Standard, Routine and Exceptional

Sometimes, it’s important to be as clear as possible when talking about technology goals in the Lower and Middle School. Here’s a quote about objectives from a document I’m working on.

In terms of academic technology use, a school typically is looking for three types:

Standardized: Skill sets taught by technology coordinators or teachers that are important to but not taught in the classrooms by the teachers. Examples include file management, keyboarding, basic image manipulation, common features in Microsoft Office, and basic uses of the library subscription databases.

Routine: Technology skills that become common in the everyday classroom and learning experience. Examples include typing papers, conducting and documenting online research, using digital cameras and scientific probeware, using Excel to analyze and graph data, using the school online portal to access assignments, and exchanging files between home and school. The standardized instruction lays the foundation for routine use, but the classroom teachers also expect and support students with routine uses of technology as part of the teaching day.

Exceptional: At least once a year per grade level, students should be challenged to go further with technology as part of an important core subject project. In most schools, this project is lead by teachers with the help of technology coordinators to design and implement the project (but with the goal of the teachers gradually assuming ownership of the project over time). Examples include narrated slide shows in first grade, student-made web pages in third grade, audio or video productions in fifth grade, and inter-school or international collaborative work in seventh grade.

What’s interesting about these three categories is that they are a type of flow chart. Over time, the objectives taught in the standardized computer classes will become routine classroom uses. Over time, the exceptional uses of technology (laptops, heart rate monitors in PE, GPS units) also become routine uses as well if they stick. Thus, we keep moving forward.

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