I think the undeniable answer to that question is that the tech standards should be taught in as many areas as possible if not all of them. Given the opportunity, children should be allowed to develop 21st century skills throughout their learning day. I think that the stand alone tech class is slowly going to be eliminated as technology becomes more and more embedded in the curriculums of our schools. As we have seen from the first 6 weeks of our course, digital technology and 21st century learning skills are here to stay. All the participants in a child’s learning need to take advantage of that and prepare themselves to participate in it.
However, we are teachers in international schools and they are different from our counterparts in public schools in Canada, the US, Europe, Australia, etc. We are very lucky in a lot of ways. For the most part, we have highly motivated students, supportive and stable parents, supportive administration, flexibility with curriculum and assessments and the list can go on. So what happens if you do not have all those items in place? Is it then possible to have all the tech standards taught in each subject area? Is it possible for students, teachers and parents to keep up with the ever changing world or 21st century learning?
Judy Salpeter in her article 21st Century Skills: Will Our Students Be Prepared? is critiquing an article called Learning for the 21st Century by the Partnership for 21st Century Learning. Ms. Salpeter states the
“authors are careful to point out that there are plenty of learning skills that have nothing to do with technology, they describe 21st century tools — including computers, telecommunications, and audio- or video-based media — as critical enablers of learning in a number of realms. And the fact that the information age that has resulted from the widespread adoption of such tools places us “in a world of almost unlimited streams of trivial and profound information, of enormous opportunity and difficult choices,” necessitates an emphasis on information and communication technology literacy skills that will allow students to make sense of it all”.
So how does one make sense of it all? We in this program are all in favor of moving forward and seeing where technology and 21st century learning will take us in every class. However, as we have stated before not everybody is on the same page for whatever reason. Ms. Salpeter goes on to further say that due to pressure to improve test scores and deal with budget cuts it is often technology programs and the arts that are cut. All of this effects the learning of opportunities for these students. So how does one get around this and have everyone on a more equal playing field.
The easiest way is to throw more money at it, but this is hardly realistic given where the most of world is economically. I think that this is a problem that can only be solved through time, education, commitment, persistence, and dedication from all of the participants in a child’s education. We have to remember that we are not always in a profession that likes to change or take risks. We will get there and then all students will be able to enjoy and take advantage of 21st century learning in each of their classes.