We are limiting ourselves

To be technologically literate to me, means that you are able to utilise tools to accomplish a task of some kind. Whether it be to send a facebook message to a friend, to mow your lawn using a lawnmower, to use a scewdriver to tighten screws…. etc. I feel that technological literacy is often thought of more along the lines of computer literacy nowadays, and people are close minded to the fact that technology doesn’t just apply to the cutting edge innovations. It can apply to other things as well… Technological literacy (in my own opinion) can apply to finding uses for old technology, and innovating with those old technologies. A good example of this is a photographer that I follow (http://www.flickr.com/photos/aliscarpulla/) who uses old 35 mm film cameras, in the age of digital cameras, to make her art. She also uses unorthodox techniques while developing her film, such as exposing it to mold. She is very innovative, and knows what she is doing with the tools she has at hand. This is not what most people would think of as far as technological literacy is concerned, as it does not deal with writing scripts on a computer, or software, or using social media.

The Iowa Department of Education is preparing students to be computer literate, to be able to use digital presentations, and to understand all of the various laws and restrictions of these technologies. This is all fantastic news, but I feel that they are a bit obsessed with the “digital-age.” Being able to operate a computer is a form of technological literacy, but it is not the only form of technological literacy. Being able to use tools to make things out of wood is a form of technological literacy and so is knowing how to fix an automotive engine. I fear that this generation will be so obsessed with only computer literacy, that other forms of technological literacy will suffer from a lack of literate people in their respective fields.

I do consider myself to be technologically literate, I consider myself to be well rounded in my understanding of various technologies. As an engineering student, I regularly utilise computers, with software such as microsoft Excel and AutoCAD. I use the internet regularly as a Facebook addict, youtube viewer, and googler. I also know how to run a bandsaw, I can make roof rafters, and frame a house. As a photographer, I am literate in the usage of several kinds of cameras, I can use your grandma’s old pentax, I have several digital cameras that I regularly use, and I have used polaroid cameras before. I can drive a car, as long as it is an automatic, but that is as far as my literacy with automotive technology goes, unless you want me to point out the obvious, such as “Hey you have a flat tire” or “There is a deer on your windshield.”

To summarize, do not think that technological literacy is limited to being able to use a computer. There is so much more out there as far as technological skills that need to be taught, that are not getting the attention that they need. Do not limit yourselves.

 

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