June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
Technological Literacy Constituent Committee
13.40.1 - 13.40.16
A Framework for Developing Courses on Engineering and Technology for Non-Engineers
All Americans need to better understand the wide variety of technology used everyday. The need for technological literacy has never been greater at both an individual and national level. Creating a population with a more empowered relationship with technology will require a significant and widespread initiative in undergraduate education. Courses and materials that are easily adoptable in diverse and varied institutional environments will facilitate this effort. In two reports: Technically Speaking: Why All Americans Need to Know More about Technology (2002), and Tech Tally: Approaches to Assessing Technological Literacy (2006), the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), has outlined the characteristics of a technologically literate citizen. The International Technology Education Association (ITEA) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) have also developed standards defining technological literacy. Recognizing the need for standardized and readily adoptable undergraduate courses on this topic, the NSF supported a working group lead by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Technological Literacy Constituent Committee. This group met on March 26-27, 2007 and adopted four models to serve as standardized courses on technology. In this work, a framework for specific course outlines consistent with the content areas established in Tech Tally of: technology and society, design, products and systems, and technology core concepts and the ITEA technology topic areas was created. To balance the need to accommodate the diverse requirements of curriculum committees on varied campuses, the framework offers flexibility to faculty in configuring courses within each proposed model while still accomplishing the intent of the standards. This framework is intended to form the organizational infrastructure for creating a repository of course materials and an online community for course developers and instructors.
Technology affects nearly every aspect of our lives, and informed citizens need an understanding of what technology is, how it works, how it is created, how it shapes society, and how society influences technological development. Technological choices influence our health and economic well-being, the types of jobs and recreation available, even our means of self-expression. How well American citizens are prepared to make those choices depends in large part on their level of technological literacy. At a recent NSF Workshop at the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) participants sought to create a set of standard models for teaching technological literacy courses [1,2]. As part of that workshop, a framework for evaluating courses on technological literacy and providing a useful context for discussing standard models for technological literacy courses was developed. Such a framework is not only critical for developing effective technological literacy courses but is also a pre-requisite for developing standard course models.
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