Wednesday, November 25, 2009

ISTE standards and some thoughts

If you have not read the new NETS for teachers and administrators, please take a look.

When I was reading through the list I wrote some notes to myself, the first being; Wow, high expectations for staff regarding digital competency (#4); how would one best implement teacher learning with everything else going on in the building?

My other thought was to wonder how to make implementation of these standards less threatening to teachers who would be considered at the emergent level in implementation. It is such a delicate balance between bringing people to the table and not overwhelming them with information so that they end up shutting down because they feel like such a failure at "all this newfangled stuff". We don't want them to dismiss these shifts as unimportant and not related to their jobs so they can just turn around and shut the door and keep teaching in the manner they have enjoyed for years where they have probably enjoyed success.

One thing I want to point out is that I don't believe it is only old teachers who would feel this way. Some older teachers would have the feeling I've just described above, but younger teachers are dealing with their own stresses; working on managing their new classrooms, time, curriculum, life changes and they can be just as easily overwhelmed with these expectations. We also can't just assume the younger teachers know how to effectively use technology just because they are digital natives.

I made big stars all over the Visionary Leadership portion for the Administrators; I believe that is the fundamental key to this whole she-bang. We can't make great strides without the support and understanding of our administration. I also starred "ensure effective practice in the study of technology and its infusion across the curriculum" (digital-age learning culture) as another key point.

I wonder; how are schools going to realistically integrate and achieve true success with these standards? Everyone's plates are overflowing and there is no easing up on anything else that I can see. To me, it seems like there are all these independent satellite think tanks scrambling to promote best practices in education; with data collection and reporting and standards and technology and funding and SIP and PLC and going green and safety and on and on and on and no one is getting everyone together to say- Hey! We all have things that need to be attended to in education. How can we expect this group of people to take all this on alone, in individual buildings/districts and without adequate support? How can we as educators support each other with all these initiatives because expecting schools to have success implementing all these expectations is rather daunting. We may want to run and hide, but we can't. Where is the collaborative effort? Joining and participating in online educational networks like NING and PLP is going to be key to our collaborative success. We need to embrace the idea that we are all in this together and together we can be strong. There should be no "Race to the Top" because we can't afford to have winners and losers among our American schoolchildren. We need to "Put Education First" in my humble opinion. (I plan to share that sentiment with Arne Duncan)

And then; what kind of work force would we honestly need to do all the business involved with educating children? Then that gets me on a whole other thinking topic about education on other countries and who is most successful and why are they successful; but I am going to leave that topic alone for today. I need to get cooking for tomorrow....

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