ICT Literacy in the Information Age

ICT Literacy in the Information Age

Ritchie Macefield (Staffordshire University & MEFU Ltd., UK)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 6
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-845-1.ch050
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Abstract

The development of homosapien man can be classified into ages. These ages fundamentally affect the patterns of how humans work, play and interact. Some social anthropologists (e.g., Toffler & Toffler, 1994) have identified three such ages: agricultural, industrial, and information. Definitions of these ages are complex, and a detailed discussion of them lies outside the scope of this chapter, however, they can usefully be typified as follows: • The agricultural age affected us through systems geared to processing and distributing food. • The industrial age affected us through systems geared to processing and distributing energy; energy that is harnessed to provide large-scale travel and automation. • The information age affects us through systems for processing and distributing information. Therefore, in the Information Age many people will work and play exclusively using ICT systems and use this technology as a primary means of interacting with other people.
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Introduction

It is necessary to begin this thesis by briefly defining and discussing the ideas of the “information age” and “ICT literacy”.

The Information Age

The development of homosapien man can be classified into ages. These ages fundamentally affect the patterns of how humans work, play and interact. Some social anthropologists (e.g., Toffler & Toffler, 1994) have identified three such ages: agricultural, industrial, and information. Definitions of these ages are complex, and a detailed discussion of them lies outside the scope of this chapter, however, they can usefully be typified as follows:

  • The agricultural age affected us through systems geared to processing and distributing food.

  • The industrial age affected us through systems geared to processing and distributing energy; energy that is harnessed to provide large-scale travel and automation.

  • The information age affects us through systems for processing and distributing information.

Therefore, in the Information Age many people will work and play exclusively using ICT systems and use this technology as a primary means of interacting with other people.

According to Castells (1996) we are presently in a transitory period, which he terms “industrial-informational” whereby we are integrating the new (ICT) technology of the information age into systems that were conceived in the industrial age. It is this integration that gave rise to for example, computer integrated manufacturing (CIM), “fly by wire” aircraft, and “smart bombs”. However, present patterns of human behaviour remain generally similar to that of the industrial age and these will only shift significantly as we complete the transition into the information age. Such transitory periods are challenging for us because, in order to maintain social inclusion, we must fundamentally change our skills and mind sets to be compatible with the systems of the new age.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Literacy Acquisition Framework: A framework in which reading and writing (literacy) skills are learner that has the natural language grammar at its core.

Agricultural Age: A period in which human work, play, and interaction patterns are fundamentally affected by systems geared to the processing and distributing food.

General Transferable Skill: A skill that has application across disparate contexts and devices.

Natural Language Grammar: Generalized framework into which all natural languages can be mapped. Consists of lexicon, syntax, (rules) and semantics.

Information Age: A period in which human work, play, and interaction patterns are fundamentally affected by systems for processing and distributing information.

Age: A period of time that has unique and identifiable (systems of) technologies that fundamentally affect how humans work, play, and interact.

Pseudo Natural Language (PNL): A communication device (such as a graphical user interface) that is modelled within the natural language grammar (see Aitchison, 1999).

Learnacy: A general transferable skill that enables individuals to learn (faster and better) (Claxton, 1999). See “Learning how to learn” (Sein, Bostrom, & Olfman, 1999).

Industrial Age: A period in which human work, play, and interaction patterns are fundamentally affected by systems geared to processing and distributing energy; energy that is harnessed to provide large-scale travel and automation.

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