ISTE Teaching Standard 3: Model Effective Use of Current & Emerging Digital Tools

This week in my exploration of ISTE Teaching Standards with my graduate program in Digital Education Leadership at Seattle Pacific University, I am examining ISTE Teaching Standard 3 to understand how teachers can…

“exhibit knowledge, skills and work processes representative of an innovative professional in a global and digital society.”

Embedded in this standard is the indicator for teachers to…

“Model and facilitate effective use of current and emerging digital tools to locate, analyze, evaluate and use information resources to support research and learning.”


I’d like to start two years ago, at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference in Philadelphia.  This is where Soledad O’Brien, an American broadcast journalist and executive producer, said, “I might be in the wrong room to say this, but I think technology for technology’s sake is a complete waste.”  I have heard this quote thrown around quite a bit lately in educational conversations.  It has become the go-to excuse for not using technology in the classroom, but I want to reveal a way that I can make my lessons applicable to their real-life aspirations of my students.  I want to demonstrate real world digital connections within their middle school humanities courses.  Therefore, to complete my goals for my students I will need to experiment with new technologies to become “effective” in “emerging digital tools” so I can exhibit knowledge and skills innovative enough for their future professional world.  


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Click to see my Trello board


In this line of thinking I will at times need to use technology just because it is technology, and then try to implement the tech with my students.  For example, I spent the last couple weeks exploring Trello, and after a few short minutes, I saw an endless amount of options for this free tool in the classroom.  They also have this wonderful bank of inspirational ideas for uses and ways we as educators could use Trello in our jobs. I immediately thought of the old archaic way we all used to use note cards or index cards to categorize our research into subtopics to then create our outlines.  But as the second example in the bank backs me up with Trello allows for a free online tool that can totally accomplish the same task but online. Trello even calls each new idea you add to a list a card.  It can also help with a team or whole classroom projects.  Each person could be in charge of added a new resource or list and then breaking it down into subtopics.  But even though I know, this tool could help teachers and kill fewer trees I know it would be tough for me to convince some teachers to make the switch. Why?

Well because of a bunch of reasons. Therefore, how do I get teachers to buy into wanting another tool in their teaching lives?  Or even how do I get teachers to experiment with a tech or digital tool that they have looked at before but should reexamine? As I took a look at Krueger’s article, “Three Barriers to Innovation Education Leaders Must Address” I agreed that “community resistance, access, and policies” are pieces, of the puzzle but it is not the whole picture as to why teachers resist new digital tools.  Along with those pieces there also exists the time restraints, money, and fear of breaking from routine or simply breaking the tool itself.  FullSizeRenderThese barriers to try something new in public schools are so ingrained and deep seeded that I do not want to waste much time examining them. But as an example of a digital tool that can facilitate many parts of ISTE standard three and several expectations built into new teaching contracts regarding the creation and maintenance of a “web presence” is Edmodo.  Edmodo is sometimes referred to as the “Facebook for education” but because this startup is not a startup anymore it is so much more than that.  Edmodo now boasts over 78 million users and is a fully functioning Learning Management System. Teachers still can communicate with their students, parents, and other colleagues.  But Edmodo can also “be used to share assignments and grades, host discussions and post videos, schedule appointments, and create and take polls” and now boasts a strong formative tool called Snapshot that allows for instant grading and formative data collection (Wan, 2016).  All of that sounds fantastic but as the CEO stated last June ““if I can only [make] 30 cents or 40 cents per user per year, [we] would be profitable,” why is something like this happening?  believe this is due in large part to the fact that most teachers just have not had a clear demonstration of all Edmodo’s capabilities.  Teachers are doubters and will wait to experiment with new digital tools because of that fear I was referencing earlier.  Another instructor must come in and show an example of how something like Edmodo could change their lives for the better.  Moreover, teachers must see the connection between using a tool like Edmodo which looks so much like social media as a tool that helps connect their current school life to their future career.  If they learn simultaneously how to find their homework and see due dates, but also how to communicate in a digital atmosphere we are not only teaching them time management but digital citizenship strategies.  And both of these are huge parts for creating a truly future-ready student who will be not only an active member of society but a thriving member of our communities.  



Crompton, H. (2014, July 24). Know the ISTE Standards-T 3: Model digital age learning. Retrieved from

Edmodo (Product Reviews on EdSurge). (n.d.). Retrieved April 29, 2017, from – It is a popular social media network for parents, teachers, admin, and students

Krueger, N. (2014, June 28). 3 barriers to innovation education leaders must address. Retrieved from

Wan, T. (2016, July 10). No Slacking Off! How Savvy Teachers Are Turning to Trello and Slack (EdSurge News). Retrieved April 29, 2017, from

Wan, T. (2016, July 10). Can Edmodo Turn Virality into Profitability? (EdSurge News). Retrieved April 29, 2017, from

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