It’s graduation season. A time when students, parents, and teachers celebrate the years of hard work that culminated in this ceremonious completion of high school. Of course, graduation is less a culminating event, and more of a handoff from one life stage to the next, and the true success of the first stage is really determined by students’ readiness for the next one. Increasingly, that means preparing students with the technical skills needed to thrive in the modern workforce. However, while computer science instruction is emerging in schools, there is uneven application and some uncertainty about what exactly students need to know to be prepared for advanced training at the post-secondary level. The International Society for Technology (ISTE) is working to resolve this discrepancy by publishing educational technology standards that provide clear guidelines for educators and curriculum developers to follow when implementing technology education into the curriculum.
The ISTE standards make a multifaceted contribution to 21st-century learning. First, the ISTE standards help teachers better understand their role in the modern classroom by establishing five priorities for teaching students in the digital age: facilitate learning, design and develop digital learning experiences, model digital work, promote and model digital citizenship, and engage in professional growth. These guidelines are not antithetical to what teachers are already doing. Rather, they are stated priorities that help teachers best understand their role so that they can most effectively prepare students to be successful both in their classroom and beyond. Notably, the ISTE standards for teachers do not diminish the teachers’ role in student development. Instead, they highlight the important role of teachers as they both develop technologically innovative lessons and as they model appropriate, comprehensive digital awareness.
In addition to outlining teachers’ roles in technology education, the ISTE standards for students guide student learning by identifying seven identities of a digital learner and deconstructing those traits through a series of actionable indicators. It’s important to note that the ISTE standards are not methodological, meaning they don’t address how students should learn, but rather they express the traits of successful learning and the identifiable skills associated with those traits. Therefore, teachers have broad authority to construct the best learning opportunities for the students in their classrooms to ensure that students are fully equipped to be successful after leaving the classroom. Knowing that the proverbial phrase “it takes a village” most certainly applies to education, ISTE developed standards for administrators, coaches, and computer science teachers so that everyone can contribute to the process of preparing students for 21st-century success.
Each of these standard sets outline the skills that students must have to be successful both during and after school. They help the entire education spectrum identify these skills while still allowing their unique ideas, talents, and passions to illuminate the skills for the betterment of all students. Kami understands this importance, and they want to be a part of seeing students thrive while in the classroom and after they walk across the graduation stage. Therefore, Kami is attending ISTE 2017 from June 25 – 28 in San Antonio. If you’re attending the conference, come introduce yourself at booth 604. We would love to meet you, to hear about how you’re preparing students, and to know how we can help you do that better. Bring your ideas, questions, and stories, and we will see you there!