International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers (NETS-T):

Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity: Teachers use their knowledge of subject matter, teaching and learning, and technology to facilitate experiences that advance student learning, creativity, and innovation in both face-to-face and virtual environments.

This semester has brought to my attention a major theme in technology integration: do not simply integrate technology for its novelty. Instead, as a teacher I will evaluate how technology enhances the lesson and inspire students. For example, when I worked on my inquiry lesson for my methods course, the evaluative tool I was using did not provide students an opportunity to be creative in their response. It simply called for a chart to be filled out. So, I researched efficient tools to give students an opportunity to express themselves using the content they just learned. I found a website called S'more that allows students to make flyers advertising events or things. As I used the tool, I figured that this would be an excellent opportunity to have students write a flyer for either Athens or Sparta. To investigate how long it might take students to do a project of this nature, I made up a flyer of my own, which you can see here. Having taught this lesson twice using the chart assessment, I think the flyer would be far more effective at getting students to reflect on the lesson and produce a more meaningful product.

Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments: Teachers design, develop, and evaluate authentic learning experiences and assessment incorporating contemporary tools and resources to maximize content learning in context and to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes identified in the NETS•S.

The capstone project of my educational technology course was to create a technology-integrated lesson plan. However, the purpose of this assignment was not simply to drop in fancy technology tools for students to use with varying degrees of success. Instead, the central focus of this assignment was to evaluate what students are doing at each step of the learning plan. This evaluation of learning activity types or "LATs" (for a complete list, see here) is an excellent way for beginning educators to keep track of the intellectual activity at each stage of the lesson. After I assessed my lesson plan using the LATs, I found that there were several opportunities where I could improve my inquiry lesson. Specifically, as I mentioned above, this included adding a more effective assessment tool. Additionally, as I worked this semester with a wide diversity of students, I used this opportunity to adjust which LATs could be differentiated or adapted for the specific learning needs of my students. See my technology enhanced, LAT-centric learning plan here. For an evaluation specifically of the technology use in this lesson, see here.

Model Digital-Age Work and Learning: Teachers exhibit knowledge, skills, and work processes representative of an innovative professional in a global and digital society.

In class, we have discussed several methods of interacting with students and parents using digital technology. At Phoebus, I learned how to use an online grade book that allows parents to keep track of their students' grades in real time. In class, we talked about the possibility of using cell phones to communicate with parents and students, if allowed by the district. All we are hoping to achieve is more transparency in the process of education and better communication between vital parties. No longer do we want the image of the teacher a the lectern, unreachable by students and parents alike. As mentioned earlier, as well, we learned about the merits of testing digital media meticulously before unleashing it on our students. In that same vein, the more effectively we are able to model digital media use for students, the better able they will be to creatively apply their learning.

Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility: Teachers understand local and global societal issues and responsibilities in an evolving digital culture and exhibit legal and ethical behavior in their professional practices.

Two main themes of our class fall under this ISTE standard: the first is regarding the digital divide, and the second is regarding Fair Use. When discussing the digital divide, we keyed in on the idea that teachers must understand the access their students have to technologies like laptops and the Internet. If a teacher is not sure all of his/her students will have the same access to these technologies, it is unfair to assign them projects that assume access. As educators, we do not have the authority to decide whether our students have access to technology at home, but we can be sensitive about not highlighting the digital divide. As for Fair Use, we learned about when it is appropriate to use copyrighted materials in our classrooms; a great resource of best practices we examined can be found here. Going forward, I have a clear idea of when to encourage students to pursue their creative goals with copyrighted information and when to be cautious.

Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership: Teachers continuously improve their professional practice, model lifelong learning, and exhibit leadership in their school and professional community by promoting and demonstrating the effective use of digital tools and resources.

In the early stages of our class meeting, we discussed ways that we could develop "professional learning networks" (PLNs) to keep ourselves abreast of the latest information in educational research. As detailed here, a PLN is a network educators develop with other educators to share ideas and discuss current issues in education. My current PLN includes a well-manicured Twitter account, a series of Facebook groups with other educators, several blogs that I follow regularly, and a cache of bookmarked sites like edudemic.com that keep me up to date on the latest pedagogical techniques. For example, today's lead post on Edudemic is regarding "flipped classrooms", currently all the rage in education. It offers tips and tricks on how to integrate a flipped classroom lesson into your curriculum and the drawbacks of doing so. I also am a member of several educational groups, including the scholarly History of Education Society, from which I receive quarterly journals updating me on research in that, my favorite field.