and Skype, Prezi and Audacity, blogs and Pinterest around which one could easily design a curriculum . But I am interested in broader, deeper technologies that sometimes give young minds a break from the mouse and screen.

But when you think about it, technology in education could involve a lot more devices that tend to get overshadowed. Such as:

  • How could you turn a year’s work in biographies into a mini-book – on a lowly photo-copier?
  • How could you build your own telescope –and why are ‘scopes’ so important in science?
  • How could you use a digital camera to take retro black-and-white pictures?
  • Build your own Wi-fi antenna out of a tin-can

Why would we teach students about such things? I could give you a long answer about how problem solving outside work-sheets has a direct bearing on math and scientific thinking. But my favorite short answer is that we sorely need a future cadre of engineers, designers, risk-takers, infrastructure builders and innovators.

Don’t take my word for it. Read James Gentile’s observation using two experiences: discussions with leaders at the Office of Science and Technology at the White House, and another at a science fair in a school in Tucson Arizona.

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