Since I have started this blog in the summertime, I figured it would be appropriate to start discussing, thinking about and planning for the coming school year. As such, this post will focus on planning curriculum, projects and lessons that are aligned with technology standards.
Whether you are a veteran teacher who is comfortable integrating technology into your lessons, a new teacher just starting out or a mid-career teacher wanting to start integrating more technology into your lessons (or any mixture of the above), the first place to start is the National Educational Technology Standards for Students (NETS*S) developed by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). These standards are a great framework for planning lessons and projects that combine technology literacy with academic standards and critical thinking skills.
The NETS Standards can be found on ISTE's website and also through their new mobile app for the iPhone. There are NETS for Students, Teachers and Administrators. It is a good idea to peruse the Teacher Standards to see how you 'measure up.' The NETS*S are broken up into six strands:
- Creativity and Innovation
- Communication and Collaboration
- Research and Information Fluency
- Critical Thinking, Problem Solving and Decision Making
- Digital Citizenship
- Technology Operations and Concepts
These strands include skills and concepts that you are hopefully already addressing in your classroom, thought they stress how technology will aid you in addressing these standards.
For example, if your students are writing stories, you can tie your project into the sixth strand by having your students choose how they want to tell their stories (i.e. VoiceThread, Comic Life, word processing, video). In addition, you are tying into the first strand by allowing your students to create original works as a means of personal expression. This project can also be tied to the second strand if you begin to incorporate social media or allow your students to post their work online and allow for others to view it and comment on it. Should you allow your students to work in teams or groups and collaborate using tools like Google Docs or a wiki, you have also tied into the second strand. Guiding your students through proper etiquette when posting and commenting on work will tie your lesson directly to the fifth strand.
By incorporating the NETS*S into your lessons you will be forced to look at your teaching differently as well as your students' learning process. I personally believe that learning for many students is social. In addition, purpose for learning is vital for student understanding and critical thinking. By incorporating tools into your teaching that allow students to contribute meaningful, personal work to the 'real world' and share their work with more than just the teacher, you can transform your teaching. This is how we really should be thinking about technology integration. Of course it will change what you do and how you do it, but think about how you can transform what you teach and how you teach. Just having students type an essay in a word processing application will not do much to change what you are teaching or what they are learning.
So as you prepare for this coming year, pull out a few ideas you have or a few lessons you've found successful and begin to analyze them through the filter of the NETS*S. Consider what you can do to incorporate them and consider how this incorporation can transform the lesson itself.