What’s our most important professional responsibility outside the classroom?
My first thought is of the International Society for Technology in Education’s (ISTE) standards. (Just my first thought–maybe not the most important.)
Before I get to my point, though, according to ISTE, the student standards are “…for evaluating the skills and knowledge students need to learn effectively and live productively in an increasingly global and digital world.”
In the classroom, I want to teach students to be creative and innovative; communicators and collaborators; fluent in research and information; critical thinkers, problem solvers, and decision makers; good digital citizens; and to understand operations and concepts. (More details on these standards here.)
I believe all of us teachers are responsible to teach these standards. Students aren’t naturally going to learn these things. Digital natives or not, they still need to be taught these skills and knowledge in order for them to learn effectively and live productively in today’s world. Technology teachers don’t have enough time with them to teach all these skills. We all need to teach our students to be literate in this increasingly global and digital world.
ISTE also suggests standards for teachers and says these are “the standards for evaluating the skills and knowledge educators need to teach, work and learn in an increasingly connected global and digital society.” Note, again, no mention of “technology” teachers. We are asked to:
- facilitate and inspire learning and creativity
- design and develop “digital age” learning experiences and assessments (Teachers have always designed and developed learning experiences and assessments, but now “digital age” experiences and assessments. Again, not just in computer class.)
- model digital work and learning
- promote digital citizenship and responsibility
- engage in professional growth and leadership
Read more details about the teacher standards here.
Which leads me to why I thought of the ISTE standards when I saw the topic, What’s our most important professional responsibility outside the classroom?
We have to take these professional responsibilities in the teacher ISTE standards outside the school day. Teachers not only work in a global and digital world; they also live in one on weekends and evenings too. Most teachers use at least some form of technology–word processing, email, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media.
I especially find 3 and 4 to be applicable to our outside responsibilities. Whether we like it or not, we are modeling digital age work and learning. We promote and model digital citizenship.
Some teachers do this poorly. They say things like, “I don’t get technology” and “I don’t do computers.” The role modeling they are doing is not of digital age work and learning. Doesn’t that attitude promote and model poor citizenship?
Some teachers, on the other hand, are taking full responsibility for their work in the global and digital world. They are making their learning visible. They grow in technology skills by choosing to do professional development on their own time. They blog and lead workshops and help reluctant teachers learn to “get” technology and “do” computers. Teachers, in turn, help their students blog so they can make their learning visible too. I just read today about an award the Surrey School District received for the ePortfolios their students create. Starting in Kindergarten! Classroom teachers are doing this work all over the world.
Here’s to more and more teachers taking seriously this work inside and outside the classroom. Our students need us more than ever to facilitate, inspire, design, develop, model, promote and engage!