15. The Role of Technology in the Curriculum

In preparation for further education, employment, citizenship, and lifelong learning, students and teachers must be capable of deriving meaning from information by using a wide variety of information literacy skills. By virtue of the fact that Virtual High School courses are entirely online, students will experience firsthand the benefits of a technologically enriched education and thereby acquire skills for the 21st century. Increasing reliance on computers, networks, and information technologies in society makes it essential for students to become computer literate and to develop information literacy skills. Information literacy is the ability to access, find, select, gather, critically evaluate, create, and communicate information. Virtual High School places a great deal of emphasis on using the information obtained to solve problems and make decisions.

15.1 Software Programs for Students

As part of their training in computer and information literacy, students should become familiar with a wide range of available software programs. Among the applications that can aid student learning are simulations, multimedia resources, databases, and computer-assisted learning modules, many of which have been developed for use in particular disciplines. Students will also be expected to use software applications that help them develop general skills in such areas as writing, problem solving, research, and communication. It is important that students learn to critically evaluate the accuracy, validity, currency, comprehensiveness, and depth of the information they access using information technology, particularly the Internet. In general, students must acquire the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to allow them to use computer and information technology safely, effectively, confidently, and ethically.

15.2 Collaboration Tools for Teachers

The curriculum writers for Virtual High School work collaboratively within and across disciplines to effectively plan for the integration of computers and information technologies into the teaching/learning process. As the technology capable of enhancing student learning becomes available, our teachers should, within a reasonable period of time, incorporate that technology into their planning of instruction and learning activities in individual disciplines and, collaboratively, across disciplines. Effective communication programs can also help to promote the development of information literacy skills among all students by supporting and coordinating the collaborative planning and implementation of reading programs, inquiry and research tasks, and independent study.