What can I do right now? (Module 5, ISTE-TS 5 professional growth and leadership; and ISTE-CS 6)

So for this week, we are wrapping up by investigating ISTE-TS 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” which is closely related to ISTE Coaching Standard 6: Content knowledge and professional growth – “technology coaches demonstrate professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions in content, pedagogical, and technological areas as well as adult learning and leadership and are continuously deepening their knowledge and expertise.” Since I’m not currently teaching, for this module I wanted to investigate:

What I can do right now to engage in ISTE-TS 5 and ISTE-CS 6?

Micro-certification (or an informal list)

One of my colleagues in my cohort, Karen, has mentioned micro-credentialing as a way for teachers in a school communicate to each other what technologies they have proficiency in; this would help teachers know who they can go to for help with, or ideas for, using certain technologies. (Here’s a link to her blog.) This inspired me to make a list of technologies I feel I feel I could offer some assistance with on my About page. I’m not certified in any of these tools, but I think it would be a nice practice to keep an informal list posted as a sort of beacon: “Hey! I’m willing to help and have some knowledge about using these things.” One of my goals in doing this is to offer a way to professionally connect and to offer an open hand to the community around me.

Karen also shared with me the Google Educator Certification that you can do. This training leads to certification in using Google tools in the classroom. I got started with it to check it out. The training portion is free, and then the test for certification costs $10 (for Level 1 that is; Level 2 costs $25). There are 13 units in the training, so not something I could do in one sitting. Since I’m not going to be teaching for a few more years still, I think it would be wise to wait on completing the certification as a lot can change in three years.

Swimming through honey

ISTE-CS 6 says I should demonstrate my professional disposition in pedagogical areas, and one of the things I believe in is asking humans questions and asking humans for help and support. If I take the trend of self-teaching via the Internet to the extreme (a common practice in physics), we would never ask each other for assistance, because “you can Google it.” I see this expectation happening in small ways all the time. And there is merit to expecting someone to Google something instead of asking, especially if in order to answer their question, you have to Google it yourself. But sometimes you really just need to ask a person. Sometimes you just want that – sometimes I want that.

I consider myself quite good at seeking out information online (wow, am I actually saying that? Six years ago I was terrible at it), but sometimes I just want to talk to a human. Sometimes you need a dynamic conversation that you can take in a new direction at any moment. “Wait, what does that mean? Can you say that in a different way? How does that connect back to what you said before?” Sometimes self-teaching feels like swimming through honey (i.e. it takes a lot of effort), and I believe in accompanying people to the lake instead, when you can (i.e., it’s still work, but a good deal easier).

I want to reiterate, self-teaching is a necessary skill and I do expect that people engage in that activity. But in today’s culture, and in my experience, I often feel the need to advocate for that human-human, teaching-learning interaction, and that’s what I’m trying to do by putting up the “I’m will to help with these things!” beacon.


These standards really encouraged me to reflect on the changes I’ve experienced since joining the DEL program in September. When I started this program, I had a very fuzzy idea of what “technology in education” means and is. I felt like the word “technology” just got thrown around in mission statements and course objectives (I’m thinking about my time in undergrad), and I never really got the point.

Over the last three quarters, my thinking and understanding has changed. I don’t know if I have the words to tell you how yet, but I do see things I didn’t see before. Indicator 5b says “exhibit leadership by demonstrating a vision of technology infusion…” and those words make sense to me now. I have a version of this poster on my wall, and now the words mean something to me rather than just being a collection of buzz words.

ISTE’s free classroom poster (click the image to go to the link)

I really have learned so much about living with technology in general, and about incorporating technology into education. When I started this program, the only ways I knew how to link technology and math were through calculators, mathematics software, and clickers. Now I can see ways to use screen capturing (OBS Studio), citation software (Mendeley), animations (PowToon), online whiteboards (Ziteboard), digital graphics tablets (Huion H420), and communication platforms (Slack), among other things. I feel ready, in a way I didn’t before, to think about how I can do ISTE-TS 5 and be a leader in educational technology.

Now, as I move forward, I need to start finding ways to engage in that leadership that I have a clearer vision for. In the coming months, I’d like to find a instance or two where I can offer someone some sort of guidance in finding or using a tool to suit their needs.


ISTE: International Society for Technology in Education. (2016). Free classroom poster: I am a digital age learner. Retrieved from https://www.iste.org/explore/articleDetail?articleid=843&category=Set-the-standard&article=

ISTE: International Society for Technology in Education. (2017). ISTE standards for coaches (2011). Retrieved from https://www.iste.org/standards/standards/standards-for-teachers

ISTE: International Society for Technology in Education. (2017). ISTE standards for teachers (2008). Retrieved from https://www.iste.org/standards/standards/standards-for-teachers