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Published in Print: November 24, 1999, as Guide Aims To Help Teachers Integrate Technology

Guide Aims To Help Teachers Integrate Technology

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Teachers who have been struggling with how to make fuller use of technology in their day-to-day lessons now have access to a guide full of practical advice.

Follow-Up

"National Educational Technology Standards for Students: Connecting Curriculum and Technology" can be ordered by calling (800) 336-5191. A modified version can be found online at www.iste.org.

The 373-page publication, "National Educational Technology Standards for Students: Connecting Curriculum and Technology," was released last week at a press conference here by the Eugene, Ore.-based International Society for Technology in Education.

ISTE published standards for what students should know about technology and be able to do with it in June 1998 as part of the group's National Educational Technology Standards, or NETS, project. This second publication is meant to show teachers how the standards can be linked to their regular lessons.

"We knew that putting the standards out there was not enough," Lajeanne Thomas, the NETS project director, said at the press conference. "This will be an important resource for teachers to use in integrating technology with the content standards they have to meet."

The U.S. Department of Education is paying for every school district and state education department in the country to receive a free copy of the guide.

Specific Advice

The guide consists of dozens of lesson plans written by teachers from all over the country. Each lesson contains references to which specific technology and content standards it covers and a list of relevant software or World Wide Web sites.

One such lesson, "Earth Movement in Real Time," is designed to teach middle school students how scientists monitor geological activities. The guide advises teachers to assign students to groups of five to seven members, with each group responsible for a different geographical area.

Among other activities, students check a Web site that tracks earthquakes and then graph the data over a period of several weeks.

While ISTE clearly advocates a "constructivist" philosophy of education—in which students rather than teachers direct their own learning—the guide is designed to appeal to traditional as well as nontraditional teachers.

"Not every activity is at the bleeding edge," Ms. Thomas said. "You don't leave traditional learning environments immediately. A transition time is necessary."

Cheryl L. Lemke, the vice president for education technology for the Milken Family Foundation, one of the funders of the guide, predicted that the book would open up teachers' eyes to some of the ways that technology could transform their classes. "Teachers don't know what they don't know," she said.

But having schools make good use of technology on a wide scale takes more than simply creating awareness among individual teachers, said Margaret Honey, the director of the Center for Children and Technology in New York City, who was not involved in writing the guide.

"Unless there's a concerted effort at the district level or building level so technology is used to support the local community's objectives, the use of technology will remain occasional," she said.

As its next step, ISTE will begin writing standards for what teachers should know about and be able to do with technology.

Vol. 19, Issue 13, Page 3

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