Professional Information & Communication Competencies — The Tech Happens…

There is much I can say about my Mom.  But one of the first that comes to mind is that she is passionate about everything that she does.

I started this blog post last week after returning from the Nebraska Association of School Boards conference on Omaha.  But the days since have been spent joyously planning and surprising my Mother with a birthday party — about 50 friends and family, gathered at a cafe and bakery in Lincolnton, NC, celebrating her 80th birthday.  If you want to know what 80 and 84 look like with the genes I’ve inherited, check this out!

But back to business, I spent about four hours talking with Nebraska board members and superintendents about contemporary literacy and how educators are using these learning literacy skills to engage in casual, on-going, self-directed professional development.  This was followed by Dan Hoesing and a panel of folks talking about distance learning opportunities in that vast and relatively sparsely populated state, followed by Jeff Ingraham and a fun whirl-wind tour of free resources made available through open source.

Dan Hoesing, an area superintendent, provided a brilliant context for the distance learning panel that dovetailed almost perfectly into my presentation.  But I would like to comment on a list of technology competencies that he included in one of his slides.  I took a picture of the slide so that I would get it right.  (See the list below and to the right.)

  1. Streaming video
  2. Music
  3. Teleconferencing
  4. Interactive exercises
  5. Interactive whiteboard
  6. Podcasts
  7. Blogs and wikis
  8. Social networks
  9. Internet tools
  10. Gadgets

It’s not the first time I’ve seen this list or a list like it, and it is a useful arrangement of tools that provide some interesting and potent opportunities for teaching and learning.  But this kind of list is difficult, because it is a tough one to keep up with.  How many items on this list didn’t even exist 20 years ago?  ..10 years ago? ..5 years ago?  What will we need to add to this list in five years?  …next week?

Again, it is a useful list.  But I would like to suggest a different list of competencies for today’s teachers that relate more to the information and communication part of ICT and less to the ever changing “T” part.  But I need to acknowledge the many people, who are smarter than me, and the organizations of international reach and scope that have done this already.  I’m just engaged in an academic exercise, hoping to provoke some conversation.

Today’s educator should master the use of appropriate ICTs to:

  • Effectively communicate within all relevant learning environments in modes, mediums, and methods that are appropriate to the goals at hand — to effectively convey ideas by skillfully devising messages that include measures of voice, personal presence/performance, text, images, video, audio, and animation.
  • Manage groups of learners as they engage individually or collaboratively in active, personal, inquiry-based, and product- and contribution-oriented learning.
  • Pursue and cultivate both physical and virtual avenues of communication to remain up-to-date in all fields of study and practice relevant to the job.
  • Engage in ongoing face-to-face and virtual professional conversations that result in:
    • Knowledge and skill growth
    • Access to and development of new opportunities, resources, and methods
    • Collaboration and
    • Enhancement of a personal and professional portfolio, and of the profession as a whole.
  • Inspire learners to be passionate in their endeavors for new skills, knowledge, and experience and to care about particular fields of individual interest.
  • Contribute to an evolving culture of learning in the classroom, school, home, and community.

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8 thoughts on “Professional Information & Communication Competencies — The Tech Happens…”

  1. Great video of your mom David. My mom turned 80 in July and celebrated by jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. I have no idea how to top that when I am her age. Thanks for sharing.

  2. David, you are absolutely correct. Lists of this type are great fun but they don’t go to the root of the issue. For example a list of Web 2.0 tools would be just a list – but Web 2.0 is actually changing the way we teach and learn and is rendering the old Victorian curriculum still being “delivered” by all governments increasingly obsolete.

    What we need is to address the underlying issues and develop a new 21st century curriculum. Your list is a set of essentials for teaching and learning in the 21st century. And your blog is a debate on the way forward.

  3. If only we had a clear cut rubric to go along with a teacher evaluation so all of this could be measured and the truly un-skilled could either change or be weeded out. I don’t want my own kids to be in a classroom where these things aren’t happening and unfortunately teachers are not all engaging students. If you’re teaching and you’re not learning how to become better at it, then it’s time to stop teaching!

    1. Dana, I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments, especially about my own children — who are now out of school. But I’m not sure that a rubric should be persued or if we need to be able to measure these competencies. When we start measuring and modeling best practice teacher ICT competencies, we start to pursue cookie-cutter methods — and that defeats the purpose.

  4. Thanks for this refreshing list. One challenge for veteran (and maybe all) teachers is to find the opportunities to learn and then engage with the ITC’s. I have found some great social networking sites that help me to see what is out there and to see examples of classroom applications but it can be daunting to actually take these on in a classroom… but well worth the effort!

  5. You are exactly right–it’s not the list of Web 2.0 tools, it’s how we use them to learn, network, grow as professionals, and develop curriculum.

    It remindes me of the pre-conference keynote for the K12 Online Conference 2009 by Kim Cofino. She makes parallels between 21st Century Learning and East Asia. How can we use the tools to make ourselves more flexible, adaptable, tolerant, appreciate and empathize with other cultures, and in general have a global perspective. All of these old school regimes are dismally behind in their thinking.

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