Magazine article Technology and Children

"Crosswalk the Standards" for Successful Implementation of Standards for Technological Literacy within the Elementary Classroom

Magazine article Technology and Children

"Crosswalk the Standards" for Successful Implementation of Standards for Technological Literacy within the Elementary Classroom

Article excerpt

My passionate belief in the crucial importance of teaching technological literacy skills in our elementary schools has opened many doors of discussion with teachers and campus administrators as well as staff development specialists. Once the dialogue moves beyond the theoretical and philosophical conversations, sometimes the door swings open further through a campus principal who expresses an interest and commitment to at least review a copy of Standards for Technological Literacy: Content for the Study of Technology (Standards for Technological Literacy/TL) (ITEA, 2000).

Since the elementary principals are the linchpins of their campus systems, I immediately take advantage of that opportunity for the content standards for the study of technology to gain entrance into elementary campus classrooms! Instead of just dropping a copy of the publication off at their school or referring them to the ITEA Web site, an appointment is made to go over Standards for Technological Literacy with them personally, on a one-to-one basis, at a time and location that is convenient and comfortable for them.

After the one-on-one meeting takes place, the most typical response from a principal is, " I appreciate the importance of Standards for Technological Literacy, but my teachers are so completely overwhelmed by the complexity and number of content standards we are already trying to implement in the foundation courses. I simply cannot ask them to add another set of standards to an already overloaded curriculum. We can only invest time in the areas that will support our state testing program." William E. Dugger, DTE, in the Preface to Standards for Technological Literacy said, "We can predict that getting these technology standards accepted and implemented in grades K-1 2 in every school will be far more difficult than developing them has been." How often I remember that quote when I hear the response from the principal who thanks me for my commitment to technology education, but declines my offer to provide campus-based staff development for the entire faculty on this topic.

As a true believer in the value of the design process-the core of problemsolving in technology education-I always have alternate solutions! During a recent meeting, my offer to the elementary principal to provide a campus-based staff development for the entire faculty shifted instantly to a proposal to assist an interested elementary teacher in the development of a classroom unit or lesson that would support the state TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) in math, reading, language arts, science, and social studies, which are the basis of the state's testing system, but also would integrate the content for the study of technology.

Chapter One in Standards for Technological Literacy includes a section called "Technological Studies as an Integrator." The first paragraph reads "Perhaps the most surpnsing message to emerge from Technology Content Standards-surprising, atleast, to those who have not themselves taught technology classes is the role technological studies can playin students' learning of other subjects. When taught effectively, technology is not simply one more field of study seekng admission to an already crowded curriculum, pushing others out ofthe way. Instead, it reinforces and complements the material that students learn in other classes."

Since the social studies and science areas at the elementary level frequently do not receive as much class time during the elementary day as do math, reading/language arts, and writing, an offer was made to specifically crosswalk the Elementary Social Studies TEKS with the corresponding content standards from Standards for Technological Literacy in a seamless manner, and work alongside the classroom teacher to implement a standards-based lesson. When assurance was given that the other tested content areas would also have a place in the lesson, an instant agreement was reached. …

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