Bridge the Gap: The NCCE ISTE Educator Certification
By Miguel Guhlin (@tceamg, TCEA.org) – See Miguel’s bio online: tceamg.org
“The geography of our organization now depends on where you’re standing,” says Dr. Heidi Rogers. Technology bridges the gap that geography makes wide. When teaching and learning span the world, how do you plan and assess success? That’s where the ISTE Educator Standards come in. In this blog entry, we’ll explore the seven standards through the lens of a TCEA and NCCE joint effort.
A Collaborative Partnership: NCCE & TCEA
The face-to-face session took place one weekend, November 17-18, 2018. Educators from many states (e.g. Idaho, Washington, and Montana) explored the ISTE Standards. A TCEA.org Director of Professional Development, Miguel Guhlin, the first Texan to become a certified ISTE Educator, led the exploration. Feedback from participants included the following remarks:
“The training did a great job of pushing my thinking in several areas,” says Darcy Bakkegard (Teacher Ambassador and Professional Development Coach, PBS Teacher Community Program). Darcy made several points, paraphrased below (all errors are mine):
The ISTE Standards shift teachers’ thinking. It assists their movement from teaching set curriculum. The shift makes it possible for them to help students be knowledge constructors. As empowered learners, they construct their own learning path. This path is more engaging, albeit a challenge to those with mapped curriculum.
The emphasis on computational thinking and digital citizenship reminds educators. It reminds them that these are new, life-long skills. Students use technology for more than productivity. They rely on it to make the complex, simple. In an interconnected world where cyber trolls and fake news abound, they face a tough reality.
In this complex, interconnected world, there must be a focus on creative communication. That focus ensures students can be global collaborators. Creative collaborators who have much value in a global marketplace.
Creativity is the new coin in a hyper-connected world. Are you as an educator ready to set aside past approaches of preparing K-12 or adult learners? If you are, then the NCCE ISTE Educator Certification Program is for you.
Becoming an ISTE Certified Educator
ISTE Certification is a new competency-based, vendor-agnostic educator certification. Based on the ISTE Standards for Educators, this digital credential recognizes educators who understand how to use edtech for learning. TCEA, a Texas-based non-profit association, presents the ISTE Educator Certification. TCEA aligned the two-day face-to-face session to core professional learning research.
We know the following about effective and long-lasting professional development. It needs to:
- Be ongoing, job-embedded, and specific
- Model and support implementation in the classroom via various group/individual strategies
- Support collaboration among teachers
This means that workshops must model active-learning strategies that demonstrate how to engage students. That’s why you find STEM PBL Scenarios (see activities sans hyperlinks) that introduce participants to innovative technologies. These focus participants on team meaning-making and reasoning. What’s more, participants are encouraged to ask questions and generate ideas about what they are learning. This results in less teacher talk and more hands-on working with ideas, technologies, and how they impact teaching and learning.
Path to ISTE Educator Certification
All session participants follow this path to becoming certified ISTE Educators.
Step One: Complete two-day face-to-face training
“The two-day training was the perfect blend of hands-on collaborative learning and independent time for participants to roadmap their ISTE Certification journey,” says Morgen Larsen, President, NCCE Board of Directors. “Working with a cohort of like-minded educators provides a supportive and encouraging model for certification success.” This two-day session is activity-rich, focused on ensuring participants are mastering what they need.
“The greatest thing about the TCEA face-to-face training was the intentionality of the training. . .the team was knowledgeable and shared relevant information for what we as educators need to not only meet the ISTE standards ourselves, but also promote and advocate that the teachers we work with also meet the standards,” said Kathryn Nguyen, Director of Library and Technology Integration, Calvary Christian Academy.
Participants receive hands-on experience with innovative educational frameworks (e.g. Triple E Framework, TIM, LOTI, and HEAT). They get advice from previous cohorts on successful completion. This training builds a strong foundation for the two-module, online course. Participants leave knowing what they need to do to be successful in eportfolio design.
Step Two: Complete online course
“It is wonderful that I will be interacting with my cohort members during the online portion of the ISTE certification program.”
Participants select two of four available modules to complete. Modules include:
- The New Digital Citizenship
- Designing for Diversity
- Personalized Learning and Alternative Assessments
- Digital Learning Environments
Each module introduces participants to fresh vocabulary and various ways of understanding how technology fits in and/or transforms teaching, learning and leading. Participants are able to create artifacts for the course that can be included in their eportfolio as well. For example, I had a lot of fun creating and sharing these 5E Model lesson plan creations.
Step Three: Complete an eportfolio
Assemble an eportfolio of artifacts that meet the criteria required by ISTE. You organize these into an alignment map and then submit it for evaluation. The ISTE certification review panel provides a response in five to 10 days.
Aspiring ISTE Certified Educators have six months to apply their learning and submit their eportfolios. Here are several sample eportfolios from other Texans who have earned their digital badge (shown below). More examples are shared during the face-to-face session with participants, as are specific requirements.
Once your eportfolio is accepted, you will receive some ISTE Educator swag, as well as the coveted ISTE Certified Educator badge (shown above). Most importantly, you get certified as an ISTE Educator, valid for three years.
Step Four: Celebrate!
Celebrate and share your expertise and support learning transformation. As an ISTE Certified Educator, you may be called on to lead campus or district change.
Into the Future
“My mind is reeling. It feels like I missed chances in the last fifteen years in my classroom,” said an ISTE Certification participant. Ready to shift your perspective and see everything in a new way? Don’t waste another moment. Join other ISTE Certified Educator candidates on a transformational journey. Be the leader your organization needs.