Reference Information on
International Society for Technology in Education
National Educational Technology Standards
National Education Technology Plan
Prezi Presentation about the UMass Amherst IT Program Computer Competency Cerfication
The U.S. Department of Education's The National Education Technology Plan, Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology, calls for applying the advanced technologies used in our daily personal and professional lives to our entire education system to improve student learning, accelerate and scale up the adoption of effective practices, and use data and information for continuous improvement. This plan asks "that we focus what and how we teach to match what people need to know, how they learn, where and when they will learn, and who needs to learn".
The National Education Technology Plan states: "The challenge for our education system is to leverage the learning sciences and modern technology to create engaging, relevant, and personalized learning experiences for all learners that mirror students' daily lives and the reality of their futures. In contrast to traditional classroom instruction, this requires that we put students at the center and empower them to take control of their own learning by providing flexibility on several dimensions."
Today, many students' lives are intertwined with technology giving them mobile access to information and resources every hour of every day, enabling them to create multimedia content and share it with the world, and allows them to participate in online social networks where people from all over the world share ideas, collaborate, and learn new things. Outside school, students are free to pursue their passions in their own way and at their own pace. The opportunities are limitless, borderless, and instantaneous. However, there is no requirement to teach information technology in public schools.
The fact that many students have various types of technology available to them, does not mean that they are able to take advantage of the opportunity to enrich their learning, enhance their work and fulfill their individual potential.
What are the basic remedial workforce skills employers are seeking, specifically? There are ten. They are having basic knowledge and applied abilities in: oral and written communication, diversity, creativity, social responsibility, collaboration, problem solving, leadership, professionalism, self-direction, and the application of information technology.
Of surveyed employers, 17% reported that students from four-year colleges were deficient. (Casner-Lotto, et al., 2010). Specifically in regard to technology, employers desire employees who have the skills to “select and use appropriate technology to accomplish a given task”, and to “apply computing skills to problem solving” (Casner-Lotto, et al., 2010, p. 22). In fact, 24.5% of surveyed employers in this study report a high-need for training their new employees in information technology.
It is well documented that a majority of schools 'teach to the test'. That is, their curriculum is focused on ensuring the largest number of students pass standardized tests prior to graduation. Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) was amended in
2006 to include Science, Technology and Engineering (STE test). It is a composite of four sub-tests. The technology portion of the STE test is nestled within the forty-five-question engineering test. In a sample technology/engineering MCAS test provided by the Department of Education, only three questions of forty-five (7%) were technology related, (Massachusetts Department of Secondary and elementary Education, 2011).
Many, if not most, of students coming to UMass are not prepared to fully take advantage of what technology offers them in support of their academic experience. The Information Technology Program has been a leader in providing curricular vigor. However, we must look for ways to support a larger number of students and enhance the quality, abilities and competitiveness of our graduates.