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Technological Access, Literacy and Fluency Essay


Majority of people in the United States can access technological facilities easily. A slightly smaller number are technologically literate. However, across all ages, social status and professions, most people are not technologically fluent.

According to Williams (2003), more than sixty percent of families in the United States have computers with Microsoft applications and internet connections in their homes. The emergence of ipods, iphones and internet enabled cell phones has given young people excellent access to digital media. Eight year olds are communicating through digital media because of improved accessibility (Gasser & Palfrey, 2010).

Technological literacy is the ability to use technology to communicate, solve problems, and access, manage, integrate, evaluate, and create information using computer applications. Majority of young people in the United States are technologically literate while older ones are not entirely literate.

The level of literacy in the old generation varies with profession, social status, and interest (Williams, 2003). Some young children do not become technologically literate at early age because they do not access digital media equipment. However, their technological literacy is mainly skewed towards entertainment and socialization (Gasser & Palfrey, 2010).

Technological fluency is the ability to develop applications which can be used to run systems, solve problems, entertain, and enhance academic research and technological development. In the United States, technological fluency is limited to mainly scholars and professionals. College students and college graduates are likely to be more technologically fluent than high school graduates.

Various colleges have included computer programming in their curriculums to ensure that their graduates are self reliant at workplace. Computer scientists face various programming challenges. A person can be familiar with the use of java but not html.

The type and level of fluency is determined by profession and other factors. For instance, a lawyer will have no interest in understanding or learning Computer Aided Design application but an engineer will have all the reasons to do so (Williams, 2003).

In Michigan Technological University, all students and staff access digital media because there is enough technological equipment (Michigan Technological University, 2012). The university has installed computers in all labs, classrooms and several lecture halls to enable students gain access to digital media.

Furthermore, several people in the university have their own computers, laptops and cell phones. However, not all members of the surrounding community can access digital media. People who do not access these facilities are few. Most of them cannot gain access to digital media because they lack interest.

Most students and staff at Michigan Technological University are technologically literate (Michigan Technological University, 2012). However, not all members of the community surrounding the University are technologically literate. Younger people are more literate than older ones.

Very few old people are technologically literate. However, most people who are 50 years and below are literate. Like all parts of the United States, people between the age of 20 and 30 in Michigan are more technologically literate than people of other ages (Gasser & Palfrey, 2010).

Technological fluency is determined by intellectual ability, interest, training and availability of technological facilities. Michigan Technological University is a technological hub. The University offers computer science degree (Michigan Technological University, 2012). This is an indication that several students are technologically fluent.

Furthermore the university offers basic programming courses to students who are pursuing degree programs other than Computer science. Most members of the community surrounding the university are not technologically fluent.

As mentioned earlier, technological fluency is determined by social culture, intellectual ability, training and interest. The professional community is diverse and has different technological needs. People in the information technology field are more technologically fluent than other professionals in this area.

To improve access to digital technology in Michigan Technological University and the surrounding areas, various measures should be put in place.

The university should install reliable internet enabled computers and other digital equipment in all facilities where they are required so that students and staff can access them easily (Blackmon, 2007). People living around Michigan Technological University, have an obligation to procure or visit facilities which have internet connections so that they can access digital media.

Since the level of technological literacy in Michigan Technological University is good, only few measures are required to improve it. The university should ensure that students and staff follow to the laid down curriculum.

Members of the community surrounding the university must ensure that children are exposed to digital training at early age. This will ensure that when students leave school, they are technologically literate (Barron et al. 2009).

According to Barron and others (2009), children with technological abilities should be identified early and then subjected to necessary training. Parents should play a key role in identifying and encouraging children with such abilities. College students should acquire basic digital fluency before joining labor market (Sardone, 2011). Colleges should also develop curriculums which ensure Information Technology is part of training.

Works Cited

Barron, Brigid, Martin Kennedy, Takeuchi Lori, and Fithin Rachel. “Parents as Learning Partners in the Development of Technological Fluency.” Formulation and Findings 1.2 (2009): 55-77. Print.

Blackmon, Samantha. “Cyber Conspiracy Theories? African American Students in the Computerized Writing Environment.” Labor, writing technologies, and the shaping of composition in the academy 1.1 (2007): 153-164. Print.

Gasser, Urs and Palfrey John. Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives. New York: Basic Books, 2010. Print.

Michigan Technological University. Michigan Tech Guide. Michigan: Michigan Technological University, 2012. Print.

Sardone, Nancy. “Developing Information Technology Fluency in College Students: An Investigation of Learning Environments and Learner Characteristics.” Journal of Information technology Education 10.1 (2011): 100-122. Print.

Williams, Kate. “Literacy and computer literacy: Analyzing the NRC’s ’Being Fluent with Information Technology.” Journal of Literacy and Technology 3.1 (2003): Print.

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