Computer Curriculum Frameworks
"We know that properly used, technology is a powerful tool for learning. We know that new technologies are essential to the success of the current effort to create better schools. We know that teachers must be given the time and the training they need to take advantage of these new tools for teaching and learning. And, most important, we know that technology is not a cost but an investment."
--Dr. Linda Roberts, U.S. Department of Education
The mission of our Instructional Technology program is to create an educational environment in every school that is strengthened and supported by information and communications technology. The goal of the elementary computer program is to develop student technology skills and integrate computers into the K-5 instructional process. An important component of our program is to teach students how to collaborate with peers and use technology in a responsible way to locate, evaluate and present information using multimedia resources and Internet web sites.
An elementary computer curriculum framework was first developed in 1996 under the leadership of Sue Miller, the elementary computer coordinator, when Computer Instructional Centers (CICs) were established in each school. This document revises our guidelines for computer instruction at the elementary level based on our experiences over the past four years and the changes that have occurred in technology. We are also adopting the technology standards that were developed by the International Society for Technology in Education (see below) so that our own program is consistent with, and externally validated by, a nationally recognized educational technology organization.
Our technology standards are delivered to students through regularly scheduled computer instruction in fully-equipped and networked CICs as well as in classrooms. All fourth and fifth grade students receive lessons in CICs on a weekly basis, while all kindergarten through third grade students are scheduled for modules during the year. Classroom teachers use their own classroom computer clusters on a daily basis, collaborate with computer teachers to integrate computer activities into the curriculum and also have an additional opportunity to sign up to use the CIC when available.
The elementary computer curriculum framework not only guides our instructional practices but also drives our staff development program. We recognize that computer literate teachers with successful strategies to integrate technology into the curriculum is an essential component of our program. Towards that end, a comprehensive Technology Academy is available to teachers during the summer, fall and spring semesters. Additional computer courses, workshops and tutorials offered before and after school and on weekends are sponsored by the Inservice Institute and Teacher Center.
International Society for Technology in Education
The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is the largest teacher-based, nonprofit organization in the field of educational technology. It had been a leader for many years in helping K-12 classroom teachers and administrators share effective methods for enhancing student learning through the use of new classroom technologies. In June 1998, the ISTE published a series of technology standards for K-12 public schools (http://cnets.iste.org/overview.htm). A major component of the standards are a set of profiles describing technology-literate students at different grade levels. These profiles reflect the underlying assumption that all students should have the opportunity to develop technology skills that support learning and personal productivity.