This is a question that pops up continually in discussions around technology in education. The ongoing debate about who’s job it is to make sure that the technology standards are being met is one that doesn’t have an answer that everyone can seem to agree on. I wrote a blog post earlier that touched on this a bit.
One of the interesting things that came up in our discussion was people in my group questioning whether or not we actually needed to have technology standards and benchmarks. We looked at ISTE’s NETS and also the AASL standards. Some individuals are wondering if this isn’t something that should just be inherent in an educator’s teaching. If a school’s philosophy is that technology is an integral part of a child’s learning, a teacher coming to work for that school should understand that and embrace it. The teacher would then incorporate technology into his/her teaching practice.
I agree that in an ideal world, this is what would be happening. There wouldn’t be a need to specify the standards and benchmarks necessary in technology. Yet, somehow I don’t think we are there yet. There are still educators that either have not ‘bought in’ to the idea of technology and/or don’t have the training or ability to teach their students the necessary skills. Until using technology becomes inherent in our teaching, I do think there is still a need to delineate exactly what the expectations are for students’ learning. Especially if we believe students having these technology skills is important to their success in further education and life.
So asking who’s job it is…knowing that realistically it is everyone’s job…how do we ensure that kids are coming out of school with the skills they need to be successful in today’s digitally connected, global society? I don’t think there is an easy and simple way to do this. I do think one way of attempting to make sure these skills are being taught is by creating (or adopting) standards and benchmarks that address these skills. I see these standards and benchmarks as being incorporated into the regular education classroom with the support of a technology facilitator. So for those teachers who are comfortable with integrating technology into their regular lessons, it’s an easy solution. For those teachers that need more support, they have a resource to turn to and ensure their students as well are learning the necessary skills for success (and hopefully the teachers are too!). We see schools hiring literacy coaches and math coaches to support their teachers, shouldn’t technology also be one of those areas that schools provide the necessary support to ensure kids are getting what they need?