National Academies Press: OpenBook

Being Fluent with Information Technology (1999)

Chapter: Front Matter

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Being Fluent with Information Technology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6482.
×

Being Fluent with Information Technology

Committee on Information Technology Literacy

Computer Science and Telecommunications Board

Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Being Fluent with Information Technology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6482.
×

NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering.

The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine.

The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

Support for this project was provided by the National Science Foundation under Contract Number CDA-9616681. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsor.

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 99-63379

International Standard Book Number 0-309-06399-X

Additional copies of this report are available from:
National Academy Press,
2101 Constitution Avenue, NW, Box 285, Washington, DC 20055 800/624-6242, 202/334–3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area), http://www.nap.edu

Copyright 1999 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Being Fluent with Information Technology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6482.
×

COMMITTEE ON INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY LITERACY

LAWRENCE SNYDER,

University of Washington,

Chair

ALFRED V. AHO,

Lucent Technologies, Inc.

MARCIA LINN,

University of California at Berkeley

ARNOLD PACKER,

Johns Hopkins University

ALLEN TUCKER,

Bowdoin College

JEFFREY ULLMAN,

Stanford University

ANDRIES VAN DAM,

Brown University

Staff

HERBERT S. LIN, Senior Scientist and Study Director

GAIL PRITCHARD, Research Associate

LISA SHUM, Project Assistant (through August 1998)

RITA GASKINS, Project Assistant (from August 1998)

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Being Fluent with Information Technology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6482.
×

COMPUTER SCIENCE AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS BOARD

DAVID D. CLARK,

Massachusetts Institute of Technology,

Chair

FRANCES E. ALLEN,

IBM T.J. Watson Research Center

JAMES CHIDDIX,

Time Warner Cable

JOHN M. CIOFFI,

Stanford University

W. BRUCE CROFT,

University of Massachusetts at Amherst

A.G. (SANDY) FRASER,

AT&T

SUSAN L. GRAHAM,

University of California at Berkeley

JAMES GRAY,

Microsoft Corporation

PATRICK M. HANRAHAN,

Stanford University

JUDITH HEMPEL,

University of California at San Francisco

BUTLER W. LAMPSON,

Microsoft Corporation

EDWARD D. LAZOWSKA,

University of Washington

DAVID LIDDLE,

Interval Research

JOHN MAJOR,

Wireless Knowledge

TOM M. MITCHELL,

Carnegie Mellon University

DONALD NORMAN,

Nielsen Norman Group

RAYMOND OZZIE,

Groove Networks

DAVID A. PATTERSON,

University of California at Berkeley

LEE SPROULL,

Boston University

LESLIE L. VADASZ,

Intel Corporation

Staff

MARJORY S. BLUMENTHAL, Director

HERBERT S. LIN, Senior Scientist

JERRY R. SHEEHAN, Senior Program Officer

ALAN S. INOUYE, Program Officer

JON EISENBERG, Program Officer

JANET D. BRISCOE, Administrative Associate

RITA GASKINS, Project Assistant

NICCI T. DOWD, Project Assistant

DAVID PADGHAM, Project Assistant

MARGARET MARSH, Project Assistant

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Being Fluent with Information Technology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6482.
×

COMMISSION ON PHYSICAL SCIENCES, MATHEMATICS, AND APPLICATIONS

PETER M. BANKS,

ERIM International, Inc.,

Co-chair

W. CARL LINEBERGER,

University of Colorado,

Co-chair

WILLIAM BROWDER,

Princeton University

LAWRENCE D. BROWN,

University of Pennsylvania

MARSHALL H. COHEN,

California Institute of Technology

RONALD G. DOUGLAS,

Texas A&M University

JOHN E. ESTES,

University of California at Santa Barbara

JERRY P. GOLLUB,

Haverford College

MARTHA P. HAYNES,

Cornell University

JOHN L. HENNESSY,

Stanford University

CAROL M. JANTZEN,

Westinghouse Savannah River Company

PAUL G. KAMINSKI,

Technovation, Inc.

