Educators who are struggling to integrate required curriculum standards with the new technology their schools are installing at breakneck speeds found a comprehensive resource at their fingertips the first of the year.

On Nov. 18, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) held a briefing to announce the first publication in a series resulting from its National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) project.

The new publication, “NETS for Students: Connecting Curriculum and Technology,” provides 373 pages of classroom tools and lesson plans to help teachers meet and exceed the basic technology standards established through the NETS project. The book is the result of a collaboration between more than 2,000 educators who wrote, tested, and revised the learning activities.

“Our educational system must support technology-capable kids,” said NETS program director Lajeane Thomas. “Despite the new sets of standards in this country, technology has not been addressed until now.”

“Connecting Curriculum and Technology” is the second phase of a four-part plan to provide educators with the tools they need to implement technology through standards-based learning, according to Thomas.

The first step was the creation of a set of National Education Technology Standards (NETS), released by ISTE in 1998.

The just-unveiled second phase, “Connecting Curriculum and Technology,” provides lesson plans that are organized by NETS standards but linked to content standards, so teachers can meet math, science, and social studies standards—to name just a few—while simultaneously meeting ISTE’s technology standards.

The third phase in ISTE’s plan is to establish a national forum to define standards for teachers, so teachers can receive the training they’ll need to integrate the technology and curriculum standards in their classrooms.

Finally, ISTE hopes to identify assessments and evaluations that will allow education leaders to determine if America’s investment in technology is really paying off.

“Connecting Curriculum and Technology” expands upon the NETS standards by providing educators with profiles for technology-literate students, which can help teachers recognize the technology skill levels of their own students by giving them scenarios to illustrate what is meant by proficiency at each grade level.

The book also provides an extensive list of lesson plan ideas for integrating technology into the subjects of language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies, and it divides these lists into skill levels for grades pre-K through 2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12.

Thomas Carroll, director of the U.S. Department of Education’s Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers to Use Technology grant program, emphasized the importance of programs such as NETS, which create a yardstick for measuring the progress of technology education in schools.

“This is an investment comparable to what we invested in the 1960s in the space program. It’s like launching a rocket in education. Now we must teach educators how to fly this rocket,” he said. “We’ve built an infrastructure, and now we must learn to use it. It’s like the Wright brothers. They built the plane first, and then had to figure out how to fly it. The “Connecting Curriculum and Technology” book is our flight manual.”

ISTE seeks to promote the use of information technology to support and improve learning, teaching, and administration in K-12 education. The group provides an interactive forum for national and international dialogue concerning the appropriate use of technology in education.

Copies of the new book, “NETS Standards for Students: Connecting Curriculum and Technology,” can be obtained through ISTE for $26.95 (ISTE members) or $29.95 (non-members) by sending an order form to ISTE, 480 Charnelton Street, Eugene, OR 97401-2626, or by calling (800) 336-5191.

U.S. Department of Education
http://www.ed.gov

International Society for Technology in Education
http://www.iste.org