Earlier this year in one of my professional development sessions I was instructing a group of teachers on how to have their students upload a file to be graded. I was telling them about how the file the students upload may be in the form of an Open Office document, a .docx, a .pdf, or even a .pptx . If the file didn’t work properly with the upload and download, then the students could compress it as a .zip file, send it, and the teacher could unzip the file once they have received it.
About that time, one of the teachers in my session said, “Mr. Tron, please speak English. I have no idea what you are talking about.” She did not understand what a .pdf , .doc or .docx was. It was right then and there that I realized that I needed to do a different lesson. I needed a prerequisite for what I was going over. I needed to do a lesson that included some basic skills and file extension recognition.
Along these same lines, students also lack some basic technology skills. Now, I know that they understand how to use technology. They can text, play games, chat, create Google Docs, send emails, and pictures, but most teachers say that students lack organization. Students seem to have difficulty knowing where they have saved their files and how to create and name folders to save files in. Students also lack online common sense, known as digital citizenship. It amazes me that students can do the most complex operations, but struggle with what I think are the simple ones.
Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a set of standards for administrators, coaches, teachers, and students for technology? Well there is! They are called the NETS. NETS stands for National Education Technology Standards. NETS for Teachers are the standards for assessing the skills and knowledge they need to teach, work, and learn in an increasingly connected and digital world.
As technology integration continues to increase in our schools and society, it is vital that teachers have the skills, knowledge, and know how to model behaviors of digital professionals. Teachers must become comfortable being learners with their students and colleagues. This is really difficult for some of us, but remember we are all lifelong learners.
Where can these standards be found? They can all be found at http://www.iste.org/standards Here they have downloadable pdfs, files that can be opened by Adobe Reader, for administrators, coaches, teachers, and students. These really need to be followed for successful 1:1 as well as any technology implementation and instruction.
I also did a little research for some good, basic file extension lists. This would be another great place for teachers and even students to visit so they know what file extensions go with certain programs. That way if a teacher asks for a document to be saved as a .doc, the students will know how to save it correctly and it then can be opened easily by the teacher. Here is a link that explains some basic file extensions: http://goo.gl/LC2k0 You can do a Google search and find much larger lists, but this is a nice, short one to start with. I hope you find these resources helpful.