Profiles for technology-literate students

In 1998, ISTE released a set of technology standards for K-12 students—performance indicators that could be used as benchmarks to define “technology-literate” students at each grade level. The new ISTE publication expands upon these benchmarks by providing illustrations of classroom scenarios in which students demonstrate the desired skills.

For example, according to ISTE’s technology standards, prior to the completion of grade eight, students should be able to:

1. Apply strategies for identifying and solving routine hardware and software problems that occur during everyday use;

2. Demonstrate knowledge of current changes in information technologies and the effect those changes have on the workplace and society;

3. Exhibit legal and ethical behaviors when using information and technology, and discuss consequences of misuse;

4. Use content-specific tools, software, and simulations (e.g., environmental probes, graphing calculators, exploratory environments, web tools) to support learning and research;

5. Apply productivity/multimedia tools and peripherals to support personal productivity, group collaboration, and learning throughout the curriculum;

6. Design, develop, publish, and present products (e.g., web pages, videotapes) using technology resources that demonstrate and communicate curriculum concepts to audiences inside and outside the classroom;

7. Collaborate with peers, experts, and others using telecommunications and collaborative tools to investigate curriculum-related problems, issues, and information, and to develop solutions or products for audiences inside and outside the classroom;

8. Select and use appropriate tools and technology resources to accomplish a variety of tasks and solve problems;

9. Demonstrate an understanding of concepts underlying hardware, software, and connectivity, and of practical applications to learning and problem solving; and

10. Research and evaluate the accuracy, relevance, appropriateness, comprehensiveness, and bias of electronic information sources concerning real-world problems.

Here’s an illustration of a classroom scenario that meets performance indicators 4,5,6, and 7 from the above technology standards, taken from “Connecting Curriculum and Technology” (page 23):

“Lakeisha’s eighth-grade class began a unit on rocks and minerals. They explored topics using CD-ROM encyclopedias and stored the information they found and results from their laboratory sessions, including a week-long rock simulation program, in their databases. When their studies were complete, Mrs. Perkins helped the students create HyperStudio presentations to share with the class. After she found an internet site called ‘Ask a Geologist,’ Lakeisha and her classmates were able to eMail questions about rocks and minerals to the geologists who were sponsoring the site. Lakeisha and her friends were fascinated with the information they received on rocks and minerals in their native area. Lakeisha’s science teacher organized a local geologic dig to help students begin their own rock and mineral collections.”

Curriculum integration

In addition to profiling technology-literate students and classrooms, Connecting Curriculum and Technology provides an extensive list of lesson plan ideas for integrating technology into the curriculum, while at the same time meeting national standards for language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies classes.

Each lesson plan outlines the purpose, description, preparation, procedure, tools and resources, and methods of assessment to be used, as well as the national curriculum standards and NETS performance indicators the lesson will address.

In “Wall of Fame,” for example (pages 44-47), students in grades 3-5 locate, evaluate, and collect information and use a variety of media to communicate their ideas effectively:

1. To engage students, have them research several famous people from different times and cultures using a variety of web sites, electronic resources, and print reference works.

2. Students present their findings and reflect on what makes a person famous or great. At this stage, presentations can be created electronically or simply given as quick oral reports.

3. Based on the findings, develop class criteria for fame or greatness.

4. Working alone or in small groups, students select an individual biography to read. Students also look for information on their person using the web sites and electronic resources used in the first activity. Using the information they have located and their criteria for greatness, students determine the important aspects of the person’s life.

5. On a class Wall of Fame timeline, have students place pictures of their famous people in the most appropriate decades.

6. Have students discuss what a symbol is and how it can represent important characteristics of a person or place. Have students design a personal symbol for their famous person and add their symbols to the Wall of Fame timeline.

7. Students or groups develop a multimedia presentation on the famous person’s life to share with classmates, emphasizing characteristics and actions that make the person famous. Students can then evaluate each person presented using the agreed upon criteria for fame.