The focus of ISTE 6 is technology and concepts, specifically student understanding of technology concepts, systems and operations as well as being able to use and understand technology systems, select and use applications in an efficient and productive way, troubleshoot, and expand their knowledge to learning new technologies. As an educator, I find this standard to be the most intimidating to accomplish as in most cases my students have much more knowledge of technology, systems and operations that I do. I am a learner myself, so I chose to explore what teachers need to know and learn in order to support student mastery of this standard. My question stemmed from my experience as a teacher, wondering if having knowledge of the systems used by the school would be enough to support student mastery of technology and concepts. It is a very broad question and I have come to find that flexibility and a willingness to adapt are crucial to being a teacher as technology is implemented more and more into education.
Ertmer and Ottenbreit-Lefwich (2009) challenges teachers face and the changes they need to make in the way they utilize technology in the classroom. Technology is being used in minimal ways such as communicating with parents, presenting material, or having students complete a homework assignment with technology and the main issue identified is that although teachers have access to technology, they do not know how to use them to their fullest potential in the classroom or have not changed their mindset about the role of technology in the classroom (Ertmer & Ottenbreit-Lefwich, 2009, p.2). Essentially the greatest challenge is getting all teachers to accept technology as pedagogical tools and this is because of knowledge, culture, self-efficacy beliefs and/or pedagogical beliefs that the teacher has. This relates to the standard because the teacher is responsible for effectively integrating technology into the classroom and modeling its use for students. If the teacher is unable to use technology effectively and is hesitant to use it beyond its minimum functions, they won’t be able to help students to select what will work best for them, how to troubleshoot or encourage them to learn something new about technology they hadn’t known before.
One of my classmates raised a good point; that teachers won’t be able to stay ahead of technological advancements and will only be able to adapt in real-time to “keep up” with technological development (Leatherman, 2015). I couldn’t agree more with this statement, but it raises some concerns as I know very well the variety of teachers and the wide range of technological skills within schools. One thing I am curious about is if teachers who are further removed from technology by age will find themselves retiring earlier than anticipated because they cannot keep up with technological advancements. I hope this isn’t the case as many of those teachers bring such wisdom and expertise to their subject areas and teaching as a whole. One of the main solutions I see to that concern is for teachers whom have mastered technologies and are more competent in using technology to support those whom are less competent. Just as Bates mentions, it is important for teachers to be aware of other forms of knowledge and their potential importance to our students, and make sure that we are providing the full range of contents and skills needed for students in a digital age (n.d.). This means that teachers need to work together and individually to become competent with technology to develop the skills that students need to be successful.
One of my peers shared a great resource that I found extremely helpful for answering my question as well as addressing my concern. This resource provides a 5 starting points for teachers as they become more comfortable with technology which includes; start small, be picky, learn “just enough”, be your own guinea pig, and find support (Sanders, 2014). In short this answers my question. If teachers are able to master the technology and systems used by the school they work in, they are well on their way to supporting students as they learn to use technology. Students themselves are incredible resources for technology and are more than willing to show others how to use the tools that they find. I myself discovered Prezi through a student and use it religiously in my lessons. In short, I do believe that there will always be challenges with technology since it is such a rapidly growing resource, but there will always be masters within the faculty and staff and in the classroom to help make the process of using and trying new technology smoother.
Bates, A. W. (n.d.). The nature of knowledge and the implications for teaching. Teaching in a digital age (2). Retrieved from: http://opentextbc.ca/teachinginadigitalage/part/chapter-2-the-nature-of-knowledge-and-the-implications-for-teaching/
Ertmer, P. & Ottenbreit-Leftwich, A. (2009). Teacher technology change: how knowledge, beliefs and culture intersect. Purdue College of Education. Retrieved from: http://www.edci.purdue.edu/ertmer/docs/aera09_ertmer_leftwich.pdf
Sanders, J. (2014). 5 ways to become more comfortable with technology in your classroom. Getting Smart. Retrieved from: http://gettingsmart.com/2014/11/5-ways-become-comfortable-technology-classroom/
Leatherman, M. (2015) ISTE Standard 6 Resource Sharing. Message posted to https://canvas.instructure.com/courses/947783/discussion_topics/4132659