Change and complexity are creating a need for increasing levels of literacy in science and technology. Presently, we are beginning to provide students with clear contexts in which to learn, including clearly written text, visual displays and maps, and more effective instruction. We are also beginning to give students tools that promote their own literacy by helping them to interact with the learning context. These tools include peer-group skills as well as strategies to analyze text and to indicate comprehension by way of text summaries and concept maps. Even with these tools, more appears to be needed. Disparate backgrounds and languages interfere with the comprehension and the sharing of knowledge. To meet this need, two new tools are proposed. The first tool fractures language ontologically, giving all learners who use it a language to talk about what has, and what has not, been uttered in text or talk about the world. The second fractures language epistemologically, giving those involved in working with text or on the world around them a way to talk about what they have done and what remains to be done. Together, these tools operate as a two- tiered knowledge representation of knowledge. This representation promotes both an individual meta-cognitive and a social meta-cognitive approach to what is known and to what is not known, both ontologically and epistemologically. Two hypotheses guide the presentation: If the tools are taught during early childhood, children will be prepared to master science and technology content. If the tools are used by both students and those who design and deliver instruction, the learning of such content will be accelerated.
SpringerLink - Journal of Science Education and Technology, Volume 16, Number 2