KENNETH H. KELLER,

University of Minnesota

MARGARET G. KIVELSON,

University of California at Los Angeles

DANIEL KLEPPNER,

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

JOHN KREICK,

Sanders, a Lockheed Martin Company

MARSHA I. LESTER,

University of Pennsylvania

M. ELISABETH PATÉ-CORNELL,

Stanford University

NICHOLAS P. SAMIOS,

Brookhaven National Laboratory

CHANG-LIN TIEN,

University of California at Berkeley

NORMAN METZGER, Executive Director

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Being Fluent with Information Technology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6482.
×
This page in the original is blank.
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Being Fluent with Information Technology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6482.
×

Preface

In response to a request from the National Science Foundation, the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB) of the National Research Council initiated a study in August 1997 to address the subject of information technology literacy. The rationale for such a study was that the increasing importance and ubiquity of information technology in daily life make it essential to articulate what everyone needs to know and understand about information technology. Such an articulation would be an essential first step toward empowering all citizens to participate in the information age.

Information technology as a topic for literacy has multiple constituencies. For example, the library science community has developed a conceptual underpinning for skills that are important for finding, evaluating, and using information, all of which are important aspects of any definition of information technology literacy. Because they spend their professional lives as creators of information technology, computer scientists have their own perspectives, as do practitioners in disciplines that have traditionally relied on computational tools, such as science and engineering. Disciplines in the arts and humanities are just beginning to tap the potential of information technology and will become (indeed, some would argue are now) important stakeholders. More generally, the broad category "knowledge worker" encompasses many professions in the workplace, and virtually all knowledge workers make use in greater and lesser degrees (increasingly greater) of information technology. Traditionally "blue-collar" workers such as auto mechanics and heating / air-conditioning technicians must also cope with a proliferation of embedded comput-

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Being Fluent with Information Technology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6482.
×

ing devices. And as government begins to provide more services to the public using information technology, the citizenry itself becomes an interested constituent.

The Committee's Approach

In addressing its charge, the committee chose a broad definition of information technology. Information technology was defined to include the more traditional components of information technology (such as general-purpose computational devices, associated peripherals, operating environments, applications software, and information), as well as embedded computing devices, communications, and the science underlying the technology.

As for the knowledge and understanding component of its charge, the committee decided to use the term "fluency." Professor Yasmin Kafai, who briefed the committee, noted that fluency connotes the ability to reformulate knowledge, to express oneself creatively and appropriately, and to produce and generate information (rather than simply to comprehend it). This report uses the term "fluency with information technology," or FITness, and it characterizes as fluent with information technology (FIT) those who use, understand, and know about information technology in the ways described in Chapter 2. Chapter 1 contrasts fluency with the more common term "literacy."

All of the committee believed in the social desirability of the broadest possible dissemination of a set of fundamental concepts, skills, and capabilities. Good arguments were made to and by the committee for defining "everyone" in terms of all junior high school graduates, all high school graduates, all non-college-bound individuals, all college-bound individuals, and all adult citizens (as lifelong learners). But in the end, rather than argue that FITness was required of everyone in some demographic category of the population, the committee instead chose to make its case for the education of individuals who want to be able to use information technology effectively. Furthermore, issues of committee expertise and budget imposed some practical constraints on the committee's work, and the committee decided that it was best qualified to focus, as a first step toward fuller implementation, on the group of learners with which it was most familiar—the four-year college or university graduate. This first step toward implementation is discussed in Chapter 4.

The intent of this report is to lay an intellectual framework for fluency with information technology that is useful for others in developing discipline-specific and / or grade-appropriate efforts to promote FITness. However, this report is not a FITness textbook, a curriculum for FITness, or even a description of standards for FITness.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Being Fluent with Information Technology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6482.
×

Methodology

The committee sought input in three ways: through briefings on the topic from individuals who have worked in the field (Appendix C), from electronic input in response to a set of questions about FITness that the committee broadcast widely over the Internet, and from perspectives provided at an invitation-only workshop in Irvine, California, held to explore the subject, for which participants were sought from a broad range of backgrounds and interests (Appendix D). The committee, itself composed of individuals representing varied backgrounds and expertise (Appendix E), used this broad range of input in an integrative manner to inform its own deliberations on the appropriate scope and nature of FITness.

