Technology is not just computers. This is a key message the developers of NAEP’s technology literacy assessment are trying to convey. Developers are using a broad definition of technology as “any modification of the natural world done to fulfill human needs or desires.” To match, a broad definition of technology literacy guides their work – “the capability to use, understand, and evaluate technology as well as to apply technological concepts and processed to solve problems and reach one’s goals.”
A discussion draft of the framework was released. WestEd is developing the framework in collaboration with other key organizations. The test will be administrated to fourth, eighth, and twelfth grade students in 2012. It will be the first NAEP assessment to be delivered entirely via computer. The three major assessment areas are: Design and Systems, Information and Communication Technology, and Technology and Society. There is much interconnectedness among these three areas and thus overlap will naturally occur.
There is no question technology is taking a formal place in schools, either as separate courses or integrated throughout the curriculum. The report states, “According to the September 2007 issue of The Technology Teacher, 40 states included technology in their state curriculum framework as of that year, up from 38 in 2004. A dozen states required technology education for students in at least some grades, and a total of 22 offered technology education as an elective. The Standards for Technological Literacy developed by the International Technology Education Association were being used in 41 states at either the state level or in the school districts (Dugger 2007).”
WestEd and its collaborators surely have a great task in front of them. Exciting work to follow!