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Improving the NET Standards

As many of you probably know, ISTE's National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) for Students provide the gold standard by which the implementation of educational technology in support of student learning can be measured. What you may not know is that over the next year, ISTE is launching a national consultation process to "refresh" the Student standards.

Why, you might be asking, should we care? The sad truth is that these days there is an educational and attitudinal divide between those of us who focus on the use of educational technology across the curriculum and those of us teach computer science. The truth is, however, that our interests and fates are inextricably linked and it would make much more sense if we worked more closely together.

Despite our different focus, educational technologists and computer scientists are both committed to ensuring that students have the opportunity to benefit from educational technology and to acquire the skills and knowledge they need to survive in this increasingly global and technologized world. Where we falter, however, is in seeing the extent to which our goals will only be achieved by our comprehension of the importance of the full continuum of skills. It is simply not enough to teach students about and with technology, students need to develop the skills that will allow them to become the creators and innovators who will develop the new technologies we have only begun to dream of.

When the ACM Model Curriculum for K-12 Computer Science was developed, the authors believed it was essential to include the NETS as the foundational building blocks of technology knowledge for all students. As ISTE moves forward with their revisions, we hope that they will also incorporate the skills that we believe are critical to student success. We hope that they will take an opportunity to include computing logic and algorithmic problem solving into the NETS for grades 6-8, not just because these concepts are the fundamental building blocks of more advanced computing, but because they provide students with a powerful new tool for thinking about how technology can be used to solve real world problems. And if ISTE does this, we will commit CSTA to ensuring that teachers have access to a variety of age-level appropriate instructional materials that will help them introduce these concepts in engaging and relevant ways.

ISTE has begun this discussion about what students need to learn, and it is essential that computer science educators take part. Be part of this important event by completing the online survey at:

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=390142293245

Students win when we work together.

It is that simple.

Chris Stephenson
Executive Director

Comments

FINALLY I have found a group in education that thinks like I do!
The educational world needs to give some focus on students learning the skills, not just on educators using skills to communicate content or even students using technology to learn. If the students don't have the skills, they will not be able to function in society in the future!! My comment is: CSTA needs to communicate its existence to ALL the CS educators. Maybe I have just missed it, but I have been looking for this kind of group for 5 years; ever since I left the business world and came back into the educational world (after 24 years in the business world). How can we get the CSTA message out to more people?

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