California State Framework Standards
The nature of education is changing continuously due to changes in the state of human knowledge and developments in the art or science of teaching humans. These changes are also reflected in the methods of teaching that have to be carried out by concerned teachers. There are many changes that come in to the system due to these changes, but we are concerned with only two aspects and the first of these is the technology skills required by the teachers to be effective in such a condition, and the second is the influence of California State Framework or technology standards on online curriculum and distance learning.
Taking the second point first as it defines the area that we will have to work with, we have to first appreciate that educational computing and technology is a subject which is just coming up and in turn also covers many other subjects. Some of the important fields of knowledge that it covers are (1) integration of technology and curriculum in order to support learning; (2) delivery, progress, prescription and evaluation of the instruction that is given; (3) the quality of teaching computers as an aid for solving of problems; (4) in case the instructions are given in a class, the ability of the teachers in school and classroom management; (5) onward progress by the teachers through research in education; (6) the ability of the teachers and the students in electronic information access and exchange; (7) the levels of personal and professional productivity that are achieved; (8) the development of technical assistance and leadership; and (9) education of the students in the field of computer sciences. (Educational Computing and Technology Standards)
The importance of all these aspects is recognized by the International Society for Technology in Education and thus there is an insistence on educational computing and technology basics being taught to all teachers. The Society also has made it clear that there is an area of educational computing and technological specialty beyond these areas and has thus outlined standards for programs which are for teachers beyond the initial levels and may be called the advanced programs. These programs are also of help to the capacity of teachers for education as also to other organizations which would like to understand and assess the educational programs which are required for further development in the area of teaching the subject. To help develop a uniform standard for the teachers, the Society has now gone into the area of performance assessment standards for all levels of the educational computing, including both initial and advanced stages. These include (1) the starting endorsement of technology facilitation; (2) technology development advanced leadership programs; and (3) the secondary science computer science education programs. For any organization to offer these programs, they must match up to the standards that have been set up by this society. (Educational Computing and Technology Standards)
Now let us see how the technical progress is being used for the purpose of teaching. In one exercise the aim of the entire exercise was considered to determine as to what characters are likely in a book and how the author and the illustrator of the book tend to portray them. For the purpose of conducting this exercise in today’s computer oriented world, students have to prepare character webs on Inspiration software and have to make use of suitable words in order to describe about the characters. It has been informed by the person concerned who has prepared the document that the student’s concerned need to be made into various groups of four members each and they ought to perform a brainstorm with regard to the character that they choose for the purpose of analyzing. This gives rise to different groups to have their freedom in order to choose different types of characters and thus not be able to get into direct conflict between each other. The job for the teacher is also considered to be easier as he/she does not have to be engaged in doing any comparative assessment regarding him/her and he can actually leave that task to Inspiration and even try to show the results on a class monitor to the entire class. The teacher can also try to get the students in order to share their assessments in relation to the qualities and attributes. When the entire group of the characters involved has been modeled by the different sections of groups which exist in the class, then the students are usually being grouped in pairs and each pair then goes to the computer in order to build up their own type of webs for each of the characters. By the time the class is set to be over, each pair is then expected to bring about one Inspiration web for the case of presentation to the entire class, which is usually then presented in front of the entire class. These can then be set to be saved in their own folders for further usage in the studies pertaining to the book. (Educational Technology Unit) The question still remains as to whether this gives the computer and software dominance on the education of the students that it does not deserve.
This level of categorization of knowledge now exists for all subjects and in the new California State standards, there are three overall model content standards. The first of these is to show relevant knowledge and competency in motor skills, movement patterns and strategies needed to perform a range of physical activities. In the second set, there has to be a level of physical fitness for health and performance while demonstrating knowledge of fitness concepts, principles and strategies. The third level is to demonstrate knowledge of psychological and sociological concepts, principles and strategies as they apply to learning and performance of physical activity. (New California State Standards) It is clear that these are applicable for motor skills and movement knowledge. This again shows that probably the clear specification of the requirements of knowledge removes the freedom that a teacher should have to be able to teach at their best. This was also seen in the last case for education of literature.
This has led to the development of a number of courses in the universities which help the teachers in meeting these requirements. In the University of California, there are 34 such courses and some of them are “EDUC 201 Teachers’ Lives and the Policy Environment of Teaching, EDUC 202 Outcomes of Schooling and Student Assessment, EDUC 203 Advanced Concepts in Learning and Cognition, EDUC 205 Critical Assessment of Teaching Practice and Learning, EDUC 206 Cognition and Pedagogy in Specific School Subjects, EDUC 207 Cognition and Pedagogy in Quantitative Literacy, EDUC 240 Instructional Design and Education Technology, 303A-B-C-D-E 304 Observation and Participation in Diverse K-6 Schools (4), 305 Observation and Participation in Diverse Secondary Schools (4) F, 307A-B-C-D-E Student Teaching in Intermediate/Secondary School (4-4-4-4-4) F, W, S; 321 Curriculum and Methods for Elementary School Social Studies (3) W; 322 Curriculum and Methods for Elementary School Mathematics (3) W; 323 Curriculum and Methods for Elementary School Science (3) F; 324 Curriculum and Methods for Elementary School Language Arts (3) W; 325 Teaching the Visual and Performing Arts and Physical Education in Elementary School (2) W; 326 Curriculum and Methods for Elementary School Reading (4) F; 328 Theory and Methods of Instruction of Special Populations in the General Education Classroom, Elementary (2); 329 Theories and Methods of English Language Development Applied to Elementary Students (4); 331 Instructional Technology: Resources for the Multiple Subject Classroom (3); 332 Creating a Supportive and Healthy Environment for Student Learning in the Elementary Classroom (2); 335 Secondary School Curriculum (4) F; 336 Methods of Teaching Languages other than English in the Secondary Schools (4) F; and 337 Methods of Teaching Social Science in Secondary School.” (Mat Course Descriptions) Is there really such a high and specific requirement? There are also assistance coming to teachers from commercial sites in teaching and one of them specializes in providing rubrics. (What is RubiStar?) The intimacy of the relationship between the teachers and students is being lost through all these techniques.
One of the fundamental truths of knowledge is that there is no end to it, and even in the case of Einstein, his General Theory of Relativity takes precedence over the Special theory which applies to Earth. Even now we do not know whether the universe is expanding or contracting. So, why restrict the teachers instead of giving them the freedom to teach what they feel will be the best for the students?
Educational Computing and Technology Standards” The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Retrieved at http://cnets.iste.org/ncate/n_intro.html. Accessed 7 November, 2005
Educational Technology Unit” Retrieved at http://www.soe.usfca.edu/departments/edtech/downloads/edt. Accessed 7 November, 2005
Mat Course Descriptions” Retrieved at http://www.gse.uci.edu/doehome/AcadProg/mat/courseDescription.html. Accessed 7 November, 2005
New California State Standards” Retrieved at http://www.peworkshop.com/framework.htm#topAccessed 7 November, 2005
What is RubiStar?” Retrieved at http://rubistar.4teachers.org/index.php. Accessed 7 November, 2005
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