Basic technoliteracy involves learning how to use and socially manage the wide range of tools and material artifacts that are fashioned by humanity to modify the natural environment in order to meet people's perceived wants and needs. Historically, this functional form of technoliteracy has been more narrowly conceived as the proper domain of public schools' vocational programs, such as delivered in home economics courses concerned with the proper use of household technologies; shop-floor courses that teach carpentry, metalwork, and the manipulation of automotive repair tools; and typewriting, word-processing, and computer-programming courses designed to familiarize students with various professional office machines.

Since John Dewey's Democracy and Education (1916), however, theorists of educational foundations have maintained critiques of the curricular attempt to reduce technoliteracy to such functional and ...

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