"With technology in the vanguard of virtually every social enterprise today, I knew we would bring a range of vested interests to the table. But what amazed me the most was how difficult it became to define the elephant in the center ring! The beast's trunk carried one group's important baggage, its tail periodically wagged for notice from others, and its ears kept hearing vanguard movements. All the while, the animal's broadside issues were what we tried to handle. In the end, through our able facilitators, I think we did join hands to encircle the beast. We garnered a lot from states who've already brought the elephant to center ring. The frightful thing is that unless we kill the elephant to dissect it, defining technology literacy is defining an organic thing. Where we put the stake in the ground to tether the beast for our purposes will undoubtedly change with time, but taking two days to look him over was a very important start."
Tennessee Department of Education
To develop a shared definition of technology literacy as well as a set of criteria to benchmark it's presence at the eighth grade level. To identify a continuum of possibilities for assessing technology literacy.
Key Questions: Why should states be concerned with making sure students are technologically literate by eighth grade? How will they assess technology literacy?
One of the goals of Title II, Part D of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) is to 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. In most states, educational technology directors have the final responsibility for ensuring that their students meet this goal.
Guidance from SETDA
The Technology Literacy Assessment (TLA) Work Group began answering the key questions by first developing a common definition of "technology literacy." They then developed a set of criteria states could use when assessing technology literacy levels of students and a continuum of assessment strategies for gathering this data.
Defining Technology Literacy
The TLA Work Group defined technology literacy as the ability to responsibly use appropriate technology to communicate, solve problems, and access, manage, integrate, evaluate, and create information to improve learning in all subject areas and to acquire lifelong knowledge and skills in the 21st Century.
Assessing Technology Literacy
Building upon research and work of other policy efforts, the TLA Work Group then came to consensus on a set of criteria and a contextual framework tied to performance indicators for measuring technology literacy. An assessment continuum was also created by the group in an effort to assist education leaders in connecting with appropriate avenues for collecting data, or finding evidence to initiate or implement an effective assessment process.
SETDA Tools to Assist States
This toolkit provides education leaders with:
- A Common Definition of Technology Literacy
- Contextual Framework and Criteria for Recognizing Technology Literacy
- A Continuum of Assessment Strategies for Assessing Technology Literacy