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How do I start using standards?
What are the challenges I will face?
How do I assess students' progress?
How does technology complement this approach?
How do I introduce standards to the parents and community?

How does technology complement this approach?

Like any other approach or strategy, the use of technology complements standards-based education if it helps students to reach standards. To find out, use the SIP method outlined earlier in this Exploration. It's a quality-control tool that will quickly tell you whether the students are using the computer just to be using it, or whether it helps them to achieve a standard.

Please note this: if you are at the beginning of a standards-setting process, DON'T WRITE TECHNOLOGY STANDARDS! If it's too late, and your state or district already has them, meet them by combining them with content in mathematics, English/language arts, science, or social studies. Technology standards by themselves are basically meaningless -- you must use the computer or the video camera on SOMETHING. You can't use technology for technology's sake, just as you can't write writing or read reading -- you must write or read about a topic. It is absolutely impossible to separate the technology from the content, just as you can't separate the writing from the message.

Similar conclusions have been drawn by the Panel on Educational Technology of the President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology. In its 1997 "Report to the President on the Use of Technology to Strengthen K-12 Education in the United States," the panel made six basic suggestions:

  1. Focus on learning with technology, not about technology.
  2. Emphasize content and pedagogy, and not just hardware.
  3. Give special attention to professional development.
  4. Engage in realistic budgeting.
  5. Ensure equitable, universal access to the technology.
  6. Initiate a major program of experimental research on the result of the application of technology.

Technology in the form of CD-ROMs and the Internet can help students to achieve the standards faster and with wider knowledge than anything that we previously had. The Internet can also be a pathway to the standards. Just remember to evaluate your Internet-based lessons according to how well they serve the standards, just as you would any other lesson.

Workshop: Teaching to Academic Standards
Explanation | Demonstration | Exploration | Implementation | Get Credit

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