literate, and it repeatedly referenced technology as an important source of support for teaching and learning across the curriculum. Pushing the bar a bit higher, America’s corporate leaders have been saying for some time that technology must not only be used effectively and creatively by students but also be understood in ways that move students beyond basic levels of competency.
In recent years, technology fluency has become a focal point for education ministries worldwide. They and their nongovernmental counterparts have issued white papers, for instance, that connect technological fluency with the critical-reasoning abilities required in the information age (de Ricjke, 2004; Korean Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development, 2003). Educational leaders and policy makers have also responded to the growing importance of technology in the global marketplace, and in classrooms, with programs designed to prepare young people to compete in the international information community.
China, for example, has made information technology part of the compulsory coursework for all of its high school students, who are now expected to be able to collect, analyze, and communicate information (Feicheng and Cuihua, 2002). Singapore, recognizing the vital role that education will play in the country’s planned transformation to a center of technological innovation, has established instruction in creativity and innovation as part of its centralized curriculum (Kozma, 2005). Australia has promoted throughout its states and territories ICT in Schools, a program to foster ICT training and use in the classroom (Woods, 2004). South Korea’s national curriculum has identified within its top-level goals for high school students their need to prepare for the global setting (Korea Institute of Curriculum and Evaluation, 2005). That nation’s underlying technological infrastructure further supports this educational push; South Korea has become a world leader in the number of households with access to broadband Internet connections (Herz, 2002).
In Europe, Finland has created programs to support teachers and students in developing knowledge-building skills through student-centered approaches to teaching and learning linked to communities and local businesses. At the same time, the United Kingdom has drawn considerable attention from its European and Asian counterparts with an innovative assessment, the Key Stage ICT Literacy Assessment for children ages 12– 13. Created by the British government’s Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, the Key Stage 3 test is designed both to gauge students’ ability to apply critical thinking skills—using technology to solve complex problems