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What does a digital age education leader look like?

By Sarah Stoeckl
June 25, 2017
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In 2016, ISTE updated the ISTE Standards for Students, which further a vision for empowered, student-driven learning. On Sunday, we released the new ISTE Standards for Educators, which catalyze the Student Standards and also encourage educators of all stripes to be empowered professionals.The feedback we received for both sets of standards resonated with a recurrent theme: Little of this vision is viable without the support of dedicated education leaders.

We at ISTE know this need is real. The Student Standards are the foundation, because supporting and educating students for a complicated, tech-infused future are why we do what we do. The Educator Standards are the scaffold, supporting the efforts of those working most closely with students. And the ISTE Standards for Administrators are the linchpin, able to temper vision with logistics and keep education moving forward for our students with adequate support throughout a system.

So naturally ISTE is turning our attention to the refresh of the ISTE Standards for Administrators. On Sunday, 200 educators, many of them district and school leaders, gathered at ISTE 2017 to begin the yearlong process of teasing out what the next generation of ISTE Standards for Administrators should look like. Looking ahead 10 years, the educators in the room brought up digital equity and digital citizenship, student voice and student choice, teacher training and teacher professional development as some of the areas that the next administrator standards need to address.  

The new leader-focused standards will have many challenges:

  1. Support the learning in the ISTE Standards for Students and the professionalism of the ISTE Standards for Educators.

  2. Reflect new changes — both challenges and opportunities — that have arisen since the standards were last refreshed in 2009.

  3. Support education leaders as they become agents of change that transform their learning culture to take advantage of technology to deepen learning.

ISTE cannot do this work alone. We invite all education stakeholders, not only leaders, to share your answer to the question, “What does a digital age education leader look like?” by hosting a feedback forum with an ISTE-provided toolkit — at a conference or with colleagues — or giving your perspective via the individual survey.

Sarah Stoeckl, Ph.D., is a senior project manager in ISTE's standards department. Her work focuses on the refresh of the ISTE Standards and implementation of the standards in education.