Tech Standards: Who Should Be Teaching Them Anyway?

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) works to ensure that technology is an integral part of the classroom experience, and also

“strives to ensure that technology improves learning and teaching to help more students achieve their full potential.”

Drawing from the ISTE‘s Educational Technology Standards for Students, The National Statements of Learning for Information and Communication Technologies from MCEETYA – Australia; and the ICT Student Expectations – Queensland Department of Education, my school’s Technology and Media Group drafted an Educational Technology Expectations document which identify

“the knowledge, understanding, ways of working, and skills that we expect students will develop from Nursery to Grade 12 as Educational Technologies are embedded in teaching and learning.”   

The ETE’s are described through five main organizers :  inquiring, creating, communicating, operating, and ethically using educational technology.  Keep in mind that this is in draft form only.

As teachers, we often struggle with time constraints when trying to make sure we have proper “coverage” of the detailed curricula that we are required to teach.  A key point that should be made straight away is that this document is not intended to be a technology curriculum.  It is a set of expectations designed for use within existing units. In our school, many innovative approaches to learning which incorporate technology already exist; therefore, there are benefits in the documentation of these innovations at each grade level.  These ETE’s will:

  1. create common language around technology and media literacy
  2. insure articulation from grade level to grade level
  3. assist teachers when developing, refining, and mapping units of study

Technology is a tool for learning.  While some discrete tech skills may need direct teaching, these ETE’s should be embedded within units as part of a mapped curriculum rather than in a 45-minute special “computer” class.  The Edutopia article, Why Integrate Technology into the Curriculum?:  The Reasons Are Many,  drives home this point.  Effective tech integration needs to occur across the curriculum in “ways that research shows deepen and enhance the learning process.”  Even though we sometimes need to instruct students in the operation of equipment and the use of applications, the ultimate goal of technology in education is a deeper and wider understanding of the concepts that we are currently teaching.

In looking back over this year, it’s evident to me that we’ve covered many of these ETE’s in the units that my students have completed.  For example, my LASS students recently created Book Broadcasts as part of an independent reading program.  Using MovieMaker, students were required to create a short movie about their book with the intended audience being potential readers.  They were to cover the main characters, the problem in the story, and their personal recommendation.  They either created their own content or used Creative Commons to find images and music for their broadcasts.  Once we published these to SchoolTube, students then created QR codes which they placed on the physical book.  For e-books on our library Kindles, we created a Google document which we shared with our librarian.  This code, when read by a free app on  a smart phone, will lead potential readers to the student’s video and will provide them with helpful information in deciding whether or not to read the book.  This learning activity covers 3 of the 5 organizers in our ETE’s:

  1. Creating –  design and create digital products for personal, class, or community use
  2. Communicating – incorporate online communication tools into real work situations
  3. Ethically using –  adhere to codes of practice and apply strategies to conform to intellectual property and copyright laws including identifying and acknowledging the owner/creator of digital sources and citing references

These tech standards, or ETE’s, are already integrated into the learning activities within each of our units.  The document itself will serve to be a very important resource for teachers as we continue to explore ways of organically incorporating technology as an enrichment tool for student learning.

Graphic Reference :  http://www.iste.org/standards/nets-for-students.aspx

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About Jamie

I am currently a middle school Language Arts and Social Studies teacher at The American School in Japan.
This entry was posted in COETAIL, NETS. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Tech Standards: Who Should Be Teaching Them Anyway?

  1. Chie Mizukoshi says:

    Thank you for sharing your school’s educational technology expectation, whose way I like in the sense that it is integrated within existing units, and it does not stand alone. Could it be expected under problem-based learning as project based learning or challenged based learning? I think the case of your school’s ETE could be flexible enough to be applied to both umbrellas.

    It is better for us to learn the technological tools, which are required to be mastered in order to pursue the purpose, which could be becoming for any kinds of professionals such as a designer, an engineer, a researcher, a physician, a teacher, and a composer. At the same time your school’s ETE shows us that the clear possible achievements students could probably learn eventually does not lose its school’s academic reflection on each student.

  2. Jamie says:

    Thanks, Chie, for reading the post! Yes, these ETE’s could be well integrated into Problem-Based Learning and/or Challenge-Based Learning activities. Thanks also for your comments regarding the document itself. I believe that it will prove to be a very useful resource for teachers. Like SAMR and TPACK it will help with the tech connection and integration in unit planning.

  3. esartguy says:

    Jaime, you made an interesting point in your post. I agree with you that tech standards are not curriculum. They are just guidelines to help teachers when they are using or integrating technology into their units of study. However, you and I have been lucky enough to be involved in Coetail this year. We have worked on bettering our understanding of educational technology and information literacy. We get this and have started to integrate new technologies into our classes. The results have been students who are more engaged in their learning.

    However, there are teachers in schools who don’t necessarily view it that way. They see these standards as another document they need to know and implement. They don’t understand it and ask the question “How will they ever get these done with their students”. Again it is that fear of the unknown and change that gets in the way.

    A lot of the fear can be eased with proper education and training for teachers Up to date training and education will lead to a more positive attitude and confidence. With that will come an ability to look at the tech standards in a different light and realize what they really are for. All this will help them understand that tech standards are meant to guide them and not to tell them what to do.

  4. Jamie says:

    Thanks, Carl, for your comment. Change in schools can be slow and sometimes painful for some. I agree that teachers need adequate support and training around tech integration and tech standards. CoETaIL has helped to alleviate a lot of my fears and has been a real change agent for me as a teacher. I liked your comment: “tech standards are meant to guide them and not tell them what to do.” Integration is key and the realization that these standards are not “add-on” curricular pieces is crucial.

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  6. Awesome! Your standards look a lot like ours at YIS too! It’s exciting to see how many ways you’ve already been implementing these standards in your classes this year! I really appreciate how important it is to identify and create a common language or expectations around technology use. It’s hard to “know what you don’t know” so having standards as a guideline for what teachers could (should?) be doing really helps open up that conversation. Well done!

  7. Naho Kikuchi says:

    Jamie,
    You have done so much with technology in your LA./SS class, and I bet you were the driving force for the integration of technology this year. I saw with my own eyes what my daughter learned in your class through her blog. Good job!
    I agree with you that “integration is key and the realization that these standards are not “add-on” curricular pieces is crucial” How do we make sure that realization takes place in our school? How should we even introduce our standards? Have you spoken with fellow MS teachers about the standards? I find myself afraid to even bring it up in ES in fear of overwhelming teachers, like Carl mentioned.
    Next year you will have students who have been exposed to MacBooks as well as iPads. I would be curious to find out if you feel like you need to do some things differently because of that, or it doen’t make any difference.

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