It was striking for me to see the dramatic change in the ISTE standards. Although this reassessment may have been caused by a change in the leadership of that organization, the new standards definitely seem more pertinent to life and work in today’s world.

The older set of standards treats technology as a tool we use to achieve goals. Our technical skill with that tool is what really matters.

The new set of standards embraces technology as an integral part of being a human in the 21st century, and stresses technology and media fluency, creativity, and innovation.

It is no longer a tool that we can choose to use when needed – it is as all-pervasive as the air we breathe. The high-speed globalized world absolutely requires technology to be utilized in a creative, flexible, responsible, and to an extent, playful manner.

Students are encouraged to freely use technology to learn, create, communicate, and even to aid them in their search for identity. Digital citizenship is considered an important part of global citizenship. Practical knowledge is somewhat looked down upon because of its high rate of becoming outdated in today’s world.

I agree in general, but let’s not forget one very important thought. Creativity, critical thinking, and innovation are all skills needed to survive and function within society. A change in emphasis here reflects social dynamics.

But what about the “timeless” skills, the ones related to survival and function outside of society? If you are alone in the wilderness, creativity is certainly a benefit, but one also needs some basic physical survival skills. As we get more and more surrounded by and dependent on technology, let’s not let those practical skills atrophy. Many people may not realize how brittle the technological framework really is – a cataclysm, an armed conflict, an epidemy, or a shortage of resources may ruin it in a matter of days and leave human civilization in pieces. We can always use the knowledge of how to cook from scratch, how to start a fire, or how to build a log cabin.

Does the younger generation that uses internet in most creative of ways know those skills?

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