Just some thoughts after scanning the ISTE NETS standards. I think I’ve seen them before, but I’ve never used them in the classroom myself. (Scan, by the way, is an autoantonym, one of those strange words that can mean its own opposite. I will leave the reader to decide which meaning of “scan” fits what I’ve been doing)
My first thought is how sensible, flexible, and achievable a lot of the standards are. They seem like things that might be addressed in most classrooms. However, I need to be honest and admit that there are a couple of aspects that might be harder for me to address than others. The parts that I would find most challenging, I think, might be those that involve international collaboration. I usually find things like Skyping across time zones and the planning involved a bit daunting, and I think internationally collaborative projects are definitely something I will need to consciously strive to do well at.
Another thought is how closely most of these standards align with concepts from the MYP Humanities aims and objectives that are gradually being burned into my brain from constant exposure. Some of the phrases, like “global awareness” and the parts about the need to gather and synthesize information from different sources, are word-for-word identical with MYP Humanities aims. I think it’s great how similar the underlying aims of most subjects can be at heart, and how easy it sometimes can be to align standards from different subjects, if approached with the right frame of mind.
This is something I’ve been thinking about more than usual this week, because we were asked to brainstorm interdisciplinary projects during a faculty meeting. I like how independent of specific course content our underlying goals in teaching can sometimes be, at least at the broad level of unit planning. I think it’s much more interesting to approach planning not from the limited perspective of a teacher of one particular subject, but just as a teacher and learner pondering how to get across a basic concept in the most relevant way.
A third thought is that several of the standards refer to problem-solving – that is, students’ projects will attempt to simulate or solve problems in the real world. This is also something that I think is reflected in MYP Humanities’ aims, although perhaps in different language. I think this is an aspect of my Humanities planning and teaching that I could work on improving. I think I tend to approach Humanities as a historian, and it takes conscious effort for me not to focus on history as opposed to studying current problems. It’s easier for me to think about projects where students try to investigate and understand the causes and effects of problems, and I sometimes don’t make the leap to solutions. Working with the NETS would make that problem-solving angle even more prominent in planning assessments from the start.
In other words, a) I don’t really perceive these standards as being alien to my own particular subject or to what I’ve been trying to do, and in fact I see tremendous overlap, and b) rather than being a burden or an extra add-on, I like to think that addressing these technology standards during my own planning would help make me a better Humanities teacher. Perhaps in actuality I’d end up finding them somehow irritating or restrictive, but right now I feel excited and optimistic at the idea of incorporating these standards into some of my planning.