More than 100,000 education stakeholders throughout the world take advantage of the wide range of programs and services that the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) offers. Besides using ISTE Standards for learning and teaching, they engage in webinars, face-to-face and virtual conferences or local trainings. They can join any of the 29 ISTE Professional Learning Networks.
“ISTE is an incredibly passionate, dedicated nonprofit focused on supporting educators as they embrace, and help their students to embrace, learning with technology,” says ISTE CEO Brian Lewis. “We often say, ‘It’s not about the technology, it’s about learning and teaching,’ and that’s exactly right.”
The organization’s expertise cuts across all those programs and offerings.
For instance, ISTE’s new Lead & Transform Diagnostic Tool allows educators to measure progress along each of the “Essential Conditions,” the 14 critical elements necessary to effectively leverage technology for learning. The Essential Conditions are the foundation of ISTE’s Standards for learning and teaching.
The ISTE Standards team regularly refreshes the five sets of standards for digital age teaching and learning. In 2016, an updated version of the Standards for students will be released at the organization’s annual conference.
And one of the newest programs ISTE offers is the Verizon Mobile Learning Academy, a free, virtual professional learning program designed for school teams that are integrating mobile technology into learning and teaching.
In 2014, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, ISTE created Project ReimaginEd, a new social learning community dedicated to redesigning learning activities that meet ISTE Standards and the Common Core State Standards. At the end of the 2015, ISTE members will have collaborated on the creation of 200 sample lessons, artifacts and resources.
“Education must continue to innovate,” Lewis says. “The rapid pace of global change means we must be in a continuous state of improvement and growth. As educators and education leaders, we have to empower students to succeed in and create a world we can’t anticipate.”
Of course, change is hard, and deep change in education is harder.
“The good news is that we’re getting better at it,” Lewis offers. “We’ve seen enough successes that we’re learning much more about how to do deep, serious innovation in education. We’re broadening not only the definition of student success, but our understanding of how to achieve it, and we will continue to do so.”
Lewis believes that three key factors help ISTE to innovate in education:
We accept that the pace of change is going to continue and education will continue to evolve – probably faster than ever. The school culture can set a powerful example of lifelong learning to deal with change and uncertainty.
We create non-punitive cultures that value what is learned from mistakes. If we’re not making mistakes, we’re not innovating. We need to live up to our promise to support one another as lifelong learners.
We promote collaboration through the evolution from traditional teacher isolation to collegial support. All of us in education are going to need vibrant, ongoingprofessional development, as well as an environment that encourages us to learn from and share with peers.
“We must think deeply about everyaspect of learning,” Lewis concludes. “ISTE opens opportunities for teachers to test their theories with like-minded peers. We collaborate with others across the industry to create different pathways for success by equipping and empowering educators to embrace a constantly evolving future and supporting them in their lifelong learning. In turn, they create digital learning environments that inspire and excite students.”
IST is a two-time Learning! 100 winner.