TCEA 2007: ISTE Standards Meeting Tuesday February 6 2007
I would not have gone to this session had it not been for my convention running buddy, soon-to-be DR Holly Weimar. It sounded boring, and as a rule, discussion of standards makes my head swim. Especially in early afternoon, when my spoiled noggin craves a nap. But she talked me into it. “We NEED to know this,” she said. “It’s FREE,” she said. Well, OK I thought, upon hearing my favorite four-letter-word-that-starts-with-F.” So we joined an ominously small gathering of folks in a large room filled with round tables. The paucity of attendants did nothing to dispel my notion that this was going to be boring. BUT IT WAS NOT! (I should add here that more people came in after we arrived, anyway).
My first clue that the meeting would not be dull was discovering that it would be a working session. I had just arrived at the convention center and had not read up on the event in the program, so I did not know this already. We were to be seated by our grade level interest: elementary, middle grades, or high school. Holly and I chose middle grades because that was the level at which we had both worked most recently in public school. Our colleagues at the table were district trainers, teachers, and technology specialists. They were an impressive group. One member had come all the way from
Our charge was to look at existing ISTE NETS and suggest how they should be updated. We were encouraged to either reword or even delete existing statements, and also add anything additional that we viewed as important. I confess to being in the dark at first, not even knowing what ISTE NETS stood for. Yes, of course I had heard of ISTE and knew it was an organization promoting technology, but had not really thought about what the initials meant. I was even more in the dark about the NETS. So I was tabula rasa regarding everything we covered. I learned the translation for the acronyms:
- ISTE stands for: International Society for Technology in Education.
- NETS: Stands for National Educational Technology Standards
Because these standards are so well crafted, they have been adopted by many states, including
In case you are similarly superficial in your understanding of ISTE, here is a self-description from their website:
“The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is the trusted source for professional development, knowledge generation, advocacy, and leadership for innovation. A nonprofit membership organization, ISTE provides leadership and service to improve teaching, learning, and school leadership by advancing the effective use of technology in PK–12 and teacher education. Home of the National Educational Technology Standards (NETS), the Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology (CARET), and the National Educational Computing Conference (NECC), ISTE represents more than 85,000 professionals worldwide. We support our members with information, networking opportunities, and guidance as they face the challenge of transforming education.” (http://www.iste.org/Template.cfm?Section=About_ISTEv)
First we had introductory remarks from ISTE’s leadership, CEO Don Knezek, Refresh Project Directors Lynn Nolan and Lajeane Thomas, and then we set to work discussing the standards. Our group was very congenial, but of course we were middle school folks. People who work with this age group have got to stick together! At first I was still leery that this was just an exercise, but came to realize that our suggestions were really important. They had had a similar meeting recently in
“Students demonstrate respect for intellectual property, including awareness of copyright and plagiarism issues by citing sources and producing original work.” I think it got tweaked a bit more but that is close. I got so excited that I brought out my virtual traveling companion, Nancy Pearl, Librarian Action Figure. When it came time to share, I got to present this new component and also introduce
As the meeting continued, a number of other suggestions were made. Some came out of the small groups, and some evolved from discussions offered when the group as a whole shared ideas. All the input was turned in at the end of the meeting, and I was sure by then that our voices had been heard. The meeting concluded with a photo op for Nancy Pearl with our presenters! Look for it to be posted soon. I am now looking forward to the completion and publication of the new, improved ISTE NETS.
If you would like to add your input or learn more about this project, go to this web site: http://cnets.iste.org
Hint: I went there this morning (Feb. 13) and it was down. I am sure they are revising and will revisit and you should too. In my mind I am thinking…maybe right this minute they are adding my idea!