Testing for Tech Literacy

A Business Week article says that the National Assessment Governing Board is looking at the idea of testing K-12 students on technical information literacy.

“Our world is changing, the way we do business is changing, our reliance on each other is changing,” says Paige Kuni, worldwide manager of K-12 education for Intel’s Education Initiative and a member of the panel. “Kids have to be able to master those types of skills to be ready for a U.S. economy when they come out of the school system.”

Companies like Intel need people who not only know how to use a computer, but also have a sophisticated understanding of concepts like security, privacy, and intellectual property that will evolve with technology in coming years, Kuni says. Her hope is that a national tech test will spur more schools to teach these skills since many educators just assume that kids are naturally tech-savvy and can pick this up on their own. “Adults in our society and in other countries assume that because kids are digital natives, they automatically know how to use technology in meaningful work,” Kuni says. “Just because a kid can use text messages doesn’t mean they know how to [do things like] analyze data deeply.”

This is part of what I was trying to point out in my TYCA presentation. Many of our students are NOT digital natives. They’re immigrants just like we are and if we assume they are fluent in Techie, then they are going to flounder.

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