Two Perspectives on NETS as a Framework for Change in PT3
Catherine Collier, University of Rochester, United States ; Dorothy Burke, Notre Dame College, United States
Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference, in Nashville, Tennessee, USA ISBN 978-1-880094-44-0 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Chesapeake, VA
Two Perspectives on NETS as a Framework for Change in PT3 by Dr. Catherine Collier and Dr. Dorothy Burke The Preparing Tomorrow's Teachers to Use Technology program (PT3) is consistent with the belief that effective use of technology for teaching and learning should be an integral part of teacher preparation programs. Understanding the uses of various instructional technologies and their potential to transform teaching and learning requires modeling by teacher educators and guided practice by preservice teachers in classroom settings. The difficulty is that many teacher educators and mentor teachers have little or no understanding of the power of instructional technology and are only novice users of technology for professional tasks. Professional development for integrating technology in the curriculum may begin with developing new skills, but much more is needed than offering inservice workshops and classes on how to manipulate a particular software application to produce a result (OTA, 1994; LeBaron & Collier, 2001). How can teacher education faculty acquire the expertise to prepare preservice teachers to use technology effectively; how can they insure that mentor teachers in their professional development schools are modeling technology effectively; and how can they assess their students' use of technology unless they know what "effective use of technology" looks like? PT3 provides funds and support to address that dilemma. The support includes a comprehensive, timely, and thoughtful set of standards for demonstrating effective use of technology in professional practice and in the classroom. For those providing professional development to teacher educators and K-12 partners, the National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) represent a graphical organizer for our teachers and faculty that summarizes the technological skills, tools and techniques that are valuable in teaching and learning. NETS are the result of an ISTE initiative funded by the United States Department of Education's PT3 grant program, developed with contributions from Apple, Milken Exchange on Education Technology and a consortium of distinguished NETS and PT3 partners and contributors (ISTE, 2000). Supplementary materials including exemplary lesson plans, templates, and teaching strategies, are also available in materials like NETS-S/Connecting Curriculum and Technology (ISTE, 2000). Significant acceptance of the NETS across the country is helping teacher preparation programs to focus their instructional technology efforts on those technologies and their uses that will most benefit the K-12 teachers as they integrate technology into their curricula. Each PT3 grantee fosters a partnership between teacher education faculty and K-12 teachers and, in that context, decides how those standards can best be implemented. As a result of the partnership and its associated professional development, K-12 teachers come to understand what technologies can help their students improve their critical thinking and problem solving skills and best prepare them for the workplace and for lifelong learning; at the same time, teacher educators increase their understanding of the effectiveness of instructional technology and how best to prepare new teachers to be accomplished users of technology. This paper discusses two PT3 grantees' approaches to professional development, where each implementation uses the NETS standards in very different ways. The purpose of the discussion it to point out the role of NETS in guiding an implementation to conform to a set of nationally recognized standards, without constraining the teacher preparation program unduly or compromising its existing standards of excellence. Two Contrasting Experiences with Implementation Notre Dame College (NDC) in Manchester, New Hampshire was invited by the New Hampshire State Department of Education (DoE) to participate in the three year PT3 grant the state was awarded in the Fall of 2000. The timing was fortuitous, as NDC had received a federal grant the year before that provided laptop computers to all faculty throughout the school. The Division of Education faculty were particularly eager to begin serious investigations into how to use their new computers and how to apply them to their teaching. Partnered with Apple Corporation on the grant, the DoE supported the PT3 emphasis on the use of the NETS standards as a guiding force. NDC responded by revising their existing courses in instructional technology in line with the standards, and delivering professional development for faculty that also aligned with those standards. Faculty began modeling the use of technology in their instruction in existing education courses, and discussions are underway to revise the preservice teaching preparation program more fully into alignment with the NETS. The University of Rochester's Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development, which received its PT3 grant in 2001, has taken a different approach to technology infusion. In developing its PT3 proposal, the Warner School wanted to shape its PT3 implementation in line with its role as a research school of education. The Warner School, which had no existing courses in instructional technology, regarded technology infusion as a systemic reform effort. The Warner School's instructional techniques emphasize inquiry and critical questioning, an excellent match for technology application (Jonassen, 1999; Grabe, 2000). In the Warner School implementation, each faculty member prepared an individual professional development plan for technology that addressed professional and research use of technology, integration in methods classes, and development of demonstration sites in area school where preservice teachers can observe exemplary application of instructional technology. Secondary teacher education faculty will also partner with technology-using teachers to develop subject-specific courses on teaching and learning with technology. Warner School teacher education faculty benefited most from NETS as a framework that represents the "big picture" of technology and that articulates the national performance standards against which its preservice teachers and preservice program would be assessed. Grabe, M. (2000). Integrating technology for meaningful learning. Houghton Mifflin. International Society for Technology in Education. (2000). National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers. International Society for Technology in Education. International Society for Technology in Education. (2000). NETS-S/Connecting Curriculum and Technology. International Society for Technology in Education. Jonassen, D. H. &, Stollenwerk, D. (1999). Computers as mindtools for schools: Engaging critical thinking. Prentice Hall. LeBaron, J. F. & Collier, C. (2001). Technology in its place: Successful technology infusion in schools. Jossey-Bass. Office of Technology Assessment. (1995). Teachers and technology: Making the connection. Washington, DC: Office of Technology Assessment.
Collier, C. & Burke, D. (2002). Two Perspectives on NETS as a Framework for Change in PT3. In D. Willis, J. Price & N. Davis (Eds.), Proceedings of SITE 2002--Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference (pp. 1552-1556). Nashville, Tennessee, USA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).