I often think about how much school has changed since I started teaching almost 20 years ago. I didn’t have a computer, mobile phones were large and bulky, and the information I could use to teach my students was limited to what was in the library, our textbook or what I could copy on a handout. Even with these limitations, I always felt a great responsibility to carefully select the most effective learning materials for my students.
In today’s digital classroom, the access to information and resources is seemingly infinite. Whether it’s a virtual reality field trip or a database that helps streamline our ability to find and vet information, there’s no shortage of resources that could be amazing in the classroom. So more than ever before, the responsibility we have as educators to curate the very best learning resources for our students remains one of the few constants.
Every single opportunity our students have to interact with a specific tool or content should be an intentional decision on our part, based on what we want them to learn. That means we have to think about everything from the learning goals for a lesson to terms of service, and how a specific website or provider is approaching student data privacy. It means we have to keep in mind that all content is not created equal, and that we must choose wisely in order for our students to have the experiences and conversations that will help them become critical consumers themselves. And it means we must be strategic about what we use so that we provide students enough experiences that they’ll be able to make their own choices.
The ISTE Standards for Students are an extraordinary guide that has shifted the conversation from what we want students to do to who we want them to be. By the same token, the Educator Standards and Leader Standards can serve as a guide for the work we do every day to support students.
Our daily realities are rife with decisions that must be made in the best interest of our students. The same is true for ISTE as we think about the role we have in education and the contributions we make to the greater education community. We continue to look ahead and recognize that we, too, share a similar responsibility to support and lead, and we look forward to continuing on this journey.
Please don’t hesitate to connect with the board using #ISTEBoard or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And when you see us at events, please share your thoughts on ISTE and how we can continue to support you in all your efforts!
Bill Bass is president of the ISTE Board of Directors.