2a – Content and Student Tech Standards

“Coach teachers in and model design and implementation of technology-enhanced learning experiences addressing content standards and student technology standards” – ISTE Coaching Indicator 2a

What do we need to know and how does technology help us learn it?  When considering ISTE Coaching indicator 2a, my mind keeps coming back to that question. In many ways this question is at the heart of almost everything we do in digital education.  As digital education leaders, we have an obligation to work with students, teachers, and administrators to help them in this enterprise. The indicator focuses on coaching the teachers with respect to this goal and my blog post “A Tale of Two Attics” or “What Sherlock Doesn’t Know Won’t Hurt Him” looks at the role that content standards and technology play in 21st Century learning.  In it, I address the question posed by 21st Century learning, “What skills and competencies do our students need to be successful in college and their careers?”  I juxtapose my argument for content against the 21st Century standards that emphasize [only] college and career-related skills.  My reflection hangs heavily on the fact that I am a secondary social studies teacher (US history, government, and current world problems) and I believe content still matters. Technology standards can help us implement the content standards, but the standards themselves must be more than simply job-training or academic fodder for future college courses. The argument may be splitting hairs over the intent of the learning standard and a bit of an indulgence on my part for my own subject matter, but I would still maintain the fact that we don’t always know what we need to know. Sometimes are greatest successes in teaching the content standards are measured in the minds we open rather than the careers we train students for.