You can practically hear Tom Hoffman screaming at the top of his lungs in a post at the EdTech Insider. The object of his wrath is a proposal to add “technology and information literacy” requirements to No Child Left Behind.
He makes some excellent points in the rant, but one in particular jumps out at me: “What happened to integrating technology?” What indeed. Of course, his question assumes people understand that concept of integration in the first place. It would seem they don’t.
When Virginia began it’s standardized testing program sometime in the 90’s, the state included a technology assessment for fifth and eighth graders. As you might expect, this was a multiple choice exam which boiled down to lots of vocabulary requiring little or no understanding of how to use computers for any real work.
Fortunately, the exam was dumped about the time NCLB came along, although I still hear from some in our district who wish the state would resurrect the test. I think they want the force that comes with a punitive exam to support their efforts to “teach technology” in the face of the other testing programs.
And therein lies the problem. We still have too many educators thinking the presence of computers in the classroom means they must “teach technology”. We are, or should be, teaching math, literacy, science, music, and a variety of other topics and skills using the best tools available. Including computers.
But the most disappointing part of this story is the source of the proposal that set Tom off. It comes from the CEO of ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education), the largest advocacy group for technology in education. If their leaders are really that clueless, the effort to help teachers truly integrate technology into their classrooms has a very long way to go.