Monday, August 27, 2012

Get Caught in the NETS!

Teachers Pay Teachers Storefront: Anna Colley  

Technology has the potential to change the way we teach and engage students. However, if teachers focus only on rudimentary skills, such as basic keyboarding and creating simple PowerPoints, students will not experience the full benefits of technology. The International Society for Technology in Education is prepared to help teachers move their technology-enhanced lessons to the next level with NETS: National Educational Technology Standards. Think of these standards as the common core for technology skills. They outline what students should be able to do with technology and what skills should be reinforced in classrooms. The standards also help educators benchmark themselves when using technology. Below is a brief rundown of the NETS for Students, called NETS-S.

Make It! Creativity and Innovation

Students use technology to generate new ideas, create products, use models and simulations, and identify trends. Younger students might create a habitat for an imaginary animal using the Kerpoof ( website and then write how the animal is suited to that habitat. Older students might create a simulated business that includes a product idea, web page, and sales brochure then run a simulation ( to show how they can turn their acquired skills into business success.

Share It! Communication and Collaboration

Students effectively communicate and collaborate with peers and experts using varieties of means, such as presentations for varied audiences, and they become familiar with other cultures by engaging with learners from around the world. Younger students might get to experience an author visit via Skype. Older students might give presentations showing what they’ve learned to students in other parts of the world by using a platform such as Blackboard or EdModo and incorporating video, photos, audio, screen sharing, and prepared slides.

Find It! Research and Information Fluency

Students gather, analyze, and act upon information compiled through the use of technology. Pre-K through first grade students may use a site such as PebbleGo to research an animal and then report their findings to their classmates using VoiceThread. Upper and middle grades students might gather data on a local problem, such as community pollution, and then make proposals for how to alleviate the problem. Teachers might arrange for students to present their findings to local government officials. For free lesson plans and materials, check local or county government websites. An example is the Gwinnett County Water Resources divisions.   

Solve It! Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making

Students identify problems, conduct research, and manage projects. This standard is closely linked to the others listed above. For instance, the local pollution project would require students to use critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making throughout the process.

Protect It! Digital Citizenship

Students learn what it means to be a responsible digital citizen, which includes online safety, ethical and legal use of technology, and leadership skills. NetSmartz Workshop is a great resource for teaching kids about being good digital citizens. It features sections for teens, tweens, and younger children.

Use It! Technology Operations and Concepts

Listed here are basic skills that used to make up the core of technology education. Young students learn usage of the mouse, keyboards, and basic operating systems, as well as application navigations and tools. Older students learn more advanced features of popular programs, like Microsoft Office, along with more specialized applications, like Adobe Photoshop.

Where Can Teachers Learn More about NETS? 

There are lots of great teaching ideas for implementing NETS-S on the ISTE NETS-S web page. Another excellent source is the NETS-S Wiki. Also, check out NETS for administrators, coaches, computer science educators, and teachers, along with the Technology Integration Matrix to check your ranking as a technology educator.

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