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Being Fluent with Information Technology (1999)

Chapter: D Workshop Participants and Questions Posted on the Internet

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Suggested Citation:"D Workshop Participants and Questions Posted on the Internet." National Research Council. 1999. Being Fluent with Information Technology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6482.
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Appendix D—
Workshop Participants and Questions Posted on the Internet

D.1 Participants in the January 1997 Workshop

Robert B. Allen, Bellcore

Robert H. Anderson, RAND

Ronald E. Anderson, University of Minnesota

Robert M. Ballard, North Carolina Central University

Alan W. Biermann, Duke University

Tony Brewer, Pivot Partners

Peter P. Chen, Louisiana State University

Martin Dickey, University of Washington

Linda S. Dobb, Bowling Green State University

Michael B. Eisenberg, Syracuse University and ERIC Clearinghouse on Information and Technology

Zorana Ercegovac, University of California, Los Angeles

Susan Gerhart, Applied Formal Methods, Inc. and ROI Joint Venture

Stephen A.B. Gilbert, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Connie Hendrix, San Francisco Unified School District

Charles F. Kelemen, Swarthmore College

Allen Klinger, University of California, Los Angeles

Susan Landau, University of Massachusetts

Larry Long, Long and Associates

Note: Pointers to many of the position papers presented by these participants can be found online at <http://www2.nas.edu/cstbweb>.

Suggested Citation:"D Workshop Participants and Questions Posted on the Internet." National Research Council. 1999. Being Fluent with Information Technology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6482.
×

Ellen Meltzer, University of California, Berkeley

David G. Messerschmitt, University of California, Berkeley

Jeanine Meyer, Pace University

Paul Nielson, Manitoba Library Association

Jim Perry, Kinko's Inc.

Viera K. Proulx, Northeastern University

Richard S. Rosenberg, University of British Columbia

Linda Loos Scarth, Mount Mercy College

Greg W. Scragg, State University of New York at Geneseo

Mary Shaw, Carnegie Mellon University

Ralph D. Westfall, University of Southern California

Marsha Cook Woodbury, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

D.2 Questions About Information Technology Literacy Posted on the Internet

D.2.1 Questions for Computer and Communications Scientists and Engineers

1. For purposes of this discussion, the committee provisionally distinguishes in a loose and informal way between fundamental concepts, applications of fundamental concepts, and engineering and design principles used in applying concepts. To illustrate, a concept might be "instruction interpretation." An application of that concept might be "Java byte-code interpretation." An engineering principle might be "design under constraint" (e.g., designing a Java interpreter under the constraint of limited memory or bandwidth).

1a. What are the fundamental concepts of information technology that an educated adult should know? (Interpret information technology broadly to include computing and communications.) For each concept:

  • Describe it;
  • Identify the age or educational level at which you believe it should first be introduced; and
  • Explain how it might be introduced.

1b. What are the essential applications of the fundamental concepts?

  • Describe it;
  • Identify the age or educational level at which you believe it should first be introduced; and
  • Explain how it might be introduced.
Suggested Citation:"D Workshop Participants and Questions Posted on the Internet." National Research Council. 1999. Being Fluent with Information Technology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6482.
×

1c. What are the essential engineering and/or design principles relevant to information technology?

  • Describe it;
  • Identify the age or educational level at which you believe it should first be introduced; and
  • Explain how it might be introduced.

2. How do you expect the essential concepts, applications, and engineering/design principles described in your answers to change over time (as information technology evolves)? How should the pedagogical process deal with such changes? How can/should individuals be taught to learn about how to use new and never-before-seen computational artifacts (e.g., new applications, services, hardware devices, software packages)?

3. How should concepts and skills be balanced in information technology literacy? How do/should concepts and skills complement each other in information technology literacy? How do they compete with each other? In other words, how and to what extent is there a trade-off in learning about concepts versus skills? (For purposes of this discussion, the committee regards a "skill" as facility with a specific computational tool or artifact such as a spreadsheet.)

4. How can individuals best learn the limitations of information technology? How can they learn to make informed personal/social/policy decisions about issues that involve information technology?

D.2.2 Questions for Employers and Labor Professionals

  1. What information technology skills and knowledge will workers need to do their jobs in the early 21st century? Please indicate whether the perspective from which you are answering this question is that of manufacturing or services, and provide separate answers for entry-level, mid-level, technical-level, and executive-level positions. (For purposes of this discussion, a "skill" is "facility with a specific computational tool or artifact such as a spreadsheet." "Knowledge" might be something like "knowledge of programming," though not necessarily knowledge of a specific programming language.) An example of an entry-level skill might be "data input and use of the Internet." Skills required in mid-level positions might include word processing, database, and spreadsheet skills. An executive-level skill might be the use of teleconferencing. (These examples are intended only as possible illustrations.)
Suggested Citation:"D Workshop Participants and Questions Posted on the Internet." National Research Council. 1999. Being Fluent with Information Technology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6482.
×
  1. The generic competencies underlying the workplace of the 21st century are generally thought to include project planning, budgeting and scheduling, using/communicating/organizing information, understanding/monitoring systems, and interpersonal skills. In your view, how should workers use computers and telecommunications technology in these five domains? (For example, today a person involved in planning might use spreadsheets, project planners, and flow charts. A person using and organizing information might use word processor or presentation software. A person exercising interpersonal skills might use decision support software.)
  2. What is the mix of general and specific knowledge of information technology that you expect to seek in new entry-level hires? More specifically:
  • What artifacts do you need them to know about?
  • What ability to use new information technology do you expect or need them to have?
  • Should these individuals acquire such knowledge and skills from in-house employer training, informal education, or in some other venue? Why?
  • What learning or educational experiences would best prepare the employees most likely to be hired? What would enable them to cope with future technological changes and information technology tools with which they have no previous experience?
  • D.2.3 Literacy Project: Questions for K-12 and Post-Secondary Educators

