Asee peer logo

Improving Technological Literacy Through the Use of News Articles

Download Paper |


2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Technological Literacy for Undergraduate Students

Tagged Division

Technological and Engineering Literacy/Philosophy of Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.839.1 - 22.839.7



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Randy Libros Community College of Philadelphia

visit author page

Associate Professor, Physics
Program Director, Applied Science and Engineering Technology
Co-Chair, Center for Science and Engineering Education

visit author page

Download Paper |


Improving Technological Literacy Outcomes at the College LevelAbstractA new course, Science, Technology and Public Policy, was first offered at ________ in the Fallof 2009. The course is designed to introduce students to basic scientific principles in Biology,Chemistry and Physics, to show how these principles are applied in areas such as biotechnologyand nanotechnology, and to explore societal issues related to these technologies. Assessment ofstudent achievement of some aspects of technological literacy during the first year of the courseshowed mixed results, with students generally able to explain a technology and the advantagesand disadvantages of using the technology, but often showing weakness in explaining thescientific foundation of the technology and discussing public policy implications.In order to improve outcomes, and to better integrate issues currently in the news, a new ongoingassignment, “Technology in the News” was developed and introduced during the Fall 2010semester. Throughout the semester students will read a variety of current news reports of issuesthat are strongly related to technology, such as oil drilling, hydraulic fracturing (currently amajor issue in our state), biotechnology, and so on. The repetitive assignment format provides aconsistent structure for students to ensure that they learn to identify and differentiate technology,science and public policy issues, as well as understand the position of various stakeholders.Students are also asked to come to a preliminary personal position on the subject/technology athand , and to identify additional questions they have about the topic.The assignment is designed to address findings in the literature related to student learning andknowledge transfer by providing students with a concrete framework for technologically literatethinking, as well as ample practice in applying the framework over a range of topics. Feedbackto students from the formative assessment of these assignments during the semester will helpguide students as they develop a more sophisticated level of technological literacy.Assessment of the effectiveness of the “Technology in the News” assignments will be evaluatedby the summative review of the student’s final project, where they work with a group toindependently analyze a technology (as well as the science behind it and the societal issues thatarise from it) that has not been covered in class.

Libros, R. (2011, June), Improving Technological Literacy Through the Use of News Articles Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18120

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2011 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015