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21st Century Skills - Technology Literacy


Each Iowa student will be empowered with the technological knowledge and skills to learn effectively and live productively.

This vision, developed by the Iowa Core Curriculum 21st Century Skills Committee, reflects the fact that Iowans in the 21st century live in a global environment marked by a high use of technology, giving citizens and workers the ability to collaborate and make individual contributions as never before. Iowa's students live in a media-suffused environment, marked by access to an abundance of information and rapidly changing technological tools useful for critical thinking and problem solving processes. Therefore, technological literacy supports preparation of students as global citizens capable of self-directed learning in preparation for an ever-changing world.

Regardless of current realities, literacy in any context is defined as the ability " access, manage, integrate, evaluate, and create information in order to function in a knowledge society..." (ICT Literacy Panel, 2002) "....When we teach only for facts ... (specifics)... rather than for how to go beyond facts, we teach students how to get out of date." (Sternberg, 2008) This statement is particularly significant when applied to technology literacy. The Iowa essential concepts for technology literacy reflect broad, universal processes and skills.

Although it is important that current technologies be integrated into all teachers' classroom practices and all students' experiences, it is also important to understand the broader implications of the transforming influence of technology on society. For example, creativity, innovation and systemic thinking are requirements for success in this environment. Technology is changing the way we think about and do our work. It has changed our relationships with information and given us access to resources, economic and professional, that were unimaginable just a few years ago

Technological advances also present societal challenges. It is essential that students have a deep understanding of technology literacy concepts in order to deal with technology's challenges and implications. It is also essential that educators partner with " natives"..., teaching ways to mediate the challenges, and to realize the potential of technology literacy. (Palfrey and Gasser, 2008)


Kindergarten-Grade 2

Essential Concepts and/or Skills

Use technology to create projects, identify patterns, and make predictions

  • Use a variety of digital tools and media-rich resources to create projects.
  • Use technology to illustrate and communicate original ideas related to curriculum content.
  • Create multimedia products with support from teachers, family members, and/or student partners for the purpose of display, publication and/or performance. 
  • Use technology resources to identify problems, help recognize and describe patterns, make predictions and/or propose solutions.

Use a variety of technology tools and media-rich resources to work collaboratively with others

  • In a collaborative work group, use a variety of technologies to produce a digital presentation or product in a curriculum area.
  • Use technology resources for communicating and sharing ideas with others.
  • Participate in learning activities with or about learners from other countries and/or cultures.

Utilize predetermined digital resources and tools to answer questions or solve problems

  • Follow a plan of action to guide inquiry by using predetermined digital resources.
  • Locate and organize information from a variety of sources and media.
  • Review provided resources, explain why they are or are not useful, and use information appropriately.
  • Identify, read, and report data from charts, graphs, and other sources.

Use technological resources to investigate given questions or problems

  • Use a variety of technology resources to explore questions or problems.
  • Use technology to decide what information to locate and how to use that information to complete a project.
  • Collect and explain data to identify commonalities or solutions to problems.
  • Explore the different ways that problems may be solved.

Understand and practice appropriate and safe uses of technology

  • Understand that stealing information and things others have created is the same as stealing tangible items.
  • Be aware of why it is unsafe for students to provide others with information about themselves.
  • Demonstrate awareness of the importance of communicating with adults about things that might concern them.
  • Understand why technology is useful in helping them complete a task.
  • Use technology to explore personal interests.
  • Demonstrate to others how to use technology tools in ways that assist, rather than prevent, others from learning.

Understand basic technology hardware and software and their application

  • Choose the most appropriate technology tool for a given task.
  • Demonstrate a basic knowledge of how technology is supposed to function and know when it is not working properly.
  • Know when to seek adult assistance for technology problems.
  • Explore new technologies using existing skills and knowledge.


Grade 3-5

Essential Concepts and/or Skills

Use technology resources to create original products, identify patterns and problems, make predictions, and propose solutions

  • Demonstrate creative thinking to generate new ideas and products using a variety of technology tools and resources.
  • Create and share new ideas, products, and processes related to curriculum content.
  • Work individually and collaboratively to create, display, publish, or perform media-rich products.
  • Use models and simulations to identify problems and propose solutions.
  • Use technology resources to gather and depict data, recognize trends, and project outcomes.

Use interactive technologies in a collaborative group to produce digital presentations or products in a curricular area

  • Use a variety of technology tools to work collaboratively with others inside and outside the classroom.
  • Use telecommunication tools efficiently to communicate information and ideas to multiple audiences.
  • Access remote information using technology.
  • Engage in learning activities with learners from other countries and/or cultures
  • Appropriately contribute to project teams to produce original works or solve problems using technology.

