Sunday, May 30, 2010

ICT Skills Revisited

I had a request this week for ICT Skills Checklists. I have collected a few links but with some reservations. ICT literacy is more than ticks on a computer skills checklist. It is a new kind of multi-modal literacy that involves creative fluency as well as interpreting meaning in various digital forms. I can understand teachers wanting a checklist (just tell us what to teach). In my experience, teaching computer skills in isolation is a common starting point for teachers starting out using technology. With more ICT experience, they tend to use technology to teach content in new ways and their pedagogy changes with increased personal use of technology. If you want to develop a checklist of ICT skills:
  1. Look at where your students and staff are at. Most ICT projects that descend from above like UFOs, eventually crash land.
  2. Use something like the ISTE NETS as a basis for your planning.
  3. Consider carefully where your staff are at. Consult Tom March's excellent list of teacher competencies.  
  4. Think big picture. Chris Betcher's list of 5 Simple Skills is a good discussion starter for staff.
  5. Don't base skills on proprietary software. Software such as Excel can change from year to year.
If you are still not sure where to start there are two skills I consider to be vital. The first is teaching your kids to touch type. In the 80's I was often faced with a lack of computers so I used to beg, borrow and steal them from whoever and wherever I could, including the local tip (sorry, I hear you saying, if I want to know about the past I will ask you). As long as the kids could input words on a screen I could teach them to touch type and that was my only goal. I told the kids that by the end of the year I expected them to be able to touch type with a towel covering their hands. The benefits are:
  1. It really makes a computer so much more useful as a tool when you can see what you are typing on the screen.
  2. You can measure the results (unlike most things we do in schools). Try this great site to see what I mean.
  3. Kids will see you in the street in 10 years time and thank you for it. 
The other skill is to teach kids how to search. Most kids (and teachers) search skills are like much of the content on the Internet (shallow). The "Digital Native" thing is a myth in my view. Many kids are very adept at wasting their time on the Internet and their skill set is very specific, rather than the generic, problem solving set they require.

Cool Things I Found This Week:
  • It was good for me to reflect on ICT Skills and where they are headed.
  • If Youtube is blocked at school, try one of these 30 alternatives
  • Zotero is enough to make you want to go back to school. It is a great tool for research.
  • 6 Word Memoirs are a great idea for English lessons.
  • We have to get better at searching using Google ourselves before we can teach kids how to do it.
  • 10 things Netbooks do better than Ipads.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with your views Charlie. I think we are in a period of generational change. Therefore we will have to work to support new scheme teachers in their work. The future for education is very exciting. We have to accept the challenge of leadership in these times.