Every curricular area has a professional organization where teachers turn for leadership and support. As an English teacher, NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) was, and continues to be, a source that I turn to for ideas, practice and professional development. Upon moving into the role of TIS over four years ago, I often seek out research, strategies and additional resources from the International Society of Technology in Education (ISTE). What’s different about ISTE is the role that these resources and the organization can play in all classrooms, regardless of curricular area. Technology is no longer relegated to specific content areas and should not be seen as an add-on to the classroom, but rather is an integral part of what happens in the daily learning for students. We are rapidly approaching a time in the district where all classrooms have technology available and it’s use is a seamless part of student’s lives. To help move this goal forward, ISTE has created a set of standards for addressing the skills and competencies that students will need in their futures. Known as the National Educational Technology Standards (NETS), these standards are meant to give a foundation to the technology skills centered around finding creative solutions to authentic, real-world problems. Fitting well with the district mission, these standards are not meant to be an add-on to current instructional practices, but rather, an integral part of daily work meant to advance digital age learning.
- Creativity and Innovation – Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.
- Communication and Collaboration – Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.
- Research and Information Fluency – Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information.
- Critical Thinking, Problem Solving and Decision Making – Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources.
- Digital Citizenship – Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior.
- Technology Operations and Concepts – Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems and operations.
Notice that none of these standards are directly related to a specific software package or specific list of skills that students “need” as they move through life. Rather, these are concepts and ideas that will help students become the capable, curious and confident learners and give them the flexibility to navigate the world in which we are living. These are not lessons that you need to specifically plan, but they are an important part of modern classrooms.
On ISTE’s site, there is a great deal more information about the NETS and the role that they play in the classroom. Below are some links to specific pieces that may be of interest.
Essential Conditions – These are the necessary conditions to effectively leverage technology for learning as identified by ISTE.
Student Profiles – Broken out by age group, this page gives specific examples as to activities that might be used in the classroom.
PDF of NETS-S – This PDF has all the student NETS as well as performance indicators listed on a single page.
Parkway Technology Proficiencies – A list of “I can…” statements based on the student NETS with general ideas around using technology in the classroom.
Cross posted to NEM Friday Flyer