The portion of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act known as 'Enhancing Education Through Technology Act of 2001' (E2T2) has a goal: To assist every student in crossing the digital divide by ensuring that every student is technologically literate by the time the student finishes the eighth grade, regardless of the student's race, ethnicity, gender, family income, geographic location, or disability.
The Iowa Department of Education considers this a local control issue to be defined in your CSIP.
Keystone AEA Technology Services has put together this page to assist your school district as you work on defining and assessing technology literacy. If you have questions, contact Rhonda Sheeley
, Deb Henkes
, Norma Thiese
or Mary Hauber
at 800-632-5918. We would like to thank John O'Connell, Iowa Department of Education technology consultant (retired) for providing some of the information referenced herein.
Rationale for Technology Literacy
The growth of information and digital communication technologies, including capabilities for networking and shared environments, is changing the nature of social interactions and collaborative endeavors. Digital technology, in all its forms, allows information to be continuously available and adapted for different uses. Computers, handheld personal digital assistants (PDAs), on-line resources, networks and mobile telephone systems allow us to extend the reach of our cognitive capabilities and communication. Participating in this digital world is fast becoming a necessary condition for successful participation in society. It is therefore necessary for schools to prepare their students to enter this world through the use of information and communication technologies, such as computers, networking and other digital and non-digital technologies as well as audio, video and other media tools.
Requirements of NCLB Technology Literacy
There are three responsibilities of each school in order to meet NCLB and state of Iowa DE requirements:
- develop a definition of technology literacy for a student completing 8th grade
- determine the criteria, standards, curriculum integration, etc. that prepares students to be technologically literate
- assess and document the technology literacy proficiency level of all 8th grade students at the completion of each school year
This documentation will be reviewed on Iowa Department of Education site visits. Based on this documentation, the district should be able to report the percentage of technologically literate 8th grade students it has each year.
Pam Pfitzenmaier, Administrator at the DE, sent a letter dated September 27, 2006 to all district administrators outlining a change in reporting requirements. Quoting the letter:
"The USDE has now notified states that beginning in the spring of 2007, local districts must report the total number of 8th grade students and the number who demonstrate a locally determined proficiency of “technology literacy.” On the spring 2007 BEDs report, districts will provide the total number of 8th graders and the number that meet the locally determined definition of demonstrating technology literacy. No other data to meet this requirement will be requested."
Two Proposed Definitions of Technology Literacy
Keystone AEA and area schools participating in the NE Iowa Collaborative for School Improvement several years ago processed a definition of technology literacy as follows:
The ability to identify, evaluate and efficiently use ever-changing electronic or mechanical devices appropriately to manage information, to learn and to enhance the quality of life.
The Technology Literacy Assessment Work Group of the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) has suggested this definition:
Technology literacy is the ability to responsibly use appropriate technology to communicate, solve problems, and access, manage, integrate, evaluate, and create information to improve learning in all subject areas and to acquire lifelong knowledge and skills in the 21st century.
Standards, Curriculum, etc.
The Iowa Department of Education continues to support the integration of technology into the CSIP development process, and has integrated technology literacy skills into the Iowa Core
. Most of these Iowa Core skills are based upon the National Educational Technology Standards (NETS for Students
According to the NETS standards, a technology literate student is deemed to be proficient in using technology to support the following areas: basic operations and concepts, digital citizenship, creativity and innovation, communication, research fluency, problem-solving, and decision-making. A one-page summary of the six NETS standards is available here
A copy of the NETS standards for students, as well as other supporting documents can be downloaded here
The Association of State Educational Technology Directors (Vic Jaras, Iowa DE, member) has provided a framework with some criteria for recognizing technology literacy at 8th grade. Download a copy in Word format
or PDF format
An example of performance indicators for technology-literate students at grades 6-8 taken from the NETS standards publication, is available in PDF format
A draft achievement rubric for the NETS standards is being developed to assist state and school-district leaders in their efforts to measure and monitor the development of student technology literacy. The development team of NCREL and Learning Point Associates, have made the document available.
Another resource you may find useful is the MILE guide
from the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. This is a public/private organization formed to create a model of learning that incorporates 21st century skills into education.
Assessment of Technology Literacy
The type of assessment used is determined at the local school level. The assessment may be:
- a knowledge based (test)
- grades in a required 8th grade course
- performance (checklist) based
- e-portfolio based
- project based
- a combination of any of the above
The school must be able to document the technology literacy proficiency level of all eighth grade students at the completion of each school year. The following table provides some options for technology literacy assessments. These assessment strategies can be used with each standard individually, or clustered where it is appropriate. They can be done in content areas or they can be done as a stand-alone effort.