Utilize digital tools and resources to investigate real-world issues, answer questions, or solve problems

  • Create a plan or process that utilizes digital tools and resources to investigate and answer issues, questions, or problems.
  • Locate, organize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media.
  • Access information for specific purposes, and assess the validity of the information source.
  • Identify, select, and organize data. Discuss and describe the results.

Use technological resources to develop and refine questions for investigation

  • Choosing from a variety of real-world issues and/or problems, use technological resources to develop and refine questions for investigation.
  • Use technological resources to conduct research and complete a project.
  • Identify trends or solutions or assist students in making decisions.
  • Identify and explore diverse perspectives and processes to find multiple solutions to problems.

Understand and practice appropriate, legal, and safe uses of technology for lifelong learning

  • Demonstrate awareness of the dangers of sharing personal information with others.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of what electronic theft and plagiarism are and why they are harmful.
  • Identify the positive values of using technology to accomplish tasks.
  • Use technology to explore and pursue personal interests.
  • Show others how to use new technologies, and use technology in a way that assists, rather than prevents, others from learning.

Understand technology hardware and software system operations and their application

  • Use everyday technology processes, hardware, and software
  • Select the most efficient and appropriate technology tool for a specific task.
  • Begin to identify the source of a problem with technology, and, if necessary, identify the appropriate support personnel.
  • Apply prior knowledge of technologies to new technologies.


Grade 6-8

Essential Concepts and/or Skills

Demonstrate creative thinking in the design and development of innovative technology products and problem solving

  • Design, develop, create, and/or test digital technology products.
  • Individually or collaboratively create media-rich products and display, publish, or perform them for a variety of audiences.
  • Use simulations to help understand complex, real-world systems, identify problems, develop models, and analyze the output.
  • Investigate global issues and make informed choices based on knowledge of technology systems, resources, and services.

Collaborate with peers, experts, and others using interactive technology

  • Interact and collaborate with peers, experts, and others using technology.
  • Contribute to a content knowledge base by creating, producing, and sharing information, models, and other creative works.
  • Efficiently use technology tools and resources for communication and to access remote information and exchange it with a variety of audiences.
  • Engage in learning activities with learners from other countries and/or cultures using telecommunication tools to create, produce, and share information, models, and other projects with a global or cultural focus.
  • Share knowledge and skills with local or distant teams of peers, experts, or others using technology tools and resources to create group works and/or innovative solutions.

Plan strategies utilizing digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information

  • Create a plan for the use of digital tools and resources to investigate a real-world issue.
  • Locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, and synthesize information from a variety of sources and media and use this information in a legal and ethical manner.
  • Evaluate resources in terms of their usefulness and validity for research.
  • Use technological tools to select data and organize it into a format that is easily understood by others.

Use critical thinking skills to conduct research, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate technological tools and resources

  • Identify real-world issues and analyze technological resources for developing and refining questions for investigation.
  • Effectively use multiple technological resources to develop a systematic plan for conducting research.  Develop possible solutions or a complete product to demonstrate knowledge and skills.
  • Use technology to gather, analyze, and assess data and its effectiveness to design, develop and test possible solutions that assist students in making decisions.
  • Analyze and evaluate information from a variety of perspectives and resources in order to assess multiple solutions and investigate them from differing viewpoints.

Understand the legal and ethical issues of technology as related to individuals, cultures, and societies

  • Use technology efficiently and in a manner that does not harm them or others.
  • Demonstrate awareness of legal and ethical responsibilities when using copyrighted material, and how a disregard of legal and ethical responsibilities affects others.
  • Use online resources to work with others to complete a task and accept responsibility for the results.
  • Identify capabilities of contemporary technology resources.
  • Develop examples of how technology systems and services can assist them in pursuing personal interests.

Understand the underlying structure and application of technology systems

  • Utilize technology for everyday use and understand how technology systems can be applied to various situations.
  • Select and use technology applications to conduct research, solve problems and produce finished products.
  • Identify the source of a problem with technology, and, if necessary, the appropriate support personnel needed.
  • Apply knowledge of technology to explore other technologies and be able to identify commonalities among them.


Grade 9-12

Essential Concepts and/or Skills

Demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.

Use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.

Apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information.

Demonstrate critical thinking skillsusing appropriate tools and resources to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems and make informed decisions.

Understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior.

Demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems and operations.

Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on April 17, 2014 at 2:34pm.