Posts tagged ‘technology literacy’

The 15% of Americans that are not online

Interesting data about who’s online, and who’s not, and how income plays a role in that.  85% of Americans are online.  The biggest reasons that the last 15% don’t participate is because of a sense of irrelevance of the Internet and because of perceived complexity, i.e., poor usability.

The link below is about the interaction between Internet access and age. These results speak to the promise of and limitations of MOOCs, as was also seen in some of the San Jose State reports.  Low-income users often access the Internet via the library or cellphone, which changes the expectation for using MOOCs.

Aaron Smith, Senior Researcher at the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project, discusses the Project’s latest research about internet usage, broadband adoption, and the impact of mobile connectivity among lower-income populations.

via Technology Adoption by Lower Income Populations | Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.

January 22, 2014 at 1:31 am Leave a comment

The new Core Standards for English Language Arts Literacy: Implications for Computing Literacy?

I found this fascinating discussion about the new Common Core standards efforts around English Language Arts, and it got me wondering about creating an analogy.  Are the parallels to the below for computing literacy?  “Students should read as much nonfiction as fiction.”  What does that mean in terms of the notations of computing? Students should read as many program proofs as programs?  Students should read as much code as comments?  The “coherent knowledge” part seems to connect to the kinds of ideas in the CS:Principles effort.  What is “close reading” of programming?

I’m sure that there are not one-to-one mappings from English Language Arts to Computing, but they are interesting to think about.  If this is what it means to be text literate, what does it mean to be computing literate?

Say what you will about CCSS, but there are three big ideas embedded within the English Language Arts standards that deserve to be at the very heart of literacy instruction in U.S. classrooms, with or with or without standards themselves:

1. Students should read as much nonfiction as fiction.

2. Schools should ensure all children—and especially disadvantaged children—build coherent background knowledge that is essential to mature reading comprehension.

3. Success in reading comprehension depends less on “personal response” and more on close reading of text.

via Meet the Children Where They Are…and Keep Them There « The Core Knowledge Blog.

June 7, 2012 at 6:30 am 6 comments

Everyone needs to understand computing, even (especially?) Congress

I appreciate Businessweek getting on the bandwagon, promoting the idea of computer science for all.  It’s particularly interesting to make that demand of our Congressional representatives — that those making laws about the Internet ought to understand the Internet.

There was no official slogan for the public pushback against perceived government meddling with the Web, but the unofficial one might have been a headline that appeared on the online magazine Motherboard: “Dear Congress, it’s no longer ok to not know how the Internet works.”

A growing number of people agree that not only should Congress understand how software is made, so should everyone. Designers, economists, doctors, and others with no direct connection to the technology world are embracing coding as a way to advance their careers, automate boring tasks, or just a means of self-improvement, a hobby like learning Spanish or doing crossword puzzles. And they have access to an expanding universe of free online coding tutorials from startups and universities such as Stanford and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Programming is becoming “a much more fundamental piece of knowledge, similar to reading or writing,” says Andy Weissman, a partner at New York’s Union Square Venures, which led a $2.5 million investment round for Codecademy, a site that teaches people basic programming skills.

via Computer Coding: Not for Geeks Only – Businessweek.

February 1, 2012 at 12:03 pm 8 comments

Texting is a distraction, and hours matter.

I see a sharp contrast in news articles the last few days about what it takes to teach today’s kids.  On the one hand, hours matter.  We see that in the article below, and in popular books like Malcom Gladwell’s Outliers.

Students at Boston charter schools appear to have an academic edge over their peers at the city’s traditional schools because of the additional time they spend in school each year, according to a report being released today.

The extra time in charter schools, roughly 378 hours annually, allows students to receive significantly more instruction in English and math and creates opportunities for them to receive tutoring during the school day, according to the report by the Boston Foundation, a charitable organization that supports charter schools and also works with the city school system on improvement efforts.

via Charter schools gain edge from hours, says study – The Boston Globe.

Today’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution, reviews a new book that says that today’s kids multitask and we should change the way we teach them in order to support that habit.

But Rosen’s own daughter — valedictorian of her high school and now a Yale student — did her homework while watching television, listening to her iPod and trading text messages with friends, says Rosen, author of the new book “Rewired,” which examines how the iGeneration — children born in the 1990s and beyond — learn.

A longtime researcher on the impact of technology, Rosen says we are faced with a new breed of learners for whom doing more than one thing at a time is a way of life.

“This is a generation that has multi-tasked from birth and that is what they do from morning to night,” he says.

via Wired from the Womb: “We are looking at a generation that can’t not text.”

In the review of Rosen’s book, no evidence is provided that the electronic distractions didn’t inhibit performance.  Yes, his daughter was a valedictorian.  Having smart parents will do that.  Might she have learned more without the distractions?

I don’t disagree with the premise that YouTube and texting and Wikipedia offer learning opportunities.  I disagree with the belief that this multitasking doesn’t cost, that there is no cognitive load, that one can perform as well with the distractions as without them.  Spending more time on something important (from studying to rehearsal) helps. Texting and YouTube take time. If the raw number of study hours do not increase, then time spent texting is time spent away from studying. Yes, I believe that social interaction can support learning.  I don’t believe that all that texting is helpful to learning.

As a parent and as a knowledge-worker, these are issues that I personally struggle with.  My middle child sent 13,000 texts last month.  Yeah. Do the math.  That’s unbelievable.  As parents, we struggle with where we allow her to text and where we insist on schoolwork without distractions.  For myself, I have decided to dump my Blackberry in favor of a plain cellphone (with keyboard, so that I can still communicate with my texting children).  I’ve ordered an iPad with 3G, because I do see the value of getting to the Internet and my email at places where a laptop is inconvenient.  Over a two year contract, it’s a slight cost advantage to go with iPad and 3G vs. the Blackberry.  (The experiment is starting early — I cancelled my corporate Blackberry account Saturday, so I can no longer access Exchange via my Blackberry, but my iPad won’t arrive until early June!)  I am concerned that having the Internet in my pocket is more a distraction than a benefit.  Do I really need to check email in every 10 minute interval?  Do I need the distraction in meetings or while driving?  How does such ready access detract from my experiences and my work?

As a techie-geeky guy, this is a strange step.  I’m making a move away from ubiquitous access, from ever more computing at my beck-and-call?  It’s an experiment for me, a choice in favor of reflection over distraction, maybe a choice that leads to increased frustration and boredom.  (This doesn’t mean I have to listen in faculty meetings, does it?!?)  There are some bigger things I want to get done over the next couple years, and so I’m acting on my belief that decreasing multi-tasking leads to better performance.  If next time you see me, I’m jittery like an addict, it might not be too much caffeine.

May 17, 2010 at 9:13 am 7 comments

New national standards for technology literacy going into public hearings

John Pane sent me this link (Thanks, John!).  Turns out that a set of national standards for knowledge about technology have been established by the National Assessment Governing Board, and they are having public hearings.  I’ve not heard of this group, and I can’t find the standards document on their website.  If anyone else finds it, can you link it here in a comment, please?

The framework covers a broad range of content and practices related to technology and society; design and systems; and information and communication technology. The draft document was developed by a wide panel of experts in fields such as education, engineering, policy, business and communication, with their recommendations of what knowledge and skills students at the 4th, 8th, and 12th grades should have in technology.

via National Assessment Governing Board — Newsroom — Press Releases — Board Business.

January 16, 2010 at 3:54 pm 5 comments


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