Whose job is it to teach the NET standards? The simple answer is everyone. If you teach kids, you should be teaching the NETs. That answer really gets to the heart of what the NET standards are all about. These standards are not some set of curriculum for a computer class; they are basic qualities we want students to excel in all their subjects. Standards one through four don’t even sound “techy.” What teacher doesn’t want their students to think critically and be creative? The real question here is how tech integration should work in our classrooms.
First, I think there needs to be some clarification. There seem to be some people who think that teaching the NET standards means that you are teaching kids how to use cool tech tools, and this is pretty far off the mark. If you read them, they clearly fall into a category of general educational goals. They act almost as a framework on which we can hang everything else we do. The key is to find tech tools that really help with fulfilling the standards.
And the tools don’t even need to be all that flashy. Recently, in my class, we have begun a group project where the kids are given a topic about ancient Egypt and they will be responsible for teaching this to the class. Along with their topic, I gave them some guiding questions to be answering in order to help steer their learning. The first thing each group did was open a Google doc and share it with all group members. They put the questions in there and began researching them and recording their notes on the Google doc. But here’s the cool part; I didn’t even mention to them the idea of doing the collaborative notes. They did it all on their own, because they recognize the power of being able to work in a collaborative environment; to be able to share notes and ideas not only while they are in my class, but when they are outside of me class as well.
It wasn’t flashy, for sure. Google docs seem almost dated now, but they were most definitely fulfilling NET standard #2, Communication and Collaboration. The real meaningful part for me was that the kids recognized that it was a better way of doing things without me having to prompt them. That really gets at the heart of the NET standards. These things are so universal that their value in th classroom should be apparent to everyone.