The National Educational Technology Standards serve as benchmarks for state departments of instruction / boards of education in the United States. They are used to shape school curricula and inform teaching and learning in schools. On the NETS site you can find standards for students, educators, and school administrators. I spend quite a bit of time around future and current k-12 educators, and most (new and experienced) are quick to note that students often know much more about technology than they do. It is often stated in a matter of fact manner and with little anxiety or recognition that this may not be good. This troubles me, especially as I think about the importance of teaching students media ethics and media litearcy.
So, I have taken a different approach to help educators recognize the importance of developing skills with current technology. I start by sharing the NETS standards for students in grades 3-5. Here is one of the performance indicators:
“Use technology tools (e.g., multimedia authoring, presentation, Web tools, digital cameras, scanners) for individual and collaborative writing, communication, and publishing activities to create knowledge products for audiences inside and outside the classroom. (3, 4)”
This standard is meant to guide what we are teaching students in terms of technology literacy. How many of us (and the teachers in our schools) meet the standards that ISTE sets for fifth graders? By the way, by 8th grade ISTE standards note that students should be able to:
“Design, develop, publish, and present products (e.g., Web pages, videotapes) using technology resources that demonstrate and communicate curriculum concepts to audiences inside and outside the classroom. (4, 5, 6)”
For those who value the use of state and national standards in our schools, this makes a strong case for the value of digital storytelling in the school curriculum. Not only does it help students develop communication skills, stay engaged; it also helps them come to grips with the potential for using technology to be heard, for artistic expression, and for social good. Along the way, students can also learn a great deal about the implications, ethics, and use of current/emmerging technology. Furthermore, it can be embedded in to virtualy any or all parts of the curriculum, from science to social studies, community service to language arts.