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Assessing Technology Literacy: The case for an authentic, project-based learning approach

Date: July 2010
Author: Jonathan D. Becker, J.D., Ph.D. Cherise A. Hodge, M.Ed. Mary W. Sepelyak, M.Ed.
Affiliation: GEN YES Organization
Keywords: Constructivist


Section 2402(b)(2)(A) of Title II, Part D the ESEA (titled Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT)) states that one of the goals of EETT is "[t]o assist every student in crossing the digital divide by ensuring that every student is technologically literate by the time the student finishes the eighth grade, regardless of the student's race, ethnicity, gender, family income, geographic location, or disability." Despite the fact that this technological literacy expectation of NCLB has not been given the same priority as the core content areas, there are still well-organized and well-funded efforts to advance technology education in schools. This movement is evidenced by the growing strength of organizations like the Partnership for 21st Century Skills and the pending administration of a NAEP computer-based assessment of technology and engineering literacy.

While battles over defining technological literacy continue to rage on, 49 of the 50 states have technology literacy goals and standards. Furthermore, across nearly all definitions of technological literacy, there is agreement that the construct is multidimensional and that the dimensions are interdependent and inseparable. Action or "doing" is one central dimension of technological literacy. If "doing" is central to technological literacy, then leading schoolchildren towards greater levels of technological literacy requires a commitment to a theory of learning where doing is also central. Constructionism is a theory of learning that shares key concepts of the more familiar theory of constructivism. Moreover, where constructionism is the theory of learning, one application of that theory is project-based learning (PBL).

Source Article: http://www.genyes.com/media/freeresources/assessing_tech_literacy_whitepaper.pdf