Standards I & II– Reflections

Standard I: Technology Operations and Concepts

TF/TL Standard I: Technology Operations and Concepts ensures that schools have skilled personnel” (Williamson & Redish, 2009). This standard is specifically in place, first and foremost, to provide the overall framework for the remaining seven standards. Further, it sets the standard (no pun intended) for what is going to be required of facilitators and leaders in regards to their own skills. In my own experience, I have found that (while not impossible) it is very difficult to teach what you are not proficient in yourself. How would I be able to help a teacher begin using Excel to disaggregate student test scores if I wasn’t able to do this myself? How can I be expected to provide leadership and vision regarding technology if I am unfamiliar with it to begin with? Further, since this is the standard that is most closely related to the credentials or credibility of being able to lead and train other educators, it is imperative that I am familiar with appropriate training methods such as modeling and giving specific, meaningful examples that can be easily transferred (Bransford & Cocking, 1999). This standard can, in my humble opinion, be rephrased as “the basics you need to know; try to keep up.” That is to say, it is important that you have a baseline understanding of certain technology principles as well as the willingness to be a “lead-learner” (Wagner, 2006). This is probably the easiest of all the standards and simultaneously the most daunting. It’s certainly one thing to believe you are comfortable with computers/technology and another entirely to try and keep up with current trends and changes in technological innovation. My mentor actually experienced this phenomenon when I convinced him to go to the TCEA 2010 conference. As the campus lead technology teacher, his knowledge and skill with regards to technology far surpassed that of the nearest faculty member. However, after attending a couple of sessions and discovering the world of social media (etc.) he quickly realized just how much he had to learn.

Standard II: Planning and Designing Learning Environments and Experiences

Today’s students are not the same as the peers of current educators as they passed through the educational system. The students staring blankly at us (or, more likely, staring at the phone they are trying to hide under the desk) are quite different indeed. They are enveloped in a world of social connection, just-in-time information, and tabbed browsing. Schools have not only the obligation, but the opportunity to help students move from just playing with these tools into actually using them constructively for a specific educational purpose. As noted by education authors Lynne Schrum and Gwen Solomon, “the role of teachers will be to guide students in using the new tools for academically rigorous investigations and presentations” (2007). Standard II, Planning and Designing Learning Environments and Experiences, is essentially that. However, there are a number of disagreements that arise within the context of instructional design with regard to educational technology. The perceived main area of disagreement is the role of technology within the classroom. Some teachers feel that the learning environment is obtruded by technology. Technology will distract students from their learning goals, they might say. Some teachers feel as though technology is a nicety for occasional projects (typically of the “research” variety) but couldn’t possibly be implemented on a daily basis. Yet another group of teachers feel as though technology is “the answer.” These are the ones you might hear in the hallway saying, “if only we had more computers, then these kids might be engaged.” (To this, perhaps most dangerous attitude, I respond, “technology doesn’t fix instruction.”) Another group still believe that technology is merely another medium in which to educate. That is, the learning environment can be drastically altered by technology, but not for technology’s sake. Instead, the learning environment and learning activities are drastically altered for the explicit purposes of their namesake: learning. Another important issue that arises within the framework of this standard is that of access. Will all students have the opportunity to use the same tools? Will learning activities be designed in such a way that they specifically meet the needs of each of the diverse learners? As Schrum and Solomon note, “as society and the world of work change, the skills that students need to live and thrive in it also change” (2007). This standard, then, is ensuring that this can take place as it designs the very place where these skills will be developed as well as the process by which they will be developed.

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