Tag Archives: digital native

April 6, 2012, 2:33 pm

How Not to Require Computer Science for All Students

So let’s suppose we decide to require computer science for all students at our university. How are we going to implement that requirement? Here’s one approach that I believe could turn out to be the wrong way to do this: Set up a collection of courses, all of which count for the CS1 requirement, that are aligned to the students’ levels of technological proficiency. STEM students take a standard intro-to-programming course, liberal arts majors take a course that focuses more on office applications, and so on.

But, wait a minute, didn’t I say last time that I liked Georgia Tech’s approach, where the single CS1 requirement was satisfied by a number of different courses that are aimed at different populations? Yes, I did. But favoring a collection courses with different populations is not the same as favoring a collection with different outcomes depending on how measure, or perceive,…

Read More

October 29, 2008, 11:35 am

A test for tech literacy

The National Assessment Governing Board has announced plans to develop a standardized test to gauge the technological literacy of K-12 students, according to a BusinessWeek article. They plan to deploy the test to a sample of students in grades 4, 8, and 12. The article doesn’t say what, exactly, is going to be on the test. But, interestingly, there are some hints in the article that the test will include mechanical and scientific concepts under the umbrella of “technology”. (Lest we forget, there are all kinds of technology out there besides cell phones and MySpace pages, and being really skilled in technology has to mean more than just the ability to twiddle buttons on a gadget.)

I’m not sure what the K-12 system in this country needs right now is one more standardized test. But on the other hand, it would be awfully nice — for once — to have a standard means of gathering…

Read More

April 29, 2008, 12:57 pm

Actual research on tech literacy!

Finally, a professional sociologist has done some actual research on the concept of the digital native. Her view is a little more measured than others‘. From this interview

Q. Why do people think young people are so Web-wise?

A. I think the assumption is that if it was available from a young age for them, then they can use it better. Also, the people who tend to comment about technology use tend to be either academics or journalists or techies, and these three groups tend to understand some of these new developments better than the average person. Ask your average 18-year-old: Does he know what RSS means? And he won’t.

The importance of having empirical findings about digital literacy among young people — as opposed to anecdotes and assumptions that tend to affirm what we want to believe — is that the more we assume, the less we teach. As Prof. Hargittai puts it: 

Q. Are the…

Read More

October 17, 2007, 11:03 am

Wednesday link-fest

You know, there’s some good stuff showing up in my RSS reader once I get a chance to read it:

  • There’s a 21-page paper titled “Are There Infinitely Many Primes?” over at arXiv. How do you write 21 pages on a question that was answered “yes” about 2500 years ago? You’ll have to go see for yourself.
  • xkcd turns the Turing Test around.
  • IHE has this article on dual enrollment (high school students taking college courses) and its benefits. I agree. I’ve been involved with a dual-enrollment program at my college, and I’m definitely preferring this approach over taking a so-called AP course taught and designed outside the auspices of a college that may or may not prepare students well for actual college courses.
  • Dana Huff is wondering whether there are programs out there that will donate laptops to teachers. There’s this program from the One Laptop Per Child project, but I’ve not seen a…

Read More