At its November meeting, the Vermont State Board of Education unanimously adopted the International Standards for Technology Education (ISTE) Standards for student learning. The adoption of this framework is aligned with the state's Education Quality Standards (EQS). These standards outline what Vermont students should know and be able to do with respect to information technology, and will guide and inform the work of our schools as they prepare students for college and careers that have been dramatically transformed by information technology.
These new and updated ISTE standards replace outdated standards, and will help bring our education in line with innovations and best practice in use of information technologies in schools.
"The State Board of Education has been updating our adopted standards to be more in line with the requirements of proficiency-based graduation," said State Board of Education Chair Krista Huling. "The ISTE student standards will help assist all educators in the goal of how to deliver and assess progress through various academic areas. These standards also strengthen Vermont's commitment to citizenship in the digital age at a time when civic engagement at all levels are key to strengthening our democracy."
The ISTE Standards (https://www.iste.org/standards) are in line with Vermont's longstanding emphasis on not just learning skills, but preparing students to apply those skills in novel and purposeful ways. Vermont has long been committed to providing its students with the most current innovations in technology and practices regarding classroom and school level technology use.
"In a 21st Century information economy, what will matter most is what students can do with what they know," said Secretary of Education Rebecca Holcombe. In their emphasis on student-directed learning and student application of information technology skills, the new ISTE standards will support the efforts of educators to ensure learning is a student-driven process.
The ISTE student standards focus on areas that will help prepare today's learners for the evolving technological landscape including teaching digital citizenship, understanding how to be a computational thinker and using digital tools to collaborate with others locally and globally.
Educators across the state understand how the broader concepts around the ISTE student technology standards can be taught in the classroom, as well as the real-world implications that help prepare students. For example, in light of the recent natural disasters and the refugee crisis, Brattleboro Area Middle School students worked with a local architecture and engineering firm on a project that challenged students to consider how they would design safe and sustainable shelters for displaced families to live. Students used the design thinking process to imagine, plan and create their projects to address issues such as flooding, access to safe drinking water, excessive heat and safety.
"Our schools have been working hard to ensure all our students have access not just to technology, but to how technology is used in careers and post-secondary education. Success in the 21st Century will require our students to negotiate not just the physical world, but a digital world. The ISTE Standards provide a road map our educators can use to prepare our children for that world." Secretary Holcombe said. "This is particularly important in some of our more rural areas, where the future of our communities may depend on digital access to support economic development."
Vermont is one of several states and school districts to formalize use of the ISTE Standards including the states of Connecticut and Texas, and Los Angeles Unified School District. Many others are currently working on adoption and are expected to endorse or adopt the ISTE Standards in the coming months.
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