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Whose Job Is It? Technological Literacy In Society

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Technology Literacy for Engineering Students

Tagged Division

Technological Literacy Constituent Committee

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1610.1 - 12.1610.9



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Paper Authors


Shayna Stanton Student

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Shayna is an undergraduate student at Brigham Young University earning her degree in Facilities Management from the College of Engineering and Technology. She has worked as a research assistant studying the effects of technology on society. She spent 18 months in France as a service missionary and some time in West Africa participating in humanitarian efforts. After graduation, Shayna plans to pursue a graduate degree in Urban Planning for developing countries.

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Michael Bailey Brigham Young University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Whose Job is it? Technological Literacy in Society


This research explores the effects of technology on society, especially the technologically illiterate, who struggle under the surge of modern consumer technologies that penetrate the market. Whose responsibility is it to educate the average American? Who should train them to control the technologies they deal with every day? Who should show them how to access technology in order to enable them to protect and educate themselves?

Is it the role of engineers, the creators and developers of new technology, to teach society to understand that technology? Should educators conduct outreach programs to train the communities in which they reside? Is it the government’s responsibility to provide the information needed for citizens to effectively manage and utilize the ongoing influx of new and improved technology? Should the responsibility be left to parents to be self-educated and to teach their children?

In this age of diverse methods of communication and dissemination of information, we have access to so much more than our forbearers imagined possible. It is important for people to understand technology and to be competent users. With so much innovation some get lost in the flow of new technology and can not seem to manage the information entering their environment. Some lose control of their privacy and become victims of theft because of ignorance. Many adopt a fatalistic mentality and simply accept their ignorance because they feel overwhelmed or afraid of the dangers of technology. Conversely, education spawns feelings of safety and security because knowledge empowers the individual. Whose role is it to promote educated, communicative, and innovative users? This research explores the complex issues dealing with society’s interaction with technology and provides clarity regarding these issues.


“Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.” --James Madison1

The effect of technology on society as a whole and on individuals is of great concern. For over a year several faculty and student researchers at Brigham Young University have been researching the effects of technology on society and the family. Despite its importance, this topic has been largely ignored2. However, a discussion with an average American illustrates that many experience frustration with their everyday technology. They feel “technologically illiterate.” The potential problems associated with technological illiteracy reach farther than feelings of frustration. Technology has direct social, economic, and moral implications for our society3,4,5.

Technology in everyday life has become a hands-on learning experience dependent on user- friendly technology. The permeation of technology into our lives is presenting more and more challenges along with benefits4. With technology pouring in at an unprecedented rate, we are ill- prepared to handle it4. Parents fear for their children and don’t know how to protect them. Learning about even one technology can lead to myriad questions that go unanswered. A

Stanton, S., & Bailey, M. (2007, June), Whose Job Is It? Technological Literacy In Society Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2217

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