Monday, December 29, 2008

Top 50 Skills the Tech Savvy Educator Needs to Have

(Image:Martin Kingsley via Flickr)

I have been mulling this post in my head over the past few months for a few reasons.  First of all, as I speak at different educational technology conferences, I see teachers at many different places along the skill continuum with regards to tech skills and there wasn't consensus as to which skills were really the most valuable for teachers.  Secondly, as a new administrator, I wanted to have a list of EdTech skills I could use during the interview process to be able to objectively evaluate potential candidates for teaching positions at my school.

So, I started the process of developing a list, I didn't initially start out to list 50, but to list the skills I felt were necessary for teachers to have, which would allow them and their students to take advantage of the tools and services available.  I just started typing in a 'Word' document and quickly the list grew to over 40 skills, so I decided I would get to 50 and stop there.  I put the skills into 6 different categories to make it easier for me to assess strengths and areas for improvement quickly.

So, here's my list, I am not saying that the list is definitive, but I do think it is solid.  As you look at the list, which skills would you delete or add?  I am interested to hear what others think, since I tend to have higher expectations for teachers.

- Google: (10)
-  turn on ‘safe search’
-  use Google as a dictionary
-  use Google as a calculator or conversion tool.
-  search web pages from a particular domain
-  search web pages from a particular country
-  search for particular file types.
-  determine the sites linked to a particular site.
            -  search for non-copyrighted material.
-  set up a Google Alert.
-  translate text into another language

- Google Apps / Tools: (5)
            -  set up an RSS reader. (Google Reader, Bloglines)
-  set up a Google Group
-  create a Google Spreadsheets form.
            -  put a place marker in Google Earth.
-  save a Google Earth file. (.kmz)
- Internet: (8)
            -  decode an Internet URL
-  find the owner of an Internet domain.
- download a document or image from an Internet site.
-  view a historical version of a web page.
-  compare the traffic of two different web sites.
-  create a blog.
-  create a wiki.
-  set up an online calendar.
- Image / Videos: (4)
-  download/upload images to an photo sharing site. (Flickr / Picasa)
-  download a ‘YouTube’ or other video service video
-  embed media into a webpage, blog or wiki.
-  create an online slide show.(VoiceThread, Photostory, Animoto, Picasa Web Album)

- Communication: (6)
-  send, receive and respond to e-mail.
-  attach a file to an e-mail
-  send e-mail to multiple recipients and how to use copy and blind copy
-  use an Instant Messaging Client. (AIM, Google Chat, Yahoo Messenger)
-  set up a microblog (Twitter, etc.)
-  set up an Internet ‘phone call.’ (Skype)
-  set up a video chat.
- Cell Phone: (3)
            -  use your cell phone to send a text message.
-  use your cell phone to search Google. (SMS)
-  upload images from your cell phone to the Internet.
- Personal Computer Management: (13)
-  cut and paste from/into any Office Productivity Application (Microsoft Office, Open Office) document.
- crop an image
- create charts and graphs in any spreadsheet application
-  copy text data and paste it into a spreadsheet so it can be manipulated or sorted.
-  convert any office productivity document into a file type usable by another application.
-  create a .pdf file.
-  create a mail merged document.
-  add media to any presentation application. (PowerPoint)
-  save any document to a flash drive.
-  burn data onto a CD.
- convert audio files into MP3’s.
- do basic computer troubleshooting .(Physical, Hardware, Operating System)
-  test an Internet connection. (ping)

I am interested to hear your responses...  please leave a comment or e-mail me here.


Ken said...

Great posting Kyle. I would say that your Top Skills should be added to the California Standards for the Teaching Profession (CSTP). Also these skills should be learned and taught by all professors in teacher credentialing programs. I have often found in my current Masters program that I am considerably more knowledgeable and skilled at using technology, Web 2.0 primarily, than every single one of my professors.

Dean Jarvey said...

Wouldn't it be great if we were at the point that we could ignore these and ask questions only about what the candidate has done to integrate technology in the classroom... But this is certainly a good starting place to weed out people who have no clue about technology.

Anonymous said...

I know this comment is a long time in coming, but I saved this list for a time when I could think about it some more. The list of skills seemed like a great idea and so this year (2010) I decided to look it over and make it a springboard for my own list. This got me thinking more and so I wrote my own blog post which I am posting here also. Thanks for your though provoking and helpful ideas.

All Teachers Really Need to Know about Technology…

Is it possible that most of what teachers need to know in order to effectively use technology is “soft” knowledge, which is basically impossible to teach in the tradtional sense, but is picked up with use? Can they learn it all, or most of it, by using Facebook?

I started this list because I was reading a blog post by Kyle Brumbaugh called the 50 Tech Skills the Tech Savvy Educator needs to have and I realized that even though I consider myself tech savvy I don’t know some of them! However, it is pretty easy for me to figure out how to learn these things. I didn’t know how to turn on Google Safe Search, but I did know how to get to an advanced search and figure it out.

I decided that I don’t agree with Kyle about the skills a teacher needs to know. Knowing how to do a Google Safe Search doesn’t help teachers when Google moves the link or changes the process or if the teacher uses a different search engine. Teachers don’t need to know how to word process or step by step how to make a spreadsheet. We tried teaching them all of this and then a few years later they came back to us and said that they still need training. Most of the time teachers forget how to do things because they don’t use them right away after they are trained and they have no skills for figuring it out themselves. I thought that making sure they had the software or the equipment to use right after the training would help, but still the new learning would not get used right away and a month later they were back saying they needed more training.

I think that Technology PD needs to be related to what teachers are doing anyway (either enhancing the curriculum or enhancing their lives (Facebook, personal slideshows)

As a Technology Instructional Partner I can also secretly be figuring out ways to teach them the “soft” skills that will help them figure things out themselves and even help them to think of possibilities. Here are some beginning thoughts. I would be interested in your thoughts.

1. How to figure out things you want to know, but don’t. (i.e. for me how to turn on Google Safe Search)
• how to ask questions that will get you someplace
• certain tech vocabulary can help (preferences, fyi, options, tools, etc…)
• how to edit your own privacy settings on a website
2. How to collaborate online.
• it is OK to edit someone elses work-the concept of “history” of a website
• Using Wikis, Blogs, Google Docs and Spreadsheets
• CAPITOLs means yelling.
3. How to keep kids save while using the Internet
• decode URLs
• how to deal with copyright-where to find the info.
• basic safety rules (use of names, personal information, what to do if…, )
4. How to deal with tech frustration and overload
• dealing with passwords
• it is OK to take baby steps, but not OK to stop
• When tension rises put technology aside. It will make sense or work tomorrow or later.
• photo and video management
5. Concepts
• embedding
• shared workspace
• backchanneling/multitasking
communication through images, video, etc… not just words

My post is at

computer troubleshooting said...

I thinks that the most common thing the Tech Savvy Educator should possess are the skills to troubleshoot the common problems with the gadgets.

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