Curriculum and the ISTE Standards for Students

standards-header-circleAs we update our draft technology plan with input from the various stakeholder groups around campus, I have been working through ideas for aligning our curriculum to the new ISTE Standards for Students. Our IT working group has informally adopted these standards for our school and our draft plan contains the first written reference to the standards and also the action steps to begin the curricular alignment, yet there has been no direct work with the faculty until now.

Yesterday I had the opporunity to present the ISTE Standards for Students to the Middle School and High School faculty. My colleague John Iglar and I introduced the standards with a matching activity: Working in table group, teachers matched four-item clusters of performance indicators to their standards, which we presented on colorful paper.

The indicators were then glued to the papers for the next activity. John shared a series of teaching and learning scenarios and asked teachers to suggest which standard or standards were being addressed. The ensuing discussion was lively as teacher held up the colorful papers (“Red for Standard 1!”) and we suggested additional alignment possibilities.

The final activity was an “exit ticket” to check for general understanding of the ISTE Standards for Students and to introduce the idea of aligning current units or lessons. Teachers we directed to a simple Google form and were asked to submit the name or description of a current unit or lesson and then check the standard or standards to which that learning activity could be aligned.

After the teachers had been dismissed to move on to their next activity I crunched the numbers from the exit ticket activity. (Actually, Google Sheets crunched the numbers for me with its Explore tool.) I was pleasantly surprised to find that this brief overview of “what’s out there already” revealed a basic level of alignment to the standards already.

While this was by no means a complete gap analysis, it shows that our teachers are already creating the kinds of teaching and learning opportunities that will make future alignment activities less stressful than I had envisioned. Aligning the written, garanteed curriculum to the ISTE Standards for Students is in our school’s future and on my plate as a member of the Office of Teaching and Learning and we are ready to begin this exciting work soon.

Please have a look at my write up of the activities and the data from our teachers by clicking on the link below. Questions and comments always welcome!

Source: ISTE Standards for Students

The 2011 K-12 Horizon Report: Too optimistic? | Dangerously Irrelevant | Big Think

Ouch! Scott McLeod pulls no punches in this response to the 2011 K-12 Horizon Report. He echoes Gary Stager’s assertion that most technology growth is replicative in nature: SmartBoards replicating chalkboards, clickers/responders replicating multiple-choice quizzes, teacher-selected YouTube clips replicating filmstrips and VHS tapes. Even Moodle takes a hit as he claims that it is simply another environment created and controlled by teachers. (True, too.)

He laments the missed opportunities of new and emerging technologies: “We still have too many teachers who have no clue what Google Docs or Twitter are, for example. We still have too many administrators who are blocking mobile learning devices and are fearful of online learning spaces.” 

This parallels so many conversations I have been having recently with colleagues and articles I have been reading online about the disparate expectations that Millennials, Gen-Xers, and Boomers have regarding technology, education and daily life…perhaps this will be fodder for a future post here on MSIT Next.

The 2011 K-12 Horizon Report: Too optimistic? | Dangerously Irrelevant | Big Think

Adjusting the Prescription | The University of Virginia Magazine

One of the great things about our job is that we are often consulted about new and interesting ideas from The Great Beyond. This week the three of us were sent a link to an article in the online University of Virginia Magazine and asked to share our responses.

While it would be tempting at first blush to read this article as an endorsement of the “shiny, new things” approach to innovation, it actually presents a fascinating look at curricular re-imagining for this university medical school program. The photos seem to showcase the technology/tools (large screens, round tables, student laptops, high-tech mannequins) but the real star of the show is the dramatic changes in teaching and learning styles (professors as guides and co-learners, students as researchers and constructors of knowledge).

Adjusting the Prescription | The University of Virginia Magazine