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Know the ISTE Standards for Teachers 2

By Helen Crompton 7/21/2014 Standards

ISTE Standard-T 2: Design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessments .

Teachers design, develop and evaluate authentic learning experiences and assessments incorporating contemporary tools and resources to maximize content learning in context and develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes identified in the ISTE Standards for Teachers.

The way learning and teaching happens in today's classrooms often looks very different than it did just a decade ago. A big part of this change is the increasing number and variety of digital resources available for educators and learners. These new digital tools make it possible for teachers to offer more student-centered learning experiences and allow students to better meet their diverse learning styles, working strategies and abilities.

Consider this lesson from a ninth grade social studies class. One of the Common Core State Standards for reading requires students to be able to analyze seminal U.S. documents of historical and literary significance, such as Washington's Farewell Address, the Gettysburg Address, Roosevelt's Four Freedoms speech and Martin Luther King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail," including how they address related themes and concepts. For additional guidance, teachers can also consult the ISTE Standard for Teachers 2, which asks teachers to "design, develop and evaluate authentic learning experiences and assessments incorporating contemporary tools and resources."

Take a look at three possible ways to approach this lesson in the table below. 

Standard 2: Design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessments. Teachers design, develop and evaluate authentic learning experiences and assessments incorporating contemporary tools and resources to maximize content learning in context and to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes identified in the ISTE Standards for Teachers. Activity 1: The teacher uses a textbook to provide a copy of the Gettysburg Address. Next, students are required to work individually to write a description of how the speaker/author chose specific words of meaning and tone. Activity 2: The teacher asks the students to choose from a list of seminal U.S. documents of historical and literary significance from primary source digital archives. Next, students are required to work individually to write a description of how the speaker/author chose specific words of meaning and tone. Activity 3: The teacher asks the students to choose from a list of seminal U.S. documents of historical and literary significance from primary source digital archives. Next, students are given a choice of working with their choice of digital technology to document and present (to the teacher or the class) how the speaker/author chose specific words for meaning and tone. Students may work individually or with a partner for this task.
a. Design or adapt relevant learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and resources to promote student learning and creativity. Absent: Students use no digital tools to complete this task. Addresses: The teacher shows students how they can access historical primary documents from the internet. Addresses: The teacher shows students how they can access historical primary documents from the internet.
b. Develop technology-enriched learning environments that enable all students to pursue their individual curiosities and become active participants in setting their own educational goals, managing their own learning and assessing their own progress. Absent: Students do not have a choice what they read or how they present their findings. The teacher has provided students with a copy of a speech, and no technology is used. Partially Addresses: The teacher allows the students to choose which historical and literary documents they wish to study. Students do not have the opportunity to choose to work with others, however, or how to present their work. Addresses: The teacher has allowed the students to choose which historical and literary documents they wish to study. The students also have a choice of digital presentation tools and must decide how to manage their own time and presentation style.
c. Customize and personalize learning activities to address students' diverse learning styles, working strategies and abilities using digital tools and resources. Absent: The lesson is not personalized in any way and does not use digital tools and resources. Absent: The lesson is not personalized in any way and uses digital tools and resources only at the beginning of the activity. Addresses: The teacher gives the students the choice of working individually or in pairs for this activity, and they are allowed to choose their digital tools and resources.
d. Provide students with multiple and varied formative and summative assessments aligned with content and technology standards and use resulting data to inform learning and teaching. Absent: The final product can be used as a formative/summative assessment, but students do not have multiple ways to present that information. Absent: The final product can be used as a formative/summative assessment, but students do not have multiple ways to present that information. Addresses: The teacher can assess whether the students meet the learning objective based on the evidence of understanding they present using their chosen method.


As you can see, Activity 1 does not meet any of the Standard 2 indicators. The students are working toward the Common Core learning objective. However, the task is teacher driven, and the students do not have the opportunity to use any digital tools or resources. The teacher provides the same text to all students and asks them to present their findings for the task in a predetermined way. The activity does not allow students to exercise any creativity or give them the chance to make the task their own.


In Activity 2, the teacher has started the lesson well by allowing the students access to primary source documents. The students select these documents themselves from sources such as the National Archives, which offers hundreds of photographs, documents and film clips from the federal collection. The students can choose the literature/speech they evaluate based on their personal preferences and curiosities. The teacher has addressed the standard's first indicator by offering the students digital resources from the internet. She also partially addresses the second indicator by giving the students the initial choice of what to read. Before these digital resources became available, teachers had to use textbook copies and describe the qualities of the original document to the students.

Robin Pelt assisted in writing this article. She works as a teacher at Meadowbrook High School in Virginia.

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