The Need For Technology Literacy in Teaching Technology Concepts

Technology is the combination of any human mechanical techniques, know-how, processes, and skills employed in the creation of new products or services, including scientific research, medical practices, and other activities. The process of technology transfer implies a mutual arrangement among the producers or designers of a certain technology, and the consumers or users of that technology. A very important area of technology transfer is found in the field of information and communication technology. Other areas of significant technology transfer include the computer and software industries, transportation technologies, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and many others.


Broad Patterns: A broad patterns of technological change traces its origins back to the dawn of industrial revolution and goes far beyond contemporary use. Technological change is a result of socio-economic factors, technological progress, and cultural transformation. Broad patterns of change can either be a result of discrete changes (e.g., development of new machines for specific purposes), or else it can be a result of diffuse transformations (such as diffusion of new knowledge among a large number of population groups over time). Based on these two types of changes, we can divide broad patterns of technological change into two categories.

discrete elements are those elements that emerge out of prior decisions, which provide information about the organization of the society, the operation of the technical processes, the growth of the technical systems, and the goals and objectives of the organization. These can vary from technological processes, products, and services that have a direct effect on the organization’s operations, to educational, social, economic, and political dimensions of society. On the other hand, diffuse elements refer to those elements that emerge from forces beyond the direct control of the parties involved. Examples of these are the results of diffuse innovations, social network effects, and even natural phenomena. By applying teaching technology concepts helps us distinguish between these two categories, enabling us to specify different methods and techniques that we can employ in order to facilitate the transition of organizational structure and society as a whole.

Technological change is always accompanied by some degree of social change, because the Technological Revolution affected every sphere of life. However, the relationship between Technological Change and society has always been one of resistance. The challenge therefore is for schools to effectively teach society about these big ideas. Therefore, relevant technology education curriculum should have both broad and targeted applications so that they can be used to implement practical measures.

Broadly speaking, teaching technology concepts include knowledge management, information systems, engineering design, computer science, cognitive science, engineering theory, information, networks, philosophy of science, artificial intelligence, hardware, software, physical sciences, and discrete math. The core concepts developed by the National Assessment of Technology Education (NaftE) are grounded on a number of approaches. These include: modeling, grounding, problem solving, design, and concept modeling. Within each of these, there are a number of subtopics that are related to each topic, such as learning and motivation, human-centered design, and inclusive design. For instance, modeling involves the study of the interactions between people; grounding involves studying the various models of interaction, and problem solving involves using technology in practical ways.

Based on the NaftE’s core concepts, a teaching technology curriculum should be capable of imparting knowledge about the broad perspective of technological change. Thus, the teaching tools and techniques need to build and utilize relevant IT concepts from all disciplines to make the subject matter applicable. This includes the use of a variety of engineering and scientific methodologies. In addition, relevant field experiences, such as those of NaftE events and conferences, are critical to understanding subject matter, as is literature that is relevant to the topic, independent research and student projects. Finally, the curriculum should employ several effective technologies to support its overall goal of promoting IT literacy.

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