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Lend your voice to the teacher standards refresh

By Team ISTE
October 1, 2016
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Thousands of educators worldwide provided input that shaped the aspirational, student-driven 2016 ISTE Standards for Students. Now it's time for the next logical step — the refresh of the ISTE Standards for Teachers, an effort that was launched at ISTE 2016 in Denver.

"If the changes to the student standards were educators restating the what for students —what we want our students to know and be able to do in a digital world — the new teacher standards will inform the how,” explains Jim Flanagan, ISTE chief learning services officer.

And just as with the student standards refresh, getting to that how must include input from educators around the globe.

RAISE YOUR VOICE. Get involved in the teacher standards refresh.

"The standards as a whole create a beacon, a bright light, and they are informed overwhelmingly by educators. They created these standards, so the 2016 student standards are essentially educators saying, 'This is what we want to help students to pursue.' ISTE wants the same intense level of input to guide the refresh of the teacher standards," Flanagan says.

The refresh process is rigorous, similar to but also exceeding models used by other standards organizations. From now through November, ISTE will collect broad feedback on what should be included in the new teacher standards and convene an intense working group of diverse education stakeholders to pull that data together. Late in 2016, we will release a draft for direct public comment and, if needed, a second draft in early 2017. The feedback period closes at the end of February so ISTE can finalize the standards ahead of their release at ISTE 2017 in San Antonio. Once released, the new teacher standards will help educators deliver on the promise of the student standards and inform how educators can continue to evolve their practice and lead the transformation of learning and teaching. 

Here's a look at how some of the concepts included in the new student standards might impact the teacher standards refresh:

Empowerment. A key theme in the student standards, the idea of empowerment, could carry over in the forms of empowered teaching and empowered leading. High-stakes accountability measures often create a sense of rigidity for teachers. With the Every Student Succeeds Act, teachers will be “more empowered to innovate,” Flanagan says. That's because the law encourages use of diverse assessment models, promotes new approaches to literacy, opens the door to creativity in instruction and includes grant funding for education modernization and research.

The student standards also expect students to understand learning sciences so the 2017 teacher standards will likely encourage educators to model their practice based on brain science and cognitive research. 

Personalization. Personalizing learning was a strong thread in the student standards refresh. Personalized professional learning may be the parallel for teachers. Such PL might look like less one-size-fits-all training and more like customized, embedded professional support that matches teachers' needs and interests.

Computational thinking. The idea of students being able to deconstruct problems, work with data and automate solutions might parlay into teaching practice in the form of better use of data to inform targeted improvements. How can teachers demand and, whenever possible, use better real-time data to inform their practice? What teaching tasks might be automated to make better use of teachers’ limited time?

Digital citizenship. Understanding the potential as well as responsibilities and mores of living in a digital world applies to everyone—students, educators, all of us. In the refreshed teacher standards, educators will likely need to highlight the positive power of social media when used thoughtfully and also understand how to both teach and model best practices to keep data private and secure, and to be contributing citizens in both the digital and physical worlds.

Communication. “The demand for teachers to share information is greater than ever,” Flanagan says, “so we have to figure out ways to do that efficiently and effectively.” The new teacher standards might answer questions like: How can educators realistically manage the transition to digital communication to engage and empower parents? How can teachers share and discuss their own digitally-powered pedagogy in ways that move the profession forward? And how can they help the larger community develop an understanding that helps create a space for change and innovation in schools?

Flanagan urges educators to get involved at every phase of the refresh. “The beauty of the open, grass-roots process to create the new teacher standards is that we don't know yet what educators will signal and where they will lead us,” Flanagan says. “That's why input from diverse viewpoints is critical.”

Interested in contributing to the ISTE Standards for Teachers refresh? Click the button below to learn how.

RAISE YOUR VOICE. Get involved in the teacher standards refresh.