Putting Standards for Technological Literacy into Practice

By Newberry, Pam B. | Technology and Children, May 2001 | Go to article overview

Putting Standards for Technological Literacy into Practice


Newberry, Pam B., Technology and Children


Standards for Technological Literacy: Content for the Study of Technology (STL, ITEA, 2000) describes not only what technology students should learn and know how to do but also provides guidance for how they should learn it.

As the document was being developed, it became apparent that supporting publications would be needed to interpret and illustrate how the vision could be translated realistically into laboratory-classroom practices. Currently, the International Technology Education Association (ITEA) has two publications available for you to use to put STL into practice. The first is A Guide to Develop K-12 Standards-based Curriculum. This document provides curriculum developers, decision makers, and teachers with suggestions on how to develop a K-12 standards-based curriculum framework. The second publication, Teaching Technology: Middle School, Strategies for Standards-Based Curriculum, is the first in a series of addenda to STL. It is envisioned that the addenda series will be a source of ideas for teachers as they begin to implement the recommendations in STL. Teaching Technology: Middle School is designed for the middle grades but provides many teaching methods that are also appropriate at prior grade levels. ITEA has several publications in development, including an elementary school addenda and additional curriculum suggestions, through its Center to Advance the Teaching of Technology and Science (CATTS). While these publications and curricula are in development, there are several steps (See Figure 1: A Strategic Framework for Standards-based Reform) that you may begin taking now to help you move from hearing about the standards (Dissemination) to interpreting the standards.

Figure 1: A Strategic Framework for Standards-Based Reform

Dissemination    Goal: Developing      "Getting the word out"
                 Awareness

Interpretation   Goal: Increasing      "Getting the idea"
                 Understanding
                 and Support

Implementation   Goal: Changing        "Getting the job done"
                 Policies, Programs,
                 and Practices

Evaluation       Goal: Monitoring      "Getting it right"
                 and Adjusting
                 Policies, Programs,
                 and Practices

Revision         Goal: Improving the   "Doing it all again"
                 Efficacy and
                 Influence of
                 Standards

From: Center for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Education
(the Center) of the National Research Council (NRC) and the
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). (1997).
Improving Student Learning in Mathematics and Science: The Role
of National Standards in State Policy. [Online], Available:
http://www.negp.gov/Reports/bybee.htm

Interpretation of the standards is the first big step most teachers face and is, argurably, sometimes one of the hardest. "Interpretation is about increasing understanding of and support for standards. It involves careful analysis, dialogue, and the difficult educational task of challenging current conceptions. Deeper and richer understanding of standards is the goal" (CSMEE, 1997). To that end, this article provides some suggestions that you may use to help you put STL into practice.

Acquire and Read

Acquire and read STL. This may seem like a simple step, but often it is the step many people skip. It is imperative that you get to know each standard and the related benchmarks. One approach you may use to get know a standard is to understand its anatomy. For example, let's look at a standard and see how the various components make up the big idea within the standard.

Standard 2: Students will develop an understanding of the core concepts of technology.

i. "Students will" -- The beginning of the standard explicitly states that it is the student (all students) that is referred to for this standard. This is a statement of equity. …

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