Repeatedly we hear the call to base everything on data driven research, not a bad idea in itself but when you live in the world of technology and innovation then it possess quite a stumbling block. How can you collect data on the future? It takes years to develop a good research plan, carry it out and draw any conclusion. Somebody has to go first.
Districts that will only make decisions based on what has gone on before will forever be behind and out of sync with technology and modern learning environments. How does that serve our students and communities to prepare them for the technology rich, mobile and ever changing landscape in the modern economy? It is quite a balancing act to incorporate both data and innovation.
I have been quite busy preparing for a major PD initiative in supporting an ever expanding number of Chromebooks and more innovated use of Google Tools. I have to say Google has created a large number of pathways to learn it’s apps and to test ones knowledge. I like the idea of tests and certification on these tools. It would be a wonderful thing if schools using google apps required their teachers and new hires to be google certified teachers. It would be good way to know they have basic tech skills which are still lacking amongst many educators.
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The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) had just release new draft standards for Digital Literacy and Computer Science. These, if adopted, will replace the current standards adopted in 2008. ISTE is also undergoing a refresh in the standards draft standards should be released in Jan 2016. It will be interesting to see what changes will be made.
I am excited to see the addition of computational thinking and computer science. I strongly believe these are necessary for success in our modern economy particularly in Massachusetts. DESE partnered with MassCAN and MassCUE to develop these standards.
The new standards are divided into 4 strands:
Computing and Society
- Safety and Security
- Ethics and Laws
- Interpersonal and Societal Impact
Digital Tools and Collaboration
- Digital Tools
- Collaboration and Communication
- Computing Devices
- Human and Computer Partnerships
- Programming and Development
- Modeling and Simulation
The previous standards are heavy on ethics, safety, research and basic application use. The draft standards add computer science and computational thinking. Many of these standards can be infused within the general curriculum but as you get to the 9-12 standards it seems more difficult to integrate into existing courses. If districts are to truly implement the computer science and programing standards then additional computer science course would need to be added at the HS level. Massachusetts does not offer a computer science license so who would teach these courses? I have heard discussion that those with a Math, Science or Instructional Technology licenses would likely fill the need. As computer science classes become wide spread I would think creating a teaching license for CS would be desirable.
What do you think about the new standards?