Educational Technology-ISTE NETS

Over the last several decades there has been a serious push by the education community for increased technology integration. Technology integration refers to providing students with the best technological tool that will allow them to learn through analysis, evaluation, and creation, while presenting their work in an organized and professional manner. Integration of technology enhances learning, but to accomplish this requires that educators have technological pedagogical content knowledge. Their skills in use of technology, knowledge of their content, and pedagogical knowledge, must be interwoven in order to effectively combine the strengths of all three forms of knowledge.

In order to assist educators in technology integration, and development of technological pedagogical content knowledge, the International Society for Teacher Integration (ISTE) compiled a list of National Education Technology Standards (NETS). Standards were created for students, teachers, administrators and technology facilitators and leaders. Below I offer my own understanding of ISTE's educational standards for teachers while discussing my vision of integrating technology in the classroom and supporting digital age learners.

1. Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity

"Teachers use their knowledge of subject matter, teaching and learning, and technology to facilitate experiences that advance student learning, creativity, and innovation in both face-to-face and virtual environments."

It is integral that teachers successfully combine content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and technological knowledge into instruction. Though they are three different skills sets, they each need to be developed together in order to teach successfully. Use of technology should be a natural instructional tool in the classroom. Technology, like a graphic organizer or worksheet is a tool that seeks to enhance learning. Technology advances creativity when students have the opportunity to podcast, or create a short story using imovie or photo story. Students no longer need to be in the physical classroom to interact. Blogs and discussion boards moderated by teachers create virtual environments that act as mediums for discussion and interaction.

2. Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments

"Teachers design, develop, and evaluate authentic learning experiences and assessment incorporating contemporary tools and resources to maximize content learning in context and to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes identified in the NETS for students."

Authentic learning takes place when students take ownership of what and how they learn. I believe that teachers should allow students to work with all technological tools available, from computers, to document cameras. Digital-age learners pick up on technology at an alarming rate. Once they have the skills to use technology, they can determine what the most appropriate tool is to complete an assignment. Just as teachers choose the most appropriate technology to enhance learning, students can and should have the opportunity to choose a tool that maximizes content learning.

3. Model Digital-Age Work and Learning

"Teachers exhibit knowledge, skills, and work processes representative of an innovative professional in a global and digital society."

Teachers cannot expect students to grow in technological literacy and learning if we do not serve as models. Teachers should demonstrate proper use of technology and introduce available tools to students. Students will not value technological tools if their teacher does not show competency in their use and application. Students know if a teacher is passionate about their subject, and they can certainly tell if their teacher is passionate for integrating technology.

As a student, I would not want a math teacher that cannot do algebra. In the same respect, if a teacher teaching technology skills, they should have technological pedagogical knowledge. As a teacher I will never ask my students to do something that I would not or could not do. When introducing a new tool, I will demonstrate my experience and knowledge of the tool whether it be podcasting, graphic organizers, or streaming videos. To introduce the topic of the French Revolution, and "hook" students, I created a photo story presentation. Short, and simple, it demonstrates an effective tool that students can learn to use for themselves.

Introduction to the French Revolution FrenchRevolution.wmv

4. Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility

"Teachers understand local and global societal issues and responsibilities in an evolving digital culture and exhibit legal and ethical behavior in their professional practices."

Technology is a wonderful tool but it requires that teachers educate students in appropriate use. It is our responsibility as teachers to teach students about responsible social interactions, as well as safe, legal, and ethical use of digital information. To do so requires more than a few words about internet safety and plagiarism on the first day of class.

House bill 58 of the Virginia General Assembly requires that school divisions require a component on Internet safety for students that is integrated in a division's instructional program. Likewise, Congress passed the Children's Internet Protection Act to prevent offensive Internet content on school computers. Whether I teach in the Commonwealth of Virginia, or anywhere in the United States, I will not forget my legal responsibility to protect my students.

To protect my students I will enact several safety measures including educating them on dangers and risks associated with technology and the Internet. For one, I will not post pictures of students, their names, addresses or personal information to public spaces. Classroom portals will be password protected, and work will not be displayed unless it is anonymous and permission to display student work has been obtained form students and parents. To foster digital citizenship and responsibility, I will model fair use each opportunity I have. Whenever I use an article, image, or video in class, I will always supply a reference. I will also adhere strictly to copyright laws. As a role model to students I would be doing a disservice to ever use videos, images, software, text, or any material with a copyright that requires permission.

I plan on teaching students and parents about the dangers on the internet. Online risks include explicit images, sexual predators, harassment, cyber-bullying, and identify theft to name a few. Websites such as Netsmartz, and Microsoft provide resources to teachers, students and parents for Internet safety. Due to the responsibility I have to my students' safety, I will take every opportunity available to address safety and appropriate use. Remaining aware of the law, my legal responsibility, and following the guidelines of the resources below, I hope to successfully and safely integrate technology.

Virginia Center for School Safety
Family Internet Safety

5. Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership

"Teachers continuously improve their professional practice, model lifelong learning, and exhibit leadership in their school and professional community by promoting and demonstrating the effective use of digital tools and resources."

Learning is a priority of being a teacher. As reflective practitioners we must always be reexamining our content, methods, and practices to be successful. Such professional growth is becoming increasingly important in regards to technology. Technology changes at a rate that can hardly be measured. Students today are being trained for tools and technology that do not even exist yet. As teachers we must stay ahead of the curve, and not be swept up in the digital divide. That means we must continue to learn new tools for integration, and model that learning to students. Membership to the Virgina Society for Technology in Education (VSTE) offers members professional development through conferences, course, discussions, grants, and publications.

Teachers should never forget the resources available within their own school and classroom. We benefit from professional relationships with media specialists and Instructional Technology Resource Teachers. We can also learn a lot from our students. Chances are, they will be exposed to technology before we are. Allowing them to share their expertise with you and the class builds a strong relationship with the student, gives them confidence, and lets you in on some new skills.