Technology Standards

NETS-S_LogoTechnology skills and standards…What are they? What do my students need to know? Is there a scope and sequence or curriculum that I should follow? What have my students learned in previous grades? What will my students need to know for the next grade? These are questions that many teachers have. I can say that I don’t have every answer to each one of these questions, but I would like to share some resources that can begin to point you in the right direction.

In the year 2014, it is no longer enough to just say that our students are “using” technology. Instead, as educators in the 21st Century, one of the most important tasks we have is to help our students explore, analyze and learn using the technology. As ISTE states on their web site, “Digital age skills are vital for preparing students to work, live and contribute to the social and civic fabric of their communities.”
ISTE, the International Society for Technology in Eduction, is the main source when it comes to technology standards.
“The ISTE Standards (formerly the NETS) for Students (ISTE Standards•S) are the standards for evaluating the skills and knowledge students need to learn effectively and live productively in an increasingly global and digital world.”
These standards might be a little different then other types of standards in that they are more general and aren’t grade-level specific. This can be somewhat exciting and frustrating at the same time. In some instances, the vagueness might make you feel that you aren’t “meeting” the standards. The exciting part of them being open-ended, is that this provides for great customization for your classroom, grade level, or school. You can use your specific areas of curriculum to plan for the implementation of the ISTE Standards.
To help educators in their planning and implementation, ISTE has created Profiles that provide a variety of engaging, learning activities. The profiles are divided into four grade ranges and, “…provide a set of examples for preparing students to be lifelong learners and contributing members of a global society.”

So on to the resources. As mentioned above, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is the authority when it comes to learning, teaching and leading in the digital age. The links below are all part of their site.

  • ISTE Home – Learn more about the organization.
  • ISTE Standards – This is the main page for all standards-related links.
  • ISTE Standards for Students – Resources specific to the student standards. (Includes a Spanish version.)
  • The ISTE Profiles – It’s important to remember that these profiles operate on the assumption that students have regular access to a variety of technology tools.
  • NETS-S Implementation Wiki – This is a great new resource that I just came across. It contains very practical ideas of how to implement the ISTE Standards. Being that it’s a wiki, you are able to create a wiki account (or use your current account), join this wiki and offer thoughts, questions and comments to other teachers’ ideas.
  • ISTE Standards for Teachers – So we’ve covered the students’ standards, interested in what’s expected of you as a teacher? ISTE has standards for teachers as well.
  • ISTE Standards for Administrators – These standards help administrators support their staff.

In conclusion, your school, district or state might have a specific scope and sequence and/or set of technology standards. In many states or school districts you might also find that technology skills are embedded within other items like “21st Century Skills.” The important thing to remember about the ISTE Standards is that they encompass the student as a digital-aged learner, not someone who is creating a PowerPoint at a certain grade level. Use the ISTE Standards as a framework to help you create authentic, digital learning activities for your students.

Source: “ISTE Standards For Students.” ISTE Standards For Students. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Jan. 2014. <>.