Teaching Technology Standards – Whose job is it?

This week for Coetail the question is: Whose job is it to teach the NETs standards to students and how do we ensure they are being met in an integrated model?

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.
As a classroom teacher I know that I have introduced some of these and some of them I have not yet introduced. Knowing what the standards are and knowing what we have done this year I know that next year I will start earlier and introduce things in a different order. I don’t think that having grade level learning targets to check off would necessarily help me. I do believe it is helpful to have teachers check in with a technology coordinator, a department chair or supervisor on how they are having students use technology in the classroom and to talk with the teachers in the grade level above and below.
Some other interesting reading on standards includes:
       What Difference Might One “S” Make?                                                                                                   Media Literacy/Core Subjects &21st Century Themes
So whose job do I think it is to teach technology standards? Every teacher who uses technology and expects their students to use technology needs to know the standards and be expected to teach them.
Is there one way to accomplish this? I don’t believe there is ever only one way to help students achieve their goals or for schools to achieve their goals.
What is the best way? I think most school are still searching and discussing how to integrate, track and achieve the standards.

9 thoughts on “Teaching Technology Standards – Whose job is it?

  1. Jean, I was hoping you would come up with some answers to the questions I have been asking :-).

  2. Dan,
    You’re a fast reader. Sorry I don’t have any answers just a lot of questions! This coming week I know we have some more interesting reading about SAMR and TACK, had a brief look at them on Saturday. I’ll let you know if I get any insights.

  3. Hi Jean,
    Thanks for your post! It was nice to read how things are going in the “tech” realm at another school. It is great that you have a tech facilitator who comes around to help out classes, that must be a big plus. We at TIS have access to good technology in the classroom but are solely responsible for implementing technology in the classroom. So as you mentioned, it can be a bit “helter skelter” depending on who is teaching and how the perceive the benefits of using technology for certain learning experiences. That is why I feel it is important to have admin support and in your case, admin support in the sense of an IT facilitator out and about helping classrooms.

    I can imagine though that not everyone is keen to have the support, am I correct? Thanks for sharing!

    • David,
      It has been great this year to have an IT facilitator. It is Grace, who is also in Coetail so we have had a lot of time to talk which has also been great. You’re right, everyone is at different places for what they are willing to try and how much help they want or ask for. But a lot has happened this year and I am confident next year will be even better.

  4. Jean – great post and a really honest appraisal of how technology is being integrated at your school. I totally agree with your last comment that schools are very much in the process of finding out what’s best for them. I think ultimately that’s how it’s going to end up – with schools using a technology learning process that is unique to the culture of the school and the demands of the teachers. Some will continue with the traditional technology lesson once or twice a week, whereas others will move towards a more collaborative and integrated model that your school (and YIS) is experimenting with. I don’t think there’s anything necessarily wrong with either model – at the end of the day it’s what makes the teachers most comfortable and helps them integrate technology most effectively.

  5. Hi, Jean,
    I feel the same way — I have learned a lot from COETAIL this year, and I have been trying the new techniques without knowing it (especially the technology part) and learning the new things along with the students.

    Your story, write collaborative stories with Mrs. Watson, reminds me that I have done the similar things in the past, but really in an old fashion way — using the snail mail (well…., it was about 10 years ago in the US).
    Good to know the new tools called “Storybird”, I will try and make an account later. Thanks for sharing your story.

    Quote from your blog above — Every teacher who uses technology and expects their students to use technology needs to know the standards and be expected to teach them.

    I agree — I am glad to be in the COETAIL course; I did not know much about the NETS standard before.
    Right now, I am teaching on-line (JP 105 college course) to the public HS students all over in PA, USA. My frustration is that each school has different policy and/or the rules. I am sure PA has a tech-state standard, but each school situation is different, and students tech skills are diverse.

    As an educator, it is important to know the NETS standard and teach the tech skills to the students as well as the subject/content.

    Have a good summer (^_^) See you again in Sep 2012 @ COETAIL/YIS

    • Reiko,

      Thank you for your comments. I have been stuck on week 3 of the present course for 4 weeks. I am presently in the States. My mother suffered a stroke on May 7th and passed away on June 1st. I arrived in the States on May 10th. I will be returning to Japan on June 7th. I really haven’t given technology much thought in the last month. I am looking forward to getting back to it.

      It is difficult working with various schools that have different policies, hang in there.

      Enjoy your summer. See you in Sep 2012(^_^)

  6. One of the things I love with technology is that students watch me learn in real time. They see that learning is messy and chaotic and that is okay. So while you figure out a system that works best for your school, I think you are on the right track to helping students learn through technology

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