May 25, 2024

My Out of the World Educon 2.5 (January 2013) Session

The following is the program description and proposal for my upcoming “conversation” at Educon 2.5 in Philadelphia, January 26th.

You Say You Want Tech Standards?
Here Come the NITS!

Gary S. Stager, Ph.D.
Brian C. Smith
Martin Levins

Program description

The ISTE Nets (tech standards) are approximately a decade old. They’ve produced endless meetings, cliché-laden documents and breathless rhetoric, but no perceptible increase in student computer fluency or teacher competence. Rather than standardizing, it’s time to amplify human potential with computers. A new diet of computing is required for learners.


There are a lot of computers in schools, but not a lot of computing. The ISTE Nets and their state and local spawn offer an imagination-free vision of school technology use that hardly justifies the investment let alone realizes the potential of computers as intellectual laboratories or vehicles for self-expression. The current crop of technology standards form the basis, at best, for a form of “computer appreciation” being taught in school.

If school leaders demand them, we should offer tech standards worthy of our students based on powerful ideas and a commitment to teacher renewal. We must move beyond the trivial and use computers in a fashion consistent with modern knowledge construction. These new “standards” elevate school computing and challenge traditional notions of top-down schooling.

Let’s call them N.I.T.S. – New Intergalactic Technology Standards.

Gary and his virtual friends, Brian Smith in Hong Kong and Martin Levins in Australia, will share their recommendations for raising our standards to the level kids deserve. Educon participants can argue the merits of these goals and add their own. You should have a lot fewer meetings to attend when your superiors are afraid of our new standards.

Everybody wins! Standards, up yours!

Feel free to add your standards suggestions as comments below…

One thought on “My Out of the World Educon 2.5 (January 2013) Session

  1. Hi Gary,

    Sounds intriguing and timely. I was having a beverage the other day from a Research in Motion (RIM) friend of mine. He was lamenting the fact that kids don’t seem to be taking the programming courses that they once took. Some serious economic implications could be mapped from his statement, but there’s more!

    I remember in the early 80’s when I began teaching, we were teaching binary to grade one students (something i would still recommend doing), playing with Turtle Logo and scripting and exploring the potential of Hypercard. Papert’s Mindstorms was required reading at our faculties of education!

    I’m hoping that your presentation will spark the conversation needed to get back to thinking about the power that “playing” with the layers BELOW the apps with which we’re all too familiar holds.

Comments are closed.