ISTE Technology Standards

As teaching and learning is changing in our schools with the integration of technology, it is only natural to have technology standards help smooth the road to digital literacy.  The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is an independent educational non-profit which created technology standards for students, teachers, and administrators. The student standards are broken down into 6 categories:

  1. Creativity and innovation
  2. Communication and collaboration
  3. Research and information fluency
  4. Critical thinking, problem solving, and decision-making
  5. Digital citizenship
  6. Technology operations and concepts

It is easy to become overwhelmed with even more standards to address during you school year, but it is helpful to think of these standards as the resource or the teaching practice that supports content standards.  Utilizing Web 2.0 sites will help bridge the gap between teaching content traditionally and teaching content by using technology.  For example, instead of having students fill out a Venn diagram on paper, use a Venn template on Stormboard to achieve the same result and address ISTE standards 1 & 6.

There are a multitude of communication, collaboration, and publishing Web 2.0 platforms for teacher and student use; many of them being free resources.  These tools, along with the ISTE standards are interlaced with one another, meaning that it’s difficult to give you one site that utilizes one platform and will address one standard.  Instead, use of one site may address multiple platforms and multiple ISTE standards.  The aforementioned Stormboard example is both a collaborative and publishing site in which activities will address Common Core ELA and ISTE standards.  More popular communication platforms such as Skype or Google Hangouts focus on verbal communication, while sites such as Chatterous focus more on written communication (and address ISTE standard 2.) Publishing platforms such as Yodio, ZooBurst, and Prezi focus on the production aspect of technology, yet still can require a background of collaboration and creativity to use.  Many collaboration sites such as Google Docs, Wikispaces, and Stormboard can encompass all three categories.

It is important to remember that the ISTE standards are K-12 standards.  They are not broken down by grade level like the Common Core standards are.  Instead, they are guidelines for digital literacy through the K-12 process.  Keeping this in mind, skills are adapted for specific grade levels.  Are my kindergarteners expected to “locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media” (ISTE 3.b) independently?  No.  We can do this whole class or in small groups, though.  To help understand what the six standards look like at various grade levels, ISTE created the Student Profiles, which has examples of activities that address the standards broken down into PreK-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12 grade levels.  This is an excellent resource for teachers looking to integrate technology into their classroom through age- and grade-level appropriate activities.

A 2012 article in Fortunte magazine titled Executives to New Grads: Shape Up! discusses the change in skill sets desired by many Fortune 500 companies.  The top three most desirable skills are listed as problem solving (ISTE standard 4), collaboration (ISTE standard 2), and critical thinking (ISTE standard 4.) By integrating technology, utilizing Web 2.0 tools as a mode of teaching and learning, and using the ISTE standards as a guideline, students will not only become technologically proficient, but will also be learning skills necessary for entering college and the working world upon completion of their education, allowing them to be productive and successful members of society.


Fisher, A. (2012, February 1). Executives to New Grads: Shape Up! [blog post]. Retrieved from

International Society for Technology in Education. (2007) ISTE-S. [pdf]. Retrieved from

ISTE Student Standards
ISTE Teacher Standards
ISTE Administrator Standards
ISTE Student Profiles