Cover image for Technically speaking : why all Americans need to know more about technology
Technically speaking : why all Americans need to know more about technology
Pearson, Greg.
Publication Information:
Washington, D.C. : National Academy Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
xii, 156 pages : illustrations ; 26 cm
General Note:
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
T73 .T37 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Cell phones . . . airbags . . . genetically modified food . . . the Internet. These are all emblems of modern life. You might ask what we would do without them. But an even more interesting question might be what would we do if we had to actually explain how they worked?

The United States is riding a whirlwind of technological change. To be sure, there have been periods, such as the late 1800s, when new inventions appeared in society at a comparable rate. But the pace of change today, and its social, economic, and other impacts, are as significant and far reaching as at any other time in history. And it seems that the faster we embrace new technologies, the less we (TM)re able to understand them. What is the long-term effect of this galloping technological revolution? In today (TM)s new world, it is nothing less than a matter of responsible citizenship to grasp the nature and implications of technology.

Technically Speaking provides a blueprint for bringing us all up to speed on the role of technology in our society, including understanding such distinctions as technology versus science and technological literacy versus technical competence. It clearly and decisively explains what it means to be a technologically-literate citizen. The book goes on to explore the context of technological literacy "the social, historical, political, and educational environments.

This readable overview highlights specific issues of concern: the state of technological studies in K-12 schools, the reach of the Internet into our homes and lives, and the crucial role of technology in today (TM)s economy and workforce. Three case studies of current issues "car airbags, genetically modified foods, and the California energy crisis "illustrate why ordinary citizens need to understand technology to make responsible decisions. This fascinating book from the National Academy of Engineering is enjoyable to read and filled with contemporary examples. It will be important to anyone interested in understanding how the world around them works.

Table of Contents

Executive Summaryp. 1
The Reportp. 2
What Is Technology?p. 2
What Is Technological Literacy?p. 3
Benefits of Technological Literacyp. 3
Context for Technological Literacyp. 5
Foundation for Technological Literacyp. 6
Recommendationsp. 8
A Final Wordp. 10
1 Mandate for Technological Literacyp. 11
What Is Technology?p. 13
Technological Literacyp. 14
A Technologically Literate Personp. 17
Technical Competencyp. 21
Conclusionp. 23
Referencesp. 23
2 Benefits of Technological Literacyp. 25
Improving Decision Makingp. 25
Increasing Citizen Participationp. 36
Supporting a Modern Workforcep. 40
Narrowing the Digital Dividep. 42
Enhancing Social Well-beingp. 44
Conclusionp. 45
Referencesp. 46
3 Context for Technological Literacyp. 47
The Human Connection to Technologyp. 47
Misconceptions About the Nature of Technologyp. 50
Technological Studies in K-12p. 53
Overemphasis on Computers and Information Technologyp. 58
A Policy Blind Spotp. 59
Uncertainties About What We Knowp. 63
Conclusionp. 70
Referencesp. 72
4 Foundation for Technological Literacyp. 77
K-12 Schoolsp. 77
Postsecondary Educationp. 84
Informal Educationp. 88
Participation in Technological Decision Makingp. 94
Conclusionsp. 98
Referencesp. 99
5 Recommendationsp. 103
Strengthening the Presence of Technology in Formal and Informal Educationp. 104
Developing a Research Basep. 108
Enhancing Informed Decision Makingp. 110
Rewarding Teaching Excellence and Educational Innovationp. 113
A Final Wordp. 114
A Toolkit for Technological Literacyp. 115
Nature and History of Technologyp. 115
Resources for the K-12 Classroomp. 121
Standards and Related Publicationsp. 126
Organizations of Interestp. 127
Contests and Awardsp. 131
B Committee and Staff Biographiesp. 137
Indexp. 147