an article on the E-Commerce News site [E-Commerce News: Trends: Generation M’s Surprising Struggle With Tech Literacy] about techno-literacy problems with incoming college freshmen. Some schools, like CSU, are planning on including a technology comprehension test alongside their English and Math evaluations for new students.
From the article: “Not all of Generation M can synthesize the loads of information they’re accessing, educators say. ‘They’re geeky, but they don’t know what to do with their geekdom,’ said Barbara O’Connor, a Sacramento State communications studies professor involved in a nationwide effort to hone students’ computer-research skills. On a recent nationwide test to measure their technological ‘literacy’ — their ability to use the Internet to complete class assignments — only 49 percent of the test-takers correctly evaluated a set of Web sites for objectivity, authority and timeliness. Only 35 percent could correctly narrow an overly broad Internet search.”
I can’t wait to see how this plays out in my senior courses this winter on Children and Technology. I’ve had a running argument with anyone would didn’t run away on what it takes to have a useful level of technoliteracy since I was first a TA around 1990. Knowing how to set up the VCR is nothing in comparison to understanding how to subvert the proscribed functions of the VCR. Merely following a manual is to technoliteracy what phonics is to reading Proust.