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Doug Johnson Speaks (Part 1)

I had a chance to conduct an online interview with Doug Johnson to further discuss some issues he raised in the comments section of the VSB. 

A.B. Explain what you meant when you stated "David Moursund and the ISTE people "got it." What did they get, that others are benefiting from?
D.J. "My concern about ISTE and "technologists" in general prior to the late 1990s had always been that they were more about the "things that go beep" than they were about student learning. While Dave Moursund’s editorials had always been intriguing and far-sighted in many ways, my perception was that editorial content of the magazine was primarily about learning to use technology rather than learning with technology. The original title of the publication was, after all, The Computer Teacher, if I remember correctly. To be fair, everyone in education was struggling to come up with practical uses and a cohesive vision of technology use in schools.

But with the publication of the NETS Student Standards in 1998 with its strong sections, "Technology research tools" and "Technology problem-solving and decision-making tools" and a shift in L&L’s editorial focus to pedagogy rather than software and hardware, ISTE and AASL were coming closer to having the same mission – to make sure all students use information and technology in order to solve problems and answer questions and deal with the social and ethical questions of technology’s use.

While AASL mostly has school librarians as an audience, ISTE’s membership is more diverse since it is comprised of classroom teachers and administrators, not just technology specialists. I like the fact that our technology friends are teaming with librarians to help all educators understand that teaching good information problem solving skills is the best use of technology in education. ISTE also seems to be more politically astute somehow. Compare the number of schools and states which have adopted ISTE standards to those who have adopted AASL standards.

I would like to see AASL and ISTE join forces is writing the next set of student standards. AASL/AECT’s Information Literacy Standards for Student Learning was also published in 1998 and has many of the same goals as the NETS Student Standards. These should be at the least, coordinated somehow. If you did a Venn diagram of each set of standards, it might look like this with more overlap than one might think: (still working on the Venn Diagram Doug submitted-sorry)

For many teachers, especially younger ones, technology is sexy and exciting and has revitalized research, constructivism, and relevance as important component in the educational process. Librarians need to take advantage of "cool" factor."

A.B. Just what are your thoughts regarding the role of a technologist and the role of a librarian? Are they two in the same? Or are they two separate fields of interest?
D.J. "As strange as it may sound, the role of the "technologist" may be changing more than that of the librarian. As technology came into the schools, the technologist was a combination technology integration specialist (teacher) and technician – often a classroom teacher on special assignment. But with the growth in both scope and importance of technologies in schools, these roles are becoming increasingly discrete – with technicians doing the screwdriver and management stuff and librarians picking up the integration specialist duties. And of course, sometimes it is the integration specialist picking up the library duties – especially in cases where librarians do not see themselves as having a technology role. Hence "turf" battles.

We should focus on what kids need to know and do with technology and be less fussy about who does it. But that only settles turf issues in MY district, not in entire educational community."

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