Tag Archives: ISTE Standards for Teachers

Reaching Out to ISTE

I am continuing to build my Demo Course, entitled “The Technology-Savvy Educator,” which is aligned to one of the ISTE Standards for Teachers (International Society for Technology in Education, 2008). Specifically, I am designing this Course as a seven-week course of study, which will be available on CourseSites, intended for teachers who would like to deepen their understanding of how to use visual media tools like G Suite for Education, YouTube, EDpuzzle, Kahoot, and Quizizz to enhance their students’ learning and creative capacity. I am imagining that this Course, or at least portions of it, will be useful for EdTech trainers, TOSAs, and, technology mentor teachers.

Although I’m building this course and its learning activities primarily for the teachers I work with in my local school district, much of the Course overlaps with the ISTE Standards. So, I am hoping to reach out to ISTE for support, partnership, and advice as I continue to develop it. I have been an active member of ISTE since I took my current job position as a District EdTech Specialist, and I attended the 2016 ISTE Conference & Expo in Denver. I am already registered to attend this June’s annual event in San Antonio (International Society for Technology in Education, 2017). Although the deadline for session presentation submissions has passed, a “New Ideas” window opens next week, and I hope to pursue the possibility of presenting my Course, which will be completed just in time, at a poster session at the conference.

I’m also excited about the possibility of meeting peers from around the world who share a similar professional interest in developing EdTech professional learning resources for teachers. Who knows, perhaps I might be able to find one or more partners, either within ISTE or among the professionals who might drop by my poster session, who might be willing to coordinate efforts to create a larger set of technology training resources. Or, conversely, maybe such a grassroots tech training project may already exist that I would like to join. It may even be possible that someone involved with either ISTE or one of its affiliate organizations may notice this very blog post and reach out to me to get the ball rolling…

If your job includes training teachers to use technology, whether formally or informally, you know it can be challenging to find colleagues with whom to partner and collaborate professionally. Teaching can already be a lonely profession because most teachers spend the bulk of their work days in classrooms full of children, with very limited opportunities to communicate with other adults. This problem is compounded for tech trainers, many of whom must split their training responsibilities with part-time or full-time teaching jobs, and/or may have no one with a similar job at their school site–or even at their entire district.

I am blessed to share an office with two of the very best EdTech Specialists anywhere who are my partners. Plus, I have dozens of other colleagues within my District Office including Instructional Coaches, Ed Services staff, and Technology staff. In fact, my two partners have helped me present one component of my new Course, the YouTube Diner, at the CUE National Conference last month in Palm Springs. They even went along with my crazy idea to wear costumes at our poster session.

Our team presenting YouTube for teachers at the CUE National Conference on March 17, 2017.

Even if you’re fortunate like me and have terrific partners to work with, we all need to reach out and build the broadest Professional Learning Network that we can. After all, our work is far too complex–and too important–to be done in isolation. The great thing about technology is that you don’t really have to travel to a faraway technology conference to connect with colleagues. All you need is an internet connection and a willingness to reach out!


International Society for Technology in Education. (2008). ISTE standards for teachers. Retrieved from http://iste.org/standards

International Society for Technology in Education. (2017). ISTE 2017 conference & expo. Retrieved from https://conference.iste.org/2017/


Using Google Sites to Create a Portfolio that Teachers Will Really Use

Since I left the classroom to work as an EdTech Specialist in my district, I didn’t think it would be appropriate to design a Demo Unit based on K-12 content standards such as the Common Core or NGSS. Rather, because my students are adult teachers with students of their own, I needed to find a set of standards that address professional learning and practice for teachers using technology in their classrooms. Fortunately, such a set of standards already exists; in fact, the ISTE Standards for Teachers have been adopted and used by many educators (International Society for Technology in Education, 2008).

For the purposes of my Demo Unit, I have selected ISTE Teacher Standard 2a, which states that teachers “[d]esign or adapt relevant learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and resources to promote student learning and creativity” (International Society for Technology in Education, 2008, p. 1). I selected this standard because I try not to dazzle my teachers with all of the latest technological tools, but rather to show them how technology tools can be thoughtfully and strategically used to support and enhance student learning. I love this particular standard because it focuses on using technology tools to support not only student learning, but also creativity. I am convinced that technology should not be used only as a substitute for traditional textbook-based instruction. Teachers should also use technology to allow their students to create meaningful products with relevance to their everyday lives.



In keeping with the spirit of 21st Century learning, this standard’s key verb is to design, which occupies perhaps the highest position on Bloom’s taxonomy (Armstrong, 2017). In my school district, we spend a lot of time and resources on thoughtful lesson design. I work in the Education Services division of my District Office, where I frequently collaborate with our twelve Instructional Coaches on lesson studies and concept-building activities with grade-level and subject-area teams of teachers. We often help teachers build complete lessons using complex templates that incorporate instructional norms including lesson objectives, content and skill development, embedded checks for understanding, relevance, and (of course) technology.


My teachers work in virtually every type of classroom imaginable, from transitional kindergarten to adult school, including both general-education and special-education settings. Thus, it is important for my summative assessment to be open-ended enough that each teacher would be able to create a practical and relevant project that could be used with his or her own students. I decided the best way to accomplish this goal was to assign my teachers to construct an online portfolio of lessons, learning activities, and assessments using the New Google Sites.

The ISTE Standard gives the option of designing or adapting lessons; therefore, it isn’t essential that the teacher personally design each item in the portfolio from scratch. In fact, teachers need to know how to efficiently and strategically adapt preexisting lesson resources to meet their students’ needs. The rubric for this portfolio won’t focus excessively on details of the artifacts themselves. Rather, I hope to focus my teachers’ attention mainly on the planning, feedback, and reflection associated with each artifact. In the end, I want my teachers to design a portfolio of technology-based lesson resources that they, their colleagues, and their students will really use.


Armstrong, P. (2017). Bloom’s taxonomy. Retrieved from Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching: https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/blooms-taxonomy/

International Society for Technology in Education. (2008). ISTE standards for teachers. Retrieved from http://iste.org/standards