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Our Comic Strip explains why we do what we do (Open PDF version for printing)


Life forms on the earth about 3.4 billion years ago.

Complexity develops, and so does intelligence.

Tools offered survival advantage, so we used them (and showed our children how to use them).

Those adept at using tools flourished, and developed newer and better technology.


Technology lets us make better technology faster and faster.

It changes how we live.

It is part of our educational, career, political, and economic choices.

It changes us

(this started back when humans good with tools had a better shot at procreating)

and it can exterminate us



I donít know who discovered water, but it was not a fish

ó Marshall McLuhan



And, sure enough,

surrounded by technology,

humans rarely "discover" it.



Instead, we assume that
technology = computers

understanding = operating

(this is so wrong)

Operating computers is an important vocational skill, but it is not the technological literacy that enables us to make informed choices.


Technological literacy is critical thinking.  It is looking beyond the trees to see the forest

(or beyond the fish bowl to see the water)


It is asking questions such as,

"What are the costs and benefits?" or

"How do we evaluate this?"

More information = less privacy

More control = less freedom

(for example)


It is finding patterns that will be true for tomorrow's technology.


Technological literacy empowers a society to understand and evaluate technology so it can create an intentional future.



Out of concern that society makes choices, big and small, blind to the underlying technology, KnowledgeContext formed to teach how to think about technology.


How do humans understand and evaluate anything?  Our pedagogy and psychology experts gave us the structure of nine essential questions.

What patterns in technology do not change with time?  Our history and technology experts gave us patterns with stories to illustrate.


All this went into a classroom curriculum we call ICE-9 because it is based on 9 questions about the Identity, Change, and Evaluation of technology.


Technological literacy is what our curriculum gives to young people

(and our book gives to teachers, parents, and other adults)




8. What are its costs & benefits?

9. How do we evaluate it?




5. How does it change?

6. How does it change us?

7. How do we change it?




1. What is it?

2. Why do we use it?

3. Where does it come from?

4. How does it work?


 0. Introduction



View this comic strip in a PDF version for printing on two pages

(View PDF files with Adobe's free Acrobat reader.)



 2010 KnowledgeContext


Teaching Young People to Think About Technology