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Technology standards for educators

New York Teacher

As technology transforms every corner of our lives, we teachers grapple with how to integrate it into our classrooms to enrich learning. In June, the International Society for Technology in Education unveiled new standards for educators that can serve as a road map for that process. The new standards focus on how teaching and learning can be deepened by using technology in the classroom. The standards also promote the empowerment of both teachers and students through the meaningful integration of technology.

The last time the standards had been updated was in 2008 — you may know them by their prior name, the NETS standards — and with innumerable changes in technology, society and teaching over the past nine years, it was certainly time for an upgrade.

ISTE began soliciting input from educators in 2016 to refresh the standards. It formed working groups and received feedback from more than 2,000 educators around the globe before the standards were finalized. (ISTE also publishes standards for students and administrators; new student standards were released last year, and standards for administrators are anticipated in 2018.)

The standards were crafted to help teachers navigate choices and make decisions as they integrate technology into the curriculum.

The seven educator standards are:

1. Learner: Educators continually improve their practice by learning from and with others and exploring proven and promising practices that leverage technology to improve student learning.

2. Leader: Educators seek out opportunities for leadership to support student empowerment and success and to improve teaching and learning.

3. Citizen: Educators inspire students to positively contribute to and responsibly participate in the digital world.

4. Collaborator: Educators dedicate time to collaborate with both colleagues and students to improve practice, discover and share resources and ideas, and solve problems.

5. Designer: Educators design authentic, learner-driven activities and environments that recognize and accommodate learner variability.

6. Facilitator: Educators facilitate learning with technology to support student achievement of the 2016 ISTE Standards for Students.

7. Analyst: Educators understand and use data to drive their instruction and support students in achieving their learning goals.

Teachers can jump in at their current level, perhaps reaching many standards at the same time, and sophisticated users can also explore new avenues to expand their knowledge.

What are some ways you can expand your technology knowledge and use these standards to guide your own teaching practice?

Collaborate with other educators to share knowledge and ideas at your school, in your district or even online. Visit the UFT website to read the Linking to Learning article, “Technology PD for Teachers,” from the March 2016 issue of the New York Teacher.

Take an online or after-school course in technology integration. The UFT offers courses, as does the After School Professional Development Program (ASPDP) through the Department of Education. Not only will you increase your technology knowledge, but you may also qualify for P-credits, salary-step advancement and/or certificates of completion.

Join a technology organization, get involved and attend a conference. The ISTE Conference, held annually, is unparalleled in its scope and the presentation of cutting-edge ideas. View the indicators for each educator standard and ideas for implementation on its website. For a more local group, check out the New York State Association for Computers and Technologies in Education, which offers its own conference, local meetups, workshops and more.

Look for free workshops offered by technology companies such as Apple or Microsoft. Yes, they promote their own products, but you can gain knowledge that you can adapt to your own needs at no cost.