~e; electromagnetic education...

From bc <human@electronetwork.org>
Date Sun, 20 Jan 2002 18:50:42 -0600

  [not coincidental, not surprising, but surprising nonetheless as the
  topic of technological literacy in a technological culture is a moot
  issue, especially with regard to the division of knowledge into the
  technical and non-technical disciplines, broadly the Two Cultures
  of science and letters/humanities/arts. amazing enough, the idea
  of teaching young and old alike, even before the earliest schooling,
  is deeply needed and likely impossible without basic literacy in
  the foundations of (electromagnetic) technologies. this need is
  apparent, and its solution transparent and illuminating, the inter-
  disciplinary aspects of technology, and so too, knowledge of it
  in everyday life. 'digital' and 'internet' and whatever other study,
  when dissected from the meat of substance, renders little to be
  known except discrete bits and factoids about technological culture.
  basic literacy will not only help in learning from what knowledge-
  tools we interact with every day, in terms of their science, art,
  and technological stories and importance, but also could help us
  shape a better collective situation, for how can a society be
  governed by expertise when there is no expertise with which
  to govern the technological in all of its various manifestations.
  education, literacy, and study of electromagnetism is critical.]

We know it works, but we have absolutely no idea how
Basic technology baffles Americans, group says

By Andrew Mollison

Published Sunday, January 20, 2002, in the Herald-Leader

WASHINGTON -- Nearly half of American adults wrongly think that they
would risk electrocution by using a portable phone while in the

``We are technologically illiterate,'' an expert committee set up by
the National Academy of Engineering and the National Research Council
said Thursday. ``As a society, we are not even fully aware of or
conversant with the technologies we use every day.''

The panel met at the National Academies to discuss a Gallup poll used
in its two-year study of what to do about how little Americans know
about technology.

Only 26 percent of those questioned correctly chose ``true'' when
asked whether FM radios operate free of static. On the other hand, 82
percent correctly agreed that ``a car operates through a series of

The panel was led by retired Lockheed Martin and NASA executive A.
Thomas Young, It included teachers, engineers and such luminaries as
ex-astronaut Mae Jamison, a professor of environmental studies who
was the first black woman to travel into space.

``The United States is increasingly defined by and dependent on
technology and is adopting new technologies at a breathtaking pace,''
the panelists said, but most Americans ``are not equipped to make
well-considered decisions or to think critically about technology.''

They said Americans don't know how to seek information about new
technology or about how to repair simple appliances. Americans can't
use basic math concepts such as probability, scale and estimation to
make informed judgments about public policies affected by technology,
they said.

The experts suggested 11 formal and informal ways for families,
schools, colleges, governments, museums and businesses to bolster
Americans' knowledge of technology. For example, technology should
not be restricted to science courses but also woven into classes such
as social studies and ethics, they said.

``Learning about technology should begin long before kindergarten,
and the connection between all subjects and technology should be
emphasized through a student's education,'' said science educator
Karen Falkenberg of Atlanta.

Only 76 percent of the men and 54 percent of the women claimed they
could explain to a friend how a telephone call gets from point A to
point B.

While nine out of 10 of both sexes said they could explain how to use
a credit card to get money out of an ATM, or how a flashlight works,
only 72 percent of the men and 36 percent of the women said they
could tell a friend how energy is transferred into electrical power.

On the Web:

Technological Literacy report:

www. national-academies.org

Gallup poll results:

www. iteawww.org

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