Educational information technology standards for our students, who will decide?

posted 29 Aug 2011, 05:58 by Jason Zagami   [ updated 30 Aug 2011, 02:04 ]
Sunday, 15 April 2007 

Educational information technology standards for our students, who will decide?


Zagami, J. (2007). Educational information technology standards for our students, who will decide? 
QUICK(102). pp. 5.


Educational information technology standards for our students, who will decide?

Technology advances. As does our expectations of what students should know and be able to do effectively. Our students live in an increasingly digital world and our role as educators is to prepare them for it. 

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) has developed NET•S, the National Educational Technology Standards for Students (1998) to guide US education. No equivalent exists in Australia, though some work has been done on an information literacy standard (Bundy, 2004) and we also have the national Technology - a curriculum profile for Australian schools (1994) and state curriculum such as the Technology - Years 1 to 10 Syllabus’(2003) and the Information and Communication Technology Education (2005) subject area syllabus. 

However, as curriculum documents they do not have the same effectiveness as an accepted standard. Standards are developed for a variety of reasons: supporting innovation, linking us to the rest of the world, and making us more competitive (Standards Australia Limited, 2007). Standards can also be a powerful catalyst in encouraging educational leaders to provide learning opportunities that prepare students for an increasingly digital world.

Industry groups such as the Australian Computer Society (2005) recognise this and have proposed ‘developing a national ICT literacy standard and model that is applied to all students including assessment of ICT literacy at all levels of schooling.’ and advising ‘state, territory and federal governments to develop policy to give direction and intent to schools, develop specific KPIs associated with ICT literacy standards and expectations, provision of appropriate resources to support schools and evaluation and appraisal feedback mechanisms.’ This has an understandably strong IT industry bias, and does not necessarily reflect the standards that would be supported by information technology educators, particularly within the school sector.

With renewed discussion on a national curriculum and wide ranging changes proposed to the Queensland senior schooling curriculum, it is timely to reflect on the current NETS•S Technology Foundation Standards for Students. NETS•S contains six strands, each of which is elaborated upon and outcome statements provided for K–2, 3–5, 6–8, and 9–12.

  • Basic operations and concepts

  • Social, ethical, and human issues

  • Technology productivity tools

  • Technology communications tools

  • Technology research tools

  • Technology problem-solving and decision-making tools

In 2006 ISTE began a review of these standards and proposes (ISTE, 2007) to make a number of changes to the previous standard. This draft can currently be found at http://www.iste.org/Content/NavigationMenu/NETS/NETS_Refresh_Forum_Meetings/ISTENETS_ Refreshed_S4Jan07.pdf or http://tinyurl.com/264wxs and we can expect the release of the new NETS•S in June, 2007.

While there are a number of changes and amalgamations, of special notes is a new strand, ‘Creativity and Innovation’. In this strand, students are challenged to think creatively, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products using technology. Specifically students will be expected to apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas and products, use technology for creative self-expression, use systems thinking to explore complex issues, and identify trends and forecast possibilities. Reprinted in this edition of QUICK, Anita McAnear elaborates on the proposed Digital Citizenship strand and explores how this has evolved from social, ethical, and human issues.

While developed for a US curriculum, NETS•S provides a starting point on which to discuss standards. In the next edition of QUICK, we will further explore the development of ICT standards, please utilise the QSITE discussion lists, pen a letter to the editor, or submit a paper on this issue. Without such discussion, we risk the imposition of educationally undesirable standards; QSITE represents members but can only do so effectively with a clear understanding of your views.


References

Australian Computer Society. (2005). Policy statement on computer literacy. Retrieved 29 March, 2007, from http:// www.acs.org.au/acs_policies/docs/2005/ComputerLiteracy.pdf

Bundy, A. (Ed). (2004). Australian and New Zealand information literacy framework principles, standards and practice (2nd ed). Retrieved 29 March, 2007, from http://www.anziil.org/resources/Info%20lit%202nd%20edition.pdf

Curriculum Corporation. (1994). Technology — a curriculum profile for Australian schools. Melbourne: Author.

ISTE. (1998). National Educational Technology Standards for Students. Retrieved 29 March, 2007, from http://cnets.iste.org/students/s_stands.html

ISTE. (2007) Draft National Educational Technology Standards for Students. Retrieved 29 March, 2007, from http://www.iste.org/Content/NavigationMenu/NETS/NETS_Refresh_Forum_Meetings/ISTENETS_Refreshed_S4Jan07.pdf

QSA. (2005). Information and communication technology education subject area syllabus. Retrieved 29 March, 2007, from http://www.qsa.qld.edu.au/yrs1to10/subject-areas/ict.html

QSA. (2003). Technology years 1 to 10 syllabus. Retrieved 29 March, 2007, from http://www.qsa.qld.edu.au/yrs1to10/kla/technology/syllabus.html

Standards Australia Limited. (n.d.). What is a standard? Retrieved 29 March, 2007, from http://www.standards.org.au/cat.asp?catid=2

Comments