Acknowledgments

The committee appreciates the sponsorship of the Cross-Disciplinary Activities of the Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering of the National Science Foundation for this project, and especially the support of John Cherniavsky.

The committee benefited from input from a broad range of sources. A list of workshop participants is contained in Appendix D; a list of briefers is provided in Appendix C. Douglas Brown of Bellevue Community College and Mary Lindquist of Columbus State University provided useful comments on Chapter 2. Comments of reviewers (listed immediately following this preface) helped the committee to tighten its presentation and to determine the appropriate emphasis on the various topics contained in the report.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Being Fluent with Information Technology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6482.
×
This page in the original is blank.
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Being Fluent with Information Technology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6482.
×

Acknowledgment of Reviewers

This report was reviewed by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council's (NRC's) Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the authors and the NRC in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The contents of the review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report:

George Bugliarello, Polytechnic University,

Robert Patterson Cook, University of Mississippi,

Ronald Danielson, Santa Clara University,

Scot Drysdale, Dartmouth College,

John Hennessy, Stanford University,

Leah Jamison, Purdue University,

Joan Lippincott, Coalition for Networked Information,

Arthur Melmed, George Mason University,

Susan L. Perry, Mount Holyoke College,

Jane Prey, University of Virginia,

Harold Salzman, University of Massachusetts—Lowell, and

Kendall N. Starkweather, International Technology Education Association.

Although the individuals listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, responsibility for the final content of this report rests solely with the study committee and the NRC.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Being Fluent with Information Technology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6482.
×
This page in the original is blank.
Page xiii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Being Fluent with Information Technology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6482.
×
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Being Fluent with Information Technology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6482.
×
This page in the original is blank.
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Being Fluent with Information Technology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6482.
×
Page R1
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Being Fluent with Information Technology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6482.
×
Page R2
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Being Fluent with Information Technology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6482.
×
Page R3
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Being Fluent with Information Technology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6482.
×
Page R4
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Being Fluent with Information Technology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6482.
×
Page R5
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Being Fluent with Information Technology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6482.
×
Page R6
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Being Fluent with Information Technology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6482.
×
Page R7
Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Being Fluent with Information Technology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6482.
×
Page R8
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Being Fluent with Information Technology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6482.
×
Page R9
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Being Fluent with Information Technology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6482.
×
Page R10
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Being Fluent with Information Technology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6482.
×
Page R11
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Being Fluent with Information Technology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6482.
×
Page R12
Page xiii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Being Fluent with Information Technology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6482.
×
Page R13
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Being Fluent with Information Technology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6482.
×
Page R14
Next: Executive Summary »
Being Fluent with Information Technology Get This Book
×
Buy Paperback | $44.00 Buy Ebook | $35.99
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF

Computers, communications, digital information, software—the constituents of the information age—are everywhere. Being computer literate, that is technically competent in two or three of today’s software applications, is not enough anymore. Individuals who want to realize the potential value of information technology (IT) in their everyday lives need to be computer fluent—able to use IT effectively today and to adapt to changes tomorrow.

Being Fluent with Information Technology sets the standard for what everyone should know about IT in order to use it effectively now and in the future. It explores three kinds of knowledge—intellectual capabilities, foundational concepts, and skills—that are essential for fluency with IT. The book presents detailed descriptions and examples of current skills and timeless concepts and capabilities, which will be useful to individuals who use IT and to the instructors who teach them.

  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook, NAP.edu's online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    Switch between the Original Pages, where you can read the report as it appeared in print, and Text Pages for the web version, where you can highlight and search the text.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  9. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!