The technology coordinator, administrators and learning team(made up of department heads) at my school have been asking and are continuing to ask this same question. Our school just recently completed a WASC(Western Association of Schools and Colleges) reaccreditation. One of the recommendations for school improvement is to continue working on the integration of technology into the curriculum. Along with an intentional push at integration we are also looking at the need for grade level learning targets and how we might track what is being done. Like many other schools there is a lot of technology happening in many of the classrooms. However, there is not a coordinated effort to track what is already being done nor is there a scope and sequence.
This was our first year of technology integration in the elementary classrooms.We have used technology in the past, but we also had “computer class” where the students went for 30 minutes each week. We no longer have the class but we do have a technology facilitator who will come into the classroom and teach along side of the classroom teacher. One effort we have made in the elementary school to track what is being done is to set up a google doc where the teachers add how they have used technology in the classroom during the previous month. This is by no means exhaustive, it is a beginning. In May we will be looking at the information we’ve collected and use it as we plan for next year and encourage each other with what can be done. One thing I am very pleased about is all of the elementary classes have their own blog. Each teacher is using it in a slightly different way, but each teacher has been learning new technology along with the students.
I know that my class has been helter-skelter with what we have done with technology. Because of the Coetail classes I have done a lot, but I don’t feel it has been in a logical or consistent manner. I know the students have learned a lot and I have learned even more. For example, earlier in the year I registered with Storybird but never introduced it to my students. The other week we were Skyping with a class in Canada and the teacher and I decided to have the students write collaborative stories. Mrs. Watson asked if I had used Storybird. I had to admit although I had an account I had never used it. I quickly set up student accounts without really knowing what I was doing. I have been learning with the students. On Friday they did a second page of the collaborative story and today I gave them time to play around and create their own stories. It has been fun to watch the students in my class collaborate and help each other. They have asked, “How do I…?” And usually my answer is, “Try this and play around.” I really don’t know. We are waiting for our Canadian friends to add to the next page of the story.
So what does this mean in relationship to NETS standards? I think it is important for all teachers to know what the standards are for their school. If a school doesn’t have standards look at NETS and/or American Association of School Librarians. Then find ways to integrate those into the content. Do we need grade level learning targets? I’m not sure. I know I want to write down some ways to meet the standards, but with the constant change and new applications that are being created is it necessary to have targets written down?
Our school has adapted the NETS into the following standards:
- 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.