ISTE, NETS what are they all about? A few weeks ago I had never heard of ISTE or NETS. Standards, learning targets that’s all we’ve talked about the past few years at our school. We’ve spent a lot of time looking at various standards and then choosing to write our own most of the time. As department chairperson for the elementary division I have worked with our department on writing language arts and math grade level learning targets. We even wrote some learning targets for our Student Objectives that are listed on the elementary report card. Recently we revised our grade level bible learning targets. We still need to work on our grade level science and social studies learning targets. The technology learning targets were to be written by the technology department and taught by them too, right!?! Music, Art and Physical Education all worked that way.
Until this year our elementary students went to “computer class” once a week. Standards and learning targets for technology were someone else’s job. Last year the elementary principal talked to us about integrating technology into our classes. We were excited, I think, but really had no idea what we were getting into. In late spring, a good friend of mine, Vivian, mentioned the Coetail course to me. The elementary librarian at our school, Ruth had already been talking about attending. We were to get a “new” elementary technology facilitator, Grace so the two of us signed up too.
I’ve tried to use technology in my classroom in the past, but I must admit that it has been mostly as a consumer. Students could “listen to reading” with Bookflix, Storyline Online, Raz-kids, practice math with IXL and World Math Day. Last year the students got very excited when they were able to use an iPad for “listening to reading” and practicing kanji in Japanese class. None of these programs are bad, but I’ve realized there is so much more to technology in the classroom.
So, here we are 6 weeks into the Coetail course and about 6 weeks into the school year. Our goal in the elementary department at my school is to integrate technology into 3 units this year. What does that look like? What can/should we expect students be able to do? What are authentic assessments using technology? With no learning targets those are difficult questions. Our middle school has some technology standards and learning targets. They took NETS standards and rewrote them for our school. I like the standards they have written and they pretty closely follow NETS.
- Students create original digital products.
- Students apply technology to collaborate and communicate.
- Students research efficiently and effectively using reliable online resources.
- Students apply problem-solving strategies to organize content and complete projects.
- Students address current ethical and societal issues in the use of technology by applying a Christian world-view.
- Students demonstrate fundamental skills related to operational systems, input methods and software applications.
I understand these, but what do they mean in 2nd grade? How do I help the other classroom teachers decide what they mean in their classroom? When I looked at grade level learning targets for the middle school I didn’t see targets that students would necessarily carryover to other subjects. I saw a final project for a 9 week course. That’s not what I think NETS is about.
Reading a lot of different pages and articles on the ISTE website has been a great help. NETS for Students 2007 has been informative, but even more so is the Students 2007 Profiles. I’ve come up with some learning targets for 2nd grade, but continue to refine and tweak them. I’ve shared them with our elementary technology facilitator and our principal I guess my next step will be to share them with the technology co-ordinator and other elementary teachers. Will they work? I’m not sure, but I think so. I’ve found it especially helpful to have some type of learning target as I work on my final project for the Coetail course. I’ve also found it easier to find units that I want to integrate technology with as I have learning targets that I can think about. I can think of authentic assessments that will show students have understood the content and can use technology to show that understanding.
Should the NETS for Teachers be part of a teacher’s evaluation. Yes, but first of all teachers need training and then continued coaching in this area. Technology, Coaching and Community has very practical advice.