Understanding the ISTE Standards for Students

Learn more about the ISTE standards for students
Contributed By

H. L.

Assistant Principal

Understanding the ISTE Standards for Students

Posted in Pro Tips | November 26, 2018

What is ISTE and How do the Standards Benefit Students?

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is an international advocacy organization that seeks to "transform teaching and learning" through technology and adherence to the ISTE Standards.

The ISTE Standards for Students are perhaps the most critical because the purpose of education is to ensure student learning. The learning environment is technology rich as never before, a trend that is only accelerating. The following standards are geared to empower student voice and ensure that learning is a student-driven process.

Empowered Learner

Empowered learners find meaning and motivation in their work. They feel capable, confident, and prepared. The Ohio Teacher Evaluation System (OTES) requires lessons to be "student-led, with the teacher in the role of facilitator" at the "Accomplished" rating level. Students aren't necessarily in control, but they are prepared to lead.

Example: Students engage in a turn-based imperialism simulation in which they have authored learning goals for their selected nation state, developed and executed research and simulation strategies via edtech tools (1.a), and receive real-time feedback from the teacher via the class learning management system (LMS) that they use to improve their performance over time (1.c).

Digital Citizen

Digital citizens behave in a professional, ethical, and safe manner when using technology resources. They actively use technology resources with an eye toward creating a positive benefit for society as a whole. Digital citizenship is just an extension of good civic behavior via technology.

The ISTE Standards require students to think critically about being caretakers of their permanent online reputations, make positive behavior choices, respect intellectual property rights, and how they can be safe online and keep their personal data secure.

Example: Across a high school business/computer department, students are introduced to a professional social media platform (such as LinkedIn) and author plans to manage their online reputations (2.a). In all classes, students help determine standards for professional communication, particularly when using the school's LMS (2.b).

Knowledge Constructor

One of the most critical challenges we currently face across society is the ability to build accurate, credible, reliable knowledge bases from which to make good decisions as citizens, family members, workers, and consumers.

ISTE indicators in this area seek to build students' research skills and how they view sources of information with a more critical eye. Students are thus prepared to create curated collections that represent the forging of connections and drawing of conclusions that build an accurate base of knowledge.

Example: Students researching the North Korean nuclear controversy become educated in a source quality analysis technique, such as the popular CRAAP Test used by many universities (3.b), and draw meaningful and accurate conclusions about the crisis from carefully considered and curated resources (3.c and 3.d).

Innovative Designer

Thinkers of all stripes, from architects and engineers to artists, use some kind of deliberative, step-by-step process to consider and implement their designs. Students following the ISTE Standards know and use such a process, combined with the use of digital tools. They engage in the design cycle of developing, testing, and refining prototypical models, and learn to live with the open-ended, chaotic, ambiguous world of complex problem-solving.

Example: Students in a STEM-centered design class must construct a chair out of cardboard that can support their weight. Each partner pair engages in the class-defined design process (4.a) and uses mind-mapping, drawing, and project planning software to manage the work (4.b). Students construct, test, and adjust a model before delivering the final project (4.c). Each group is revealed to have produced a slightly different solution to the open-ended class problem (4.d).

Computational Thinker

This sounds intimidating at first, but it's really about students developing logical descriptions of problems and using the appropriate edtech tools to break down, analyze, and solve them.

Example: Students studying polling techniques in AP Government define a political science problem relevant to their community (5.a), conduct and analyze a survey of a sample of the school population via a cloud-based form (5.b), and break down the results in several interesting ways at a local community meeting (5.c).

Creative Communicator

Students must learn the essential skill of communicating their ideas and how to use varied edtech tools to meet their individual learning goals. This standard area encompasses everything from communicating ideas to fellow classmates to publishing complex digital remixes for consumption by a target audience.

Example: Sophomores are studying the Harlem Renaissance and tasked with the completion of an interdisciplinary digital remix project in which students must link history, geography, and politics to classic works by Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, etc.. Students are to select an appropriate presentation platform (6.a), create an original remix that matches project standards (6.b), and publish the content to the school LMS for peer review and feedback (6.d).

Global Collaboration

Interconnected as never before, students should learn to use edtech to think big picture, expand their cultural horizons, and engage in meaningful collaborative work with others, both in class/school and around the world.

Example: In an upper-level Spanish class, students learn about the people and culture of Mexico. The teacher sets up a video chat through the LMS with students at a "sister school" in Mexico (7.a). Her students engage with the other class to learn more about if/how family structures, relationships, and/or traditions differ between Mexico and the United States (7.b).

Student Learning is the Ultimate Goal

By implementing the ISTE Standards for Students, you are providing a pathway for student voice, choice, and empowerment to achieve their educational goals, accompanied and enhanced by technology. EdTech is nothing without the "ed" and the ISTE Standards will help you stay laser focused on outcomes for students.

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