Curriculum and the ISTE Standards for Students

standards-header-circleAs we update our draft technology plan with input from the various stakeholder groups around campus, I have been working through ideas for aligning our curriculum to the new ISTE Standards for Students. Our IT working group has informally adopted these standards for our school and our draft plan contains the first written reference to the standards and also the action steps to begin the curricular alignment, yet there has been no direct work with the faculty until now.

Yesterday I had the opporunity to present the ISTE Standards for Students to the Middle School and High School faculty. My colleague John Iglar and I introduced the standards with a matching activity: Working in table group, teachers matched four-item clusters of performance indicators to their standards, which we presented on colorful paper.

The indicators were then glued to the papers for the next activity. John shared a series of teaching and learning scenarios and asked teachers to suggest which standard or standards were being addressed. The ensuing discussion was lively as teacher held up the colorful papers (“Red for Standard 1!”) and we suggested additional alignment possibilities.

The final activity was an “exit ticket” to check for general understanding of the ISTE Standards for Students and to introduce the idea of aligning current units or lessons. Teachers we directed to a simple Google form and were asked to submit the name or description of a current unit or lesson and then check the standard or standards to which that learning activity could be aligned.

After the teachers had been dismissed to move on to their next activity I crunched the numbers from the exit ticket activity. (Actually, Google Sheets crunched the numbers for me with its Explore tool.) I was pleasantly surprised to find that this brief overview of “what’s out there already” revealed a basic level of alignment to the standards already.

While this was by no means a complete gap analysis, it shows that our teachers are already creating the kinds of teaching and learning opportunities that will make future alignment activities less stressful than I had envisioned. Aligning the written, garanteed curriculum to the ISTE Standards for Students is in our school’s future and on my plate as a member of the Office of Teaching and Learning and we are ready to begin this exciting work soon.

Please have a look at my write up of the activities and the data from our teachers by clicking on the link below. Questions and comments always welcome!

Source: ISTE Standards for Students


  1. Hi there Gentlemen. I have just moved to Accra, Ghana and I introduced the new ISTE standards here. My High School colleague , Ryan Harwoood, shared the standards with the High School teachers in a very similar way to you Aaron. We then decided that we’d like to get some divisional benchmarks based on the standards and we found some useful examples in the ISTE e-book which can be downloaded from their site for a small charge. They are a great way to help teachers at all levels see how the standards might be implemented. There are also example lesson plans that I intend to use when connecting to our PYP units of inquiry. I’d love to follow your schools’ journey to curriculum development/revision. Are you both in IB World Schools?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey Guys. Good to hear that others in our region are up to the same thing. Thanks for sharing Aaron. It helped us a lot to look at what teachers were already doing in order to keep it from feeling like a big new task. Here’s a link to how we went thru it in the Secondary. There’s also some activity around a rewritten tech philosophy We didn’t get through the whole plan as you’ll see on the slides, but it opened up some great discussions and built a general awareness around the Standards. I was amazed that only a handful of staff were even aware that ISTE existed. We’ve got some work to do…

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.