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This month we will dispense with a NETS answer key, because we propose that this observation involved no NETS student indicators.
An ICOT record of the period would contain a lot of other information. The teacher used multiple technologies throughout the period;
involved the students as a whole, in small groups, and as individuals;
and adopted multiple roles, including that of lecturer, interactive director, and facilitator. The lesson content was closely aligned with California’s Standards Test, Grade 4, Standard 3. 7. And it is possible that this
review of triangles was exactly what these 20 students needed during
this particular hour of their school careers.
However, none of this involved the NETS for Students. In general,
if students do not use technology, there is no opportunity for them to
demonstrate the NETS. In addition, the cognitive engagement required
of the students was primarily for recognition and recall. In a real
classroom, the observer would want to get a copy of the quiz and the
displayed shapes to see if the assessment involved creativity or problem solving. Otherwise, the problem and solutions addressed in class
were dictated by the teacher, making it difficult for students to learn
or practice indicators for innovation, information literacy, and critical
This is, of course, a setup. We wrote this scenario as a catalog of
missed chances: The idle computers could have offered each table its
own screen on which to count triangles or even its own WebQuest
to seek out and collect images. Permitting students to use their cell
phones could have transformed the 2: 1 student–computer ratio into
a 1: 1 environment, including a mobile platform for collecting photos from the physical world (NETS•S 6: Technology Operations and
Concepts). Instead of limiting group interaction to reading text off a
screen, the teacher could have used existing groups to create a jigsaw
cooperative learning experience (NETS•S 2: Communication and Collaboration). The teacher’s own image collection could have modeled
appropriate use of online material. (NETS•S 5: Digital Citizenship).
The point is this: The presence of technology—even when it addresses the NETS for Teachers and curriculum standards—does not by
itself ensure that students are learning digital age skills as defined by
What was your interpretation of the NETS? Do you agree or disagree with ISTE R&E’s coding?
How could a teacher modify this scenario to create a richer lesson? What additional time, student
preparation, technologies, or other resources would the lesson need? Find out how other readers
responded and share your insights, comments, and questions on the NETS Assessment Wiki