Technology integration is a buzzword that has been around the educational scene for over two decades now (pretty hard to believe). There continues to be an increased emphasis on essential skills and knowledge necessary for effective learning and productivity in the modern technological world. At the forefront of this discussion is the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and their NETS.
- Demonstrating creativity and innovation
- Communicating and collaborating
- Conducting research and using information
- Thinking critically, solving problems, and making decisions
- Using technology effectively and productively
But who should be teaching these standards to students? Is it the job of the computer teacher? The homeroom teacher? The librarian? A specialist? The PE teacher (probably not)?
Or can it be simpler than that? If a teacher assigns an activity/project/research focus and opens the floor for students to take risks in terms of the presentation of that material, will students on their own find the motivation to be creative, collaborative, technologically-savvy learners? Given what I have seen of students at the high school level, the answer is yes. Obviously, the more attention given to the variety of creative responses and the different modes of communicating through technology would increase the exposure that is so helpful in leading other students to explore and take risks on their own. This happens at the adult level as well…we see a tool that is being used, understand how that tool can aide our own particular learning, and modify it to meet our particular needs.
And to no one’s surprise, there is an industry growing around this recent emphasis. 21st Century Skills Assessment will help your school assess the technological skills of the teachers or students or administrators at any given institution.
It is my impression that, as usual, the kids are ahead of the curve on this one. We spend time trying to figure out how to assess their technological know-how, while they spend time rushing way ahead of us when it comes to the use of technology. This was brought home again to me last night while I was sitting at a nice Chinese restaurant having dinner with my wife. I received an email from my son, sent on his ipod. It said:
Attached to the email was a photo:
My hypochondriac daughter had noticed something on her finger, and somewhat alarmed, had turned to her younger-but-more-emotionally-stable brother for help. His response was immediate…”Let’s take a photo on my iPod and send it to dad. ”
How cool is that!
- Demonstrating creativity and innovation? Check
- Communicating and collaborating? Check
- Conducting research and using information? Check
- Thinking critically, solving problems, and making decisions? Check
- Using technology effectively and productively? Check
And the scary part? I never once showed him how to use his iPod for anything except moving music files from our computer to the device.