Information and communications technology (ICT) pervades virtually all domains of modern life—educational, professional, social, and personal. Yet although there have been numerous calls for linkages that enable ICT competencies acquired in one domain to benefit another, this goal has largely remained unrealized. In particular, while technology skills and applications at work could be greatly enhanced by earlier complementary learning at school—particularly in K-12 education, a formative and influential stage in a person's life—little progress has been made on such linkages. At present, the curricula of most U.S. high schools focus on skills in the use of tools such as specific word-processing software or contemporary Internet search engines. Although these kinds of skills are certainly valuable—at least for a while—they comprise just one component, and the most rudimentary component, of ICT competencies.
The National Academies held a workshop in October 2005 to address the specifics of ICT learning during the high school years would require an explicit effort to build on that report. The workshop was designed to extend the work begun in the report Being Fluent with Information Technology, which identified key components of ICT fluency and discussed their implications for undergraduate education.
ICT Fluency and High Schools summarizes the workshop, which had three primary objectives: (1) to examine the need for updates to the ICT-fluency framework presented in the 1999 study; (2) to identify and analyze the most promising current efforts to provide in high schools many of the ICT competencies required not only in the workplace but also in people's day-to-day functioning as citizens; and (3) to consider what information or research is needed to inform efforts to help high school students develop ICT fluency.