    1. What should information technology (IT)-literate individuals be prepared to do in the future? What sorts of lifelong personal, career, and policy decisions should such individuals be prepared to make? Why? (By "IT literacy," we mean not only an IT-literate person's ability to effectively use computers and other information technology tools, but also his or her understanding of how such technology works, and the role of such technology in society.)
    2. What should all high school graduates/students know about information technology to achieve information technology literacy? Please describe each element of this knowledge (e.g., how to troubleshoot a soft-
    Suggested Citation:"D Workshop Participants and Questions Posted on the Internet." National Research Council. 1999. Being Fluent with Information Technology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6482.
    ×
    • ware problem or how to make an informed decision about a public policy decision that involves information technology) and briefly say why you believe this is important. For each element, suggest what about it you believe should be taught at what grade levels.
    • What learning experiences do students need to achieve the technological literacy described in answer to question 2? ("Learning experiences" can include both in-school and out-of-school activities.) Please be specific, using examples from your own teaching if possible.
    • What technological environment (computers, networks, software, resources, etc.) do pre-college teachers need to teach technological literacy? What is the minimum technological environment needed today? What is the ideal technological environment needed today? Why? Please describe the relationship of the elements you provided in Question 2 to the nature of this environment. (For example, what kinds of computers or connections to the Internet are minimally adequate?)

    D.2.4 Questions for Librarians

    1. In an online information community, what should every citizen know about information technology in order to make effective use of the capabilities it enables? Please describe each element of this knowledge (e.g., how to perform an Internet search, how to understand its results) and briefly say why you believe this is important. For each element, suggest what about it you believe should be taught at what grade levels.
    2. Two particularly important examples of new capabilities are those of information searching and information presentation. What are the basic principles that guide an effective search or presentation? At what level should these principles be taught? How should people learn about the limitations of searches and presentations?
    3. What learning experiences do students need to obtain the skills and knowledge described in answer to Questions 1 and 2? (Learning experiences can include both in-school and out-of-school activities.) Please be specific, using examples from your own teaching if possible.
    4. What technological environment (computers, networks, software, resources, etc.) is needed to support the learning experiences described in Question 3?
    Suggested Citation:"D Workshop Participants and Questions Posted on the Internet." National Research Council. 1999. Being Fluent with Information Technology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6482.
    ×

    D.2.5 Questions for Commercial and Business Information Technologists (e.g., MIS Support, Chief Information Officers)

    1. What will every worker need to know about information technology in order to make effective use of the capabilities it enables? It might be useful to distinguish between information technology skills (i.e., "facility with a specific computational tool or artifact such as a spreadsheet") and knowledge (i.e., "knowledge of programming," though not necessarily knowledge of a specific programming language). Please describe each element of this required knowledge and these required skills.
    2. The generic competencies underlying the workplace of the 21st century are generally thought to include project planning, budgeting and scheduling, using/communicating/organizing information, understanding/monitoring systems, and interpersonal skills. In your view, how should workers use computers and telecommunications technology in these five domains? (For example, today a person involved in planning might use spreadsheets, project planners, and flow charts. A person using and organizing information might use word processor or presentation software. A person exercising interpersonal skills might use decision support software.)
    3. What is the mix of general and specific knowledge of information technology that you expect to see in new employees? More specifically:
      • What specific artifacts (e.g., spreadsheets, word processors) do you need them to know about?
      • What ability to use new information technology do you expect or need them to have?
      • What conceptual knowledge is essential?
      • How does your answer change with the employee's seniority in the organization? Should these individuals acquire such knowledge and skills from in-house employer training, in formal or informal education, or in some other venue? Why?
      • What learning or educational experiences would enable the employees you support to cope with future technological changes and information technology tools with which they have no previous experience?
    Suggested Citation:"D Workshop Participants and Questions Posted on the Internet." National Research Council. 1999. Being Fluent with Information Technology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6482.
    ×
    Page 103
    Suggested Citation:"D Workshop Participants and Questions Posted on the Internet." National Research Council. 1999. Being Fluent with Information Technology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6482.
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    Suggested Citation:"D Workshop Participants and Questions Posted on the Internet." National Research Council. 1999. Being Fluent with Information Technology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6482.
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    Suggested Citation:"D Workshop Participants and Questions Posted on the Internet." National Research Council. 1999. Being Fluent with Information Technology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6482.
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    Suggested Citation:"D Workshop Participants and Questions Posted on the Internet." National Research Council. 1999. Being Fluent with Information Technology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6482.
    ×
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    Suggested Citation:"D Workshop Participants and Questions Posted on the Internet." National Research Council. 1999. Being Fluent with Information Technology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6482.
    ×
    Page 108
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    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.

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