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Know the ISTE Standards for Teachers: Keep learning and leading

By Helen Crompton 10/1/2014 Professional learning

ISTE Standards for Teachers 5: Engage in professional growth and leadership.

Teaching can be very isolating at times, and that can be bad for their professional growth. Everyone needs a stimulating environment and connections with others to develop new ideas, strategies and knowledge. We should practice what we preach and model the lifelong learning we encourage in our students.

The best way to learn is to connect with other educators at face-to-face conferences, such as the ISTE Conference & Expo, or within online communities. These are great places to learn at the school, regional, national or international level about ways to use new technologies to extend and enhance student learning. They are also where educators can share their knowledge with others and contribute to the effectiveness, vitality and self-renewal of their profession.

The activities in the table below are similar in several ways. They’re all intended for grade 3-6 social studies. They all share the same objectives: encouraging students to explore Africa and develop a better understanding of its environment and culture, particularly the ancient tradition of oral storytelling. Finally, they all ask the students to consider their own culture and provide an example of one of their own family’s stories. Where they differ is in how the teachers keep their knowledge current, and in whether or not they keep the circle of knowledge intact by sharing their ideas with others.

Standard 5: Engage in professional growth and leadership. Teachers continuously improve their professional practice, model lifelong learning, and exhibit leadership in their school and professional community by promoting and demonstrating the effective use of digital tools and resources.
Activity 1: The teacher asks the students to explore Africa using maps in textbooks. The teacher then describes the ancient tradition of storytelling rooted in cultures and traditions. Students share a family story with a partner. Activity 2: After attending the ISTE Conference & Expo, the teacher returns with the idea to ask the students to explore Africa using Google Earth. The teacher then describes the ancient tradition of storytelling rooted in cultures and traditions. Students write their own family stories, then record them as podcasts to share with other students. Activity 3: After attending the ISTE Conference & Expo, the teacher returns with several ideas. She asks the students to explore Africa using Google Earth. Next, she has the students watch videos of African storytellers telling stories and explaining the ancient tradition of storytelling. They then write their own family stories and record them as podcasts to share with other students. Later, the teacher shares this lesson at a staff training event.
a. Participate in local and global learning communities to explore creative applications of technology to improve student learning. Absent: This teacher has not attended any conferences or participated in online communities to discover new ways to improve student learning. Probably absent: The teacher gained some effective strategies for using technology, such as using Google Earth, at the ISTE Conference. Addressed: The teacher gained some effective strategies for using technology, such as using Google Earth and showing video of authentic African storytellers, at the ISTE Conference.
b. Exhibit leadership by demonstrating a vision of technology infusion, participating in shared decision making and community building, and developing the leadership and technology skills of others. Absent: The teacher did not share skills or ideas with others. Addressed: This teacher did not show leadership by sharing knowledge with others. Addressed: By sharing this lesson at a school staff training event, the teacher has contributed to the skills of others.
c. Evaluate and reflect on current research and professional practice on a regular basis to make effective use of existing and emerging digital tools and resources in support of student learning. Absent: No digital tools were used in this activity, and there is no evidence that the teacher has reflected on or evaluated her practice. Addressed: By attending conferences and connecting with communities such as ISTE’s, the teacher has kept current on effective practices. Addressed: By attending conferences and connecting with communities such as ISTE’s, the teacher has kept current on effective practices.
d. Contribute to the effectiveness, vitality and self-renewal of the teaching profession, the school and the community. Absent: There is no evidence of this teacher contributing to the knowledge of others. Absent: There is no evidence that this teacher has contributed to the knowledge of others. Addressed: This teacher shared knowledge for the benefit of others by offering professional development.

 

Activity 1 does not connect with any of the indicators from this standard. The activity aligns with the objectives for the lesson, but there is no indication that the teacher is actively seeking to improve her professional practice by participating in learning communities, such as conferences or online networks. The lesson does not use digital tools, which could be evidence of lack of knowledge about these tools. Finally, there is no evidence that this teacher is a leader or shares knowledge with others.

Activity 2 begins with the teacher attending a conference, from which she brings back ideas. It addresses the first indicator because she participated in a global community to explore applications and improve student learning. The teacher uses resources from the conference when she asks her students to use Google Earth and podcasting. The main area where this activity is lacking is in the last indicator, as the teacher does not go on to disseminate this knowledge to others or engage in teacher leadership activities.

The teacher in Activity 3 has also attended the ISTE Conference & Expo, where she gained many ideas for enhancing the lesson with digital technologies. As a result, she thinks of asking the students to use Google Earth to explore Africa from a distance as well as close up. She also shows video of authentic African storytellers to explain and demonstrate the tradition, and she has the students record their own family stories as podcasts. Finally, this teacher goes one step further by becoming a teacher leader and presenting this lesson to other educators in the school. This activity addresses all the indicators in Standard 5, as the teacher has taken steps to improve her professional practice by connecting with other educators and exhibits leadership by then sharing what she has learned with others.

Susan Herrington Kidd assisted in writing this article. She is an education graduate student at Old Dominion University in Virginia.

Helen Crompton is an assistant professor of instructional technology at Old Dominion University in Virginia. She is a researcher and educator in the field of instructional technology. She earned her Ph.D. in educational technology and mathematics education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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