Over the past week I have been doing a lot of thinking about technology and how it is used within the classroom. When I was first exposed to computers in school, it was clear that there was a set computer time for learning basic skills. As technology has evolved schools are being forced to redefine how they wish technology to be used within the classroom and teacher responsibility.
Defining the Role of Technology:
Before considering how ICT outcomes should be assessed or who is responsible, a school must first come to an agreement on what the desired role for ICT is in the school. In his article What Difference Might and “S” Make? David Warlick debates whether teachers should be teaching computer applications (a set list of specific programs with specific targets) or computer application (the use and manipulation of computers in order to solve problems). The difference may seem subtle but has an immense impact on the way the school assesses the use of technology by students.
The ISTE NETS provides a framework for schools and teachers who would like their students to follow a computer application model. If we follow the ITSE NETS and the computer application model, then the use of technology no longer becomes limited to a specific class but instead can be used across all areas and become a natural extension to the teaching and learning process. However, I still believe that there needs to be a balance between learning how a set list of specific skills/programs and learning how to manipulate a variety of different programs. One must also keep in mind that some students will benefit from explicit instruction of new programs but others learn best through their own experimentation. But who might responsible for technology education in this model?
Who is responsible?
In short everyone needs to be responsible for technology education. There needs to be a balance between having a class to learn a specific program and allowing technology integration across all curricular areas. For example a teacher may need to set aside a specific class to teach students how to use a specific program, application, or skill. However, many of the programs, applications, and skills that are being taught can be used in a variety of curricular areas. For example if I teach my students how to make a movie and export it, another subject teacher could easily make use of this skill within their class. Thus allowing technology to become a natural part of the learning experience that is no longer just reserved for technology classes. For this to work effective communication, collaboration, and an educational technology expert who can help all parties see the big picture with the students are necessary.
In my ideal world the technology guide would work with teachers across grade levels and subjects to ensure that students are provided opportunities to meet the ISTE NETs, as well as ensuring that technology is viewed as a tool to help students learn and to create in a variety of settings. The technology guide would help teachers learn new technologies as well assist them with creating age appropriate learning experiences and assessments. The technology guide would also monitor overall implementation of the ISTE NETs through curriculum mapping of the overall program and records from their own classes.
In this post I discussed the idea that everyone needs to be responsible for teaching technology outcomes, whether they are the ISTE NETs or another curriculum (Journey On is the curriculum guide at my current school). In my next post I will provide some practical ideas to help schools ensure that students are meeting technology outcomes within an integrated model.
Students Working on class assignment in computer lab by Extra Ketchup found on Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed
Two equestrian riders, girls on horseback, in low tide reflections on serene Morro Strand Straight Beach by mikebaird found on Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed
ISTE CEO Don Knezek Discusses the NETs uploaded onto YouTube by istevideos