Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Reflecting on the NETS-Cs

This school year I've done a lot of talking with teachers about the NETS-Ts and NETS-Ss.  We have devoted some of our tech meetings to looking at the NETS-T rubrics as we ask ourselves are we designing digital age learning experiences for our students, are we helping them develop the skills they will need for their futures such as real world problem-solving and the ability to collaborate with people around the globe?  Over the next few weeks I'll be meeting with individual teachers to collect artifacts that can show how our students are developing their skills too.  Now, I think, it's time for me to reflect on my role, so over the next few posts I'll be consider the NETS-Cs.

I'm not going to do these in order.  I think I'd actually like to start with the last two:

Digital Citizenship:  Technology coaches model and promote digital citizenship

  • There are three standards here, the first of which involves modeling and promoting strategies  for achieving equitable access to digital tools and resources.  While in the past I worked at a school that struggled to provide equitable access (hundreds of students sharing 20 lab based computers or a cart of laptops), now I'm in a situation where from Grade 1 upwards each student has his or her own laptop, and where below this students have access to shared laptops and iPads.  Accessing the tools is a non-issue for us and over the months that I've been here I've been working hard to build up a bank of web-based resources for teacher and students to use. 
  • The second of these standards involves modeling and facilitating safe, healthy, legal and ethical uses of digital information.  I would say I'm really good at this.  I've worked so hard this year on having all students, teachers and parents understand what is responsible use of technology and with the amount of tech actually being used I've had surprisingly few incidents where I've had to speak to students about inappropriate use.  At a recent parent meeting I was delighted to hear from parents that at home students are also insisting on being ethical and legal.  They understand copyright, citing of sources and the idea of creative commons.  They also understand the importance of sharing their creations and as we come to publish the work that we've done in Independent Studies and Media classes we wil be adding a CC licence to these publications too.
  • The final standard here involves modeling and promoting diversity, cultural understanding and global awareness using digital-age communication and collaboration tools to interact locally and globally.  Kindergarten students have been involved in collaborative projects such as sharing VoiceThreads with students in other countries as we have asked what characteristics make cities unique.  Our Grade 3s are involved in project-based learning with a number of partner schools collecting data on water usage in the attempt to answer the question "Will Mumbai run out of water?".  Students are using Edmodo and Google Docs.  Teachers have also created a Facebook group to share their ideas.  Another project that we got involved in recently was with a school in the UK that was doing a Geography unit on India.  We were able to skype with these students to talk about the culture of India and to answer their questions.  As a professional I think I model digital-age communication and collaboration well.  I'm active on Twitter and join in with various #chats, I write a number of blogs and contribute to parent newsletters, I have run parent sessions about blogging and I mentor teachers around the world using skype.  This year I've also participated in MOOCs, become an online workshop facilitator and started to design online courses.  Generally I feel I'm happy with the progress I'm making with the NETS-C Digital Citizenship standards.
Content Knowledge and Professional Growth:  Technology coaches demonstrate professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions in content, pedagogical, and technological areas as well as adult learning and leadership and are continuously deepening their knowledge and expertise.
  • There are 3 standards in this too, the first of which is to engage in continual learning to deepen content and pedagogical knowledge in technology integration.  As mentioned before I read continually, am involved in webinars and have taken several online courses myself this year (photography, Google advanced searching, multimedia and digital storytelling, and personalized learning).  Next week I'm also going to Japan for the Flat Classroom Leadership Workshop.  Right before Christmas our school hosted Google's first India Summit where I was a presenter.  I've also attended 3 TEDx events in the past year, ASB UnPlugged, workshops on brain research and ISTE.  I would say that on this standard I'm doing pretty well.
  • Engaging in continuous learning to deepen professional knowledge, skills and dispositions in organizational change and leadership, project management and adult learning is something I think I could work on.  I did a Learn2Facilitate course run by the IBO in order to become an online workshop leader where I did have to consider the unique characteristics of adult learners.  Recently I've been involved in designing an online course for the ASB Online Academy too.  I was offered the opportunity to take a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership, but decided after a lot of thought not to do it, simply because of a lack of time.  I would say that being part of the R&D core team has given me a lot of insight into organizational change and project management.
  • Regularly evaluate and reflect on professional practice - this I think I do on a daily basis through my blog.  I find I'm very tough on myself - I set high standards and goals and want to reach them.  Last summer I contributed to a book that is shortly being published by the IBO.  This led me to reflect on how I had developed communities of practice as part of my professional growth.  Presenting at conferences is also a great way of reflecting on myself as a learner.
These two standards were relatively easy to reflect upon (hence I did them first).  Being new to my school the other standards are perhaps more difficult to reflect upon, as it takes time to effect changes and really make an impact.  Nevertheless I'm determined to look carefully at them and think about the progress I have made and the progress I still need to make.  

Photo Credit: Bérenger ZYLA via Compfight cc

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