Thursday, June 25, 2015

ISTE Conference 2015

I am beside myself with excitement as I prepare to head to Philadelphia to the International Society for Technology in Education Conference and Expo. I missed last year due to still recovering from a broken leg, so I am more than ready to go soak up the learning and the networking with others to bring back ideas for our students and teachers.

ISTE, among many other things, is the organization that established the educational technology Standards for Students that are broadly accepted as what our students need to be doing with technology. The Iowa Core 21st Century Technology Standards are based on the ISTE standards. The exciting thing is that these ISTE standards for students are updated every few years, and this year is the beginning of the latest updating process.

I remember when the standards moved several years ago from a very specific technology skills based focus to a much more robust set of standards that take into account the capabilities of technology to learn and to work. Take a look at what the standards look like today:
  1. Creativity and innovation
  2. Communication and collaboration
  3. Research and information fluency
  4. Critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making
  5. Digital citizenship
  6. Technology operations and concepts

We all need these skills to function in our global society for both learning and working. No longer can we use checklists of technology skills like "insert a picture" or "cut and paste" or "create a graph from data" exclusively as our measure of a student's technology skills. Yes, those things are important, but in a global world:
  • where students can interact directly with authors or scientists or students from other countries,
  • where students can gather maps and original documents and historical photographs at the click of a few buttons,
  • where students can organize massive quantities of data into meaningful arguments,
  • where students can code their own video games or apps,
  • and where students can become published writers and artists and receive feedback on their work instantaneously,
we cannot return to the old school ways of educating where teachers and textbooks are the source of all knowledge, and students are treated like little sponges soaking up that limited knowledge.

I look forward to seeing where the ISTE Standards for Students will evolve, and I get goose bumps when I think about the educators who will have the input as to what those new standards should look like.

ISTE Conference, here I come. I can't wait to learn!

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