Sunday, November 15, 2009

Now How?

In my previous blog post I stated who I thought was responsible for teaching students technology and information literacy standards so now it's time to let you know how I think it might be done.

I think that in order for schools and teachers to even attempt to ensure that their students are learning what they need when it comes to Technology and Information Literacy they need to:

1. Create and maintain an atmosphere of safety where students and teachers are encouraged and willing to take chances and try new things.
2. Develop a clear set of standards so that everyone has the same understanding of the expectations.
4. Make the technology and information literacy content or skills meaningful and useful for teachers and students.
5. Seek and provide constant and current training and support for teachers and school personnel in an attempt to keep up with the rapid changes in technology.
6. Provide extra support for those teachers that are trying to catch up to the technological knowledge and skills that their students may already have.
7. Provide students with a variety hardware and software items so that they can use the best tools for the job they are doing.

So that's it in my humble opinion.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

It Starts At the Top

We were asked: Whose job is it to teach the NETs and AASL standards to students?

I believe that it is a school’s job to insure that students are experiencing and benefiting from the standards. But, when I us the word “school” I am talking about the entire school community - the school board, the administration, curriculum coaches and specialists, the classroom teachers, the support teachers, the specialist teachers, instructional assistants, parent organizations and committees, and anyone else who has a hand in what happens at a school.

I believe that before a school’s instructional staff can teach the NET’s and AASL standards to its students, the governing board and administrators at the school needs to give the teachers the training, tools, and most of all the prep-time to be able to do it correctly.

The members of our COTAIL courses are voluntarily trying to get the training that we need and want but, what about all of the other staff members that need it and rightfully don’t want to give up their “own time”. Whose responsibility is it to ensure that school personnel have the understandings, skill sets, and time that they need to teach and meet the standards?

Schools also need to be willing to provide the tools that are needed. It isn’t enough to have a variety of tools. Schools must have an abundance of those tools. So that teachers have them when they need them. A teacher’s instructional schedule should not be held hostage by the availability of the tools they need to get the job done. Schedules are already dictated too heavily by bus schedules, playground schedules, cafeteria schedules, special classes, support staff schedules, etc. Along with the printed teaching resources that are given to teachers to keep at their fingertips in the classroom, there should be a set of tech tools that are issued to every teacher or in the very least to each grade level and department so that they have them when they need them.

O.k. I have put enough of the burden on schools. There are parts of the standards that must be delivered and monitored by both the school and the parents. Those are the parts that deal with online responsibility. Including etiquette, safety, and respect for others online. At my own home we have recently had a few conversations about appropriate and inappropriate content of one’s Face Book Page. Needless to say there was some un-joining of groups and some deleting of posted comments. Schools can only deliver that message and teach what it means parents need to be the monitors and reinforces when students are away from school.

So in my humble opinion the responsibility for teaching the NET’s and AASL standards to the students belongs to schools but needs to start at the top.