Widespread adoption of the Common Core State Standards represents a major shift in the focus and policy of the U.S. education system. Like all big transitions, the move to this new framework will have its challenges. Fortunately, educators who understand and use the ISTE Standards are already well prepared to embrace the new — and necessary — emphasis on higher-order thinking skills and real-world problem solving.
New skills for a new world
Both the Common Core and the ISTE Standards recognize that education as it’s always been done is not enough in the digital age. When we all have anytime, anywhere access to a universe of facts, an emphasis on top-down knowledge delivery and rote memorization no longer makes sense. Instead, we must embrace new pedagogies that make the most of our students’ innate drive to learn, create and collaborate. Likewise, in a competitive global economy that demands innovation and strategic thinking, we must help students build their critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. And in an environment where change is the only constant, we must foster a lifelong love of learning.
The ISTE Standards also share with the Common Core an emphasis on using technology — not for technology’s sake, but as a tool for leap-frogging over lower-order thinking skills, such as rote memorization, to focus our energies on research and media literacy, creativity, collaboration, problem solving, and critical thinking.
Technology also gives us the power to do things we’ve never been able to do before, like work in real time with experts and peers across the globe, express our knowledge in a wide range of media, and disseminate our ideas to far-flung, authentic audiences. These new capacities are revolutionizing the way we communicate, work and live. We must prepare the next generation not only to use these new tools, but also to foster the habits of mind that will enable them to keep up in their changing world.
Learn more about the ISTE Standards