The development and validation of an instrument — the Technological Profile Inventory — to determine students’ levels of technological literacy in South Africa

Conference Paper


Permanent link to this Item
Journal Title
Link to Journal
Journal ISSN
Volume Title

International Association of Technology, Education and Development


University of Cape Town


4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation

In this article we describe the development and validation of an instrument – the technological profile inventory (TPI). The instrument can be used to determine students’ level of technological literacy. The items used in the TPI were drawn from a previous study (Collier-Reed, 2006) and were based on a rigorous qualitative analysis of interview data which was in turn informed by categories that emerged from a phenomenographic analysis. Data were collected from four groups of students, three groups of first year students at university Engineering (167), Commerce (65), Arts (218), and one group of high school students (179). The students’ responses to the TPI were subjected to exploratory factor analysis and Cronbach alpha testing, as well as a one-way multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA). The result of the analysis was a modified version of the TPI where the data were found to be reliable and valid. The significant factors that defined the ‘nature of technology’ were found to be the view of technology as either an Artefact or related to a Process, while those constituting ‘interaction with technological artefacts’ were Direction/Instruction and Tinkering. A cohort analysis suggests Engineering students are statistically more likely to view technology as a process and interact with technological artefacts with less fear and more likely through self-initiation (Tinkering) – a more advanced technologically literate position. On the other hand the Arts students are more likely to expect direction or instruction from an authority figure (Direction/Instruction) when interacting with a technological artefact - a less technologically literate position. Further work involves determining how to meaningfully combine the scores achieved by an individual completing the TPI to ultimately determine a score indicative of their applicable level of technological literacy.