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ICT Fluency and High Schools: A Workshop Summary
in the teaching of ICT-related subjects is the factor of change. For example, when that report was published less than a decade ago, the World Wide Web had only recently become a public resource, and any discussion of ICT fluency just a few years earlier would not have included, or perhaps even envisioned, the browsing skills and other capabilities currently regarded as essential. Similarly, to shape curricula today that might be valid, say, 20 years hence would be mostly an exercise in futility.
Being Fluent thus emphasized life-long learning, which led to the report’s well-received tripartite framework of ICT skills, ICT concepts, and intellectual capabilities. The skills enable the use of current technology. The concepts are essentially the foundation that allows students—and adults—to keep learning. And the capabilities effectively allow the wise use both of skills and concepts in the right way at the right time.
Under each of these three major components, moreover, Being Fluent identified 10 specific competencies (see Box 2-1). The committee members who developed the report intentionally limited themselves to this number because it forced them to choose the competencies they considered most important rather than generate an extensive list.
The report also stressed that “fluency” is not a synonym for “literacy.” It is in fact much broader. Literacy is effectively embodied by the skills component, while the concepts and capabilities components take learners much further and deeper. As a result, the acquisition of literacy is a relatively straightforward process, whether in schools or elsewhere, but the teaching of fluency—imparting not only ICT skills but also concepts and capabilities—requires curricular change in which ICT is seen as more than a particular skill set, especially in the high schools.
Being Fluent advanced principles, centered on those sketched above, that apply to all of education, but it focused on the college (undergraduate) level. To address the specifics of ICT learning during the high school years would require an explicit effort to build on that report, which was the focus of the workshop that is the subject of this present report.
The workshop 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.
To help ensure that the workshop would meet these objectives, the