Stretching towards Becoming an ISTE Certified Educator
Written by: Dianna Knox
Many educators are always seeking ways to hone their craft and do what they do better. As a lover of educational technology, I am fascinated by ways I can transform my teaching through the intentional blending of technology with more traditional instructional practices. Though our district has been 1:1 since 2014, it wasn’t until I made the move from the classroom into the coach’s role that I began to learn about ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) and the ISTE Standards.
I’ll be the first to admit that, at first, I was overwhelmed by what I was reading and hearing. It sure sounded like a lot to manage! But I quickly learned the ISTE Educator Standards are a beacon to guide teachers in weaving educational technology more intentionally and pedagogically in practice.
When the Indiana Department of Education’s Office of Digital Learning announced the Digital Learning Coach Mini-Grant in the fall of 2022 I was encouraged to consider budgeting to participate in Keep Indiana Learning’s first-ever Indiana cohort to become an ISTE Certified Educator. In discussing the grant with some of my fellow coaches around the state, we all agreed to embark on this journey together. It’s worth noting ISTE offers the Certified Educator program in cycles all throughout the year, but knowing I was going to be working with fellow Hoosier educators who I already have a relationship with and who often share the same goals was a big incentive for me.
“Our minds were stretched, our practice was improved, and we conquered many of our apprehensions.”
The term “lifelong learner” is thrown about like confetti sometimes, but I really feel this applies to me. I love to continually learn and expand my knowledge in order to improve my practice. Venturing forth with a grant application which included the ISTE Certified Educator Cohort as well as attending the 2023 ISTE Conference in Philadelphia, I anxiously awaited grant notification day!
The grant was successful, and as we moved toward the beginning of the cohort, the nerves set in! Those nerves were quickly assuaged because our leaders were supportive, and this cohort of more than 25 educators was innovative, inspiring, and encouraging as we traversed the coursework portion of the journey to become ISTE Certified. Our minds were stretched, our practice was improved, and we conquered many of our apprehensions. I can even recall the standards and indicators by number now! After the coursework is complete, learners have six months to complete and submit the portfolio of work. Keep Indiana Learning arranged to have Indiana cohort-specific office hours for localized support. The scheduled collaboration days to work on the portfolio have been invaluable. We’re quickly moving to the due date for our portfolios, and I’m anxious to have earned that badge of ISTE Certified Educator.
My professional practice has definitely been shaped and improved by a greater knowledge of and keener insight into the ISTE Educator Standards. But my personal life has also been enriched by the deeper friendships I’ve developed with some of my fellow cohort members. One thing I quickly learned when I stepped into the technology coaching role in my district is that this job, much like being in the classroom, is even better when you have someone (or a collection of someones!) on the same page as you. Going through this cohort will help create or grow that network of people for you.
“Going through this cohort will help create or grow that network of people for you.”
If you are interested in stretching your mind and taking a deeper dive into the ISTE Standards for Educators, I encourage you to join Keep Indiana Learning’s Cohort 2 which begins on September 14, 2023. Registration for this cohort closes on August 31 and more information can be found at this link or in the events page.