ISTE For Coaches – Defining and Implementing 21st Century Learning

ISTE-C Standard 1: Visionary Leadership
d. Implement strategies for initiating and sustaining technology innovations and manage the change process in schools and classrooms
ISTE-C Standard 2: Teaching, Learning, and Assessment
f. Coach teachers in and model incorporation of research-based best practices in instructional design when planning technology-enhanced learning experiences
ISTE-C-Standard 6: Content Knowledge and Professional Growth
1. Engage in continual learning to deepen content and pedagogical knowledge in technology integration and current and emerging technologies necessary to effectively implement the ISTE Student and Educator standard

Inquiry Question:
What are the traits of 21stcentury learning, and how can the tech coach model teachers to use and assess technology to lead effective learning meet the 21stcentury needs?

Rethinking Learning, How Can We Prepare Our Students for 21st Century

As the educator in the digital world, we are facing the questions that how we can prepare our students with capabilities and skills who will work in the jobs are not currently exist and how we can make our children succeed in the 21st century. As we teaching traditional skills like reading, writing, arithmetic, we also have to consider to equip students with skills of collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity, which are indispensable in the thriving digital world. As the 21st century digital natives, our students embrace change, they desire to learn new things and getting fun from learning. Instead of becoming consuming digital natives, we need to foster our children to be productive creators and producers who can leverage technology to support and deepen their effective learning in their future lives. As the teachers in the 21st century, we need to embed technology purposefully to improve student motivation to dive into collaborative and creative learning and foster their digital skills.

Integrate Technology in Smart Way

The secret ingredient to learning with technology is found not in the tools themselves, but in the instructional methods, the teachers employ with the tools (Bebell & Kay, 2010; Kay & Lauricella, 2011). Tech coach is taking the key role to help teachers to transform and adapt the new ways of teaching.  A successful coaching is not just to introduce teachers a fancy digital tool but should model and empower teachers to utilize technology smartly and meaningfully to accelerate student effective learning. The strong conceptual framework and assessment tools can be modeled as the good guidance in the coaching to provide a clear direction that how technology should be integrated smartly. 

Triple E Framework

Triple E Framework is used as a research-informed guide to support teachers in choosing technology tools that add value to learning goals. The three elements- engagement, enhancement, and extension- should be considered when integrating technology into a learning activity. The nine simple guiding questions (Figure 1) can help teachers to assess the technology integration in the class. 

Figure 1


In the 21st century, students learning not restricted by the school, they can capture skills and knowledge from interaction with peers inside and outside of the classroom. Educators need to ensure the technology tools can increase opportunities for students to engage in meaningful conversations and reflect with others on what they are working on (Hirsh-Pasek et al., 2015). Teachers should create social learning activities supported by interactive technology tools instead of using the digital tools isolated from interaction.  


In the 21st century, children’s brains and cognition can be developed by innovative technology intervened. When students are using technology to create, analyze, evaluate, gather, and synthesize knowledge, there can be long-term and positive cognitive growth. Teachers should embed technology tools purposefully and design strategies to help connect the content learning to the creative digital tools to reach the objectives of learning.


In the 21st century, students are required to have abilities to solve problems in the real world. Effective learning happens when it is situated in authentic contexts (Brown, Collins, & Duguid, 1989). Teachers need to integrate technology into learning activities to help bridge real-world learning with the classroom curriculum. 

Using the Tripe E Framework, teachers can easily identify and assess the effect and purpose of technology used in their classes and which elements of effective learning the technology can improve.

Pedagogy Wheel

The Pedagogy Wheel is not a tool, but it is all about mindsets that can deepen teachers’ thinking and help them to make a decision on how to make the pedagogy drive the technology to plan effective learning. The Pedagogy Wheel associates Educational Apps with Graduate Attributes and Capabilities, Motivation, Blooms Taxonomy, and the SAMR Model which can help teachers identify how the technology tools they used in their class improve and support the educational purpose and how the digital technology references to the wider developmental needs of their students.

The five gears are interconnected affected each other to determine the direction of the Wheel. Teachers need to consider each gear in the teaching from planning to implementation through which they will know what they are doing and where they will go.

Use Technology to Target Learning Objectives: Blooms Taxonomy 

Blooms Taxonomy is a way of helping teachers design learning objectives starting from remembering to creating (Figure2).  The Wheel is like a compass providing apps for each category serving your pedagogy. Teachers will have a clear image in their minds on what digital tools they can use and which learning objective the technology support to improve. 

Use the SAMR Model to assess the Digital Technology Impacts

The SAMR model- “Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition”- is a framework that assists teachers to assess the degree of the digitally empowered learning and teaching. SAMR model can help teachers to think over how the technologies they have integrated serve the student learning.

The Pedagogy Wheel can direct teachers to use technology intentionally to support pedagogy and enhance student learning in achieving expected outcomes. It will avoid teachers to integrate technology just for its own sake. 

In the 21st century, digital technology is changing teaching and learning rapidly and constantly. It will always have pitfalls when educators are trying to adopt a new teaching method using technology. The above frameworks can build a solid mindset on technology integration which can guide teachers to leverage technology purposely to improve student effective learning and have technology serve their pedagogy rather than driven by technology.  


  1. Kolb, L. (2019). Smart Classroom-Tech Integration. Retrieve from:
  2. Carrington, A. (2016). The Padagogy Wheel – It’s Not About The Apps, It’s About The Pedagogy. Retrieve from:
  3. Rethinking Learning: The 21st century Learner|MacArthur Foundation . Retrieved from:
  4. Bloom’s Taxonomy: Why, How, & Top Examples . Retrieved from:

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