Technology standards (NETS standards at my school), should really be something bigger. It does not make sense that we would teach anyone how to use an application without context.
What I am really teaching kids is how to think; how to access reliable information, how to evaluate the validity of what they find, and how to share that information with an appropriate audience in new and creative ways. Overarching these thinking skills is respect, responsibility, honesty… the school’s Core Values. These Core Values translate to digital citizenship when my students are online. Why not just call it citizenship? It shouldn’t matter whether they are online or playing with each other on the swing set.
How I am really teaching is like a coach on the side. I am a facilitator. I guide their thinking – prompting and provoking. I have few answers that they can’t figure out as a community with internet access.
I would be put to shame if I was determined to teach my fourth graders how to use an iPad. They teach me the tools. I teach them how to think, problem solve, contribute, and search. I support, encourage, and provide opportunity in order to create independent, yet collaborative learners. Life long learners.
I know my school has adopted NETS standards for students and teachers, but it is rare that classroom teachers see them or use them. Next year when we move to a technology integration model I think it will be much more important for teachers to know the expectations for student learning and what is expected from them as professionals.
NETS for students, in my opinion, should be labeled “cross-curricular standards”. The themes we see in those standards stretch across all subject areas. They apply to technology use, our curriculum and the classroom community. I developed cross-curricular standards using AASL and NETS as part of my Masters course work. It made sense that way.
NETS for teachers is a useful tool to help teachers move themselves along the continuum toward being 21st Century instructors. I have come to realize that simply using technology in the classroom is old news. It is the way that we teach which needs to change and NETS can be a guide for that.
If you are still giving students information on a regular basis, please stop. Change your teaching style. Teach them to think about what is important to them. Teach them different ways to think about it (critical thinking, problem solving AND operations and concepts). Teach them how to access the world (research and information fluency). Teach them respect because there are people at the heart of everything we do (citizenship). Teach them to evaluate everything they see. Teach them to share as others have done with them (communication and collaboration). Teach them how to learn from mistakes. Teach them to celebrate their successes.