Talking Tech: The New 2016 ISTE Standards for Students

Before I get into the new standards for students and how they can be utilized in the classroom, I decided to read the comprehensive Redefining learning in a technology-driven world (2016) report written by the International Society for Technology in Education (“ISTE”) to have a better idea as to what circumstances brought about this third update.

The upcoming series of blog posts will include information about this much-needed update, and then get into the seven standards for students- unpacking them and providing readers/educators with classroom resources and activities that support implementation of each.

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In this first blog post in the series, I share findings from the above-mentioned report. I hope you find it useful and continue to learn and examine the new standards with me as I examine each of them.

So why do we need new technology standards?

As technology continued to evolve, schools and educators worldwide realized that clearer guidelines were needed in order to match the learning environment in the classroom with the world outside it. In the same manner we no longer use wall maps, floppy discs, 35 mm film or cassettes (we do miss them, though!), so have schools been changing- from computer labs to laptop carts to one-to-one environments in which technology is utilized to not only substitute existing tools, but to innovate and extend learning. These changes in equipment and tools were the first part of our educational evolution, but we soon learned that having the tools does not mean we know what to do with them. It is necessary to focus on leveraging these technologies to create a real transformation in our schools and our world.

Hence, the 2016 ISTE Standards were designed with a focus on pedagogy, not tools. They provide a framework for using technology to begin this transformation in our schools, and to prepare students for life in an uncertain future. The new standards aim to develop students with diverse skills, nimble minds, technologically savvy, future focused and adaptable- citizens who are empowered to have a voice and choice in their learning journey.

The 2016 standards provide guidelines, knowledge and approaches necessary to learning in the digital age. It is encouraging to learn that the new standards are research-based and were created with participation and feedback from credible institutions and educators around the world. To quote the report, “…Throughout the standards refresh process, ISTE’s methodology has been collaborative, purposive and grounded.” And so, a framework was created with both the present and the (unknown) future in mind.

As I mentioned above, in the next blog posts I will unpack each of the new standards and provide classroom activities and resources. Stay tuned…