Saturday, December 30, 2017

ISTE Standards for Educators: The Citizen

ISTE Standards for Educators: The Citizen (source:

What is a citizen? According to, a citizen is, "a native or naturalized member of a state or nation who owes allegiance to its government and is entitled to its protection." By definition, the term citizen implies action; it is not a passive but an active role in a community. A citizen receives the benefits of a community, but also owes allegiance, or loyalty and commitment, to the community.

According to the ISTE Standards for Educators, an educator, as a citizen of the educational community. should inspire students to positively contribute to and responsibly participate in the digital world. Educators:

3a Create experiences for learners to make positive, socially responsible contributions and exhibit empathetic behavior online that build relationships and community.

3b Establish a learning culture that promotes curiosity and critical examination of online resources and fosters digital literacy and media fluency.

3c Mentor students in safe, legal and ethical practices with digital tools and the protection of intellectual rights and property.

3d Model and promote management of personal data and digital identity and protect student data privacy.

3a Create experiences for learners
This ISTE standard requires educators to create experiences that engage learners and permit them to contribute to the body of knowledge and other resources available publicly, and also privately, in a safe and positive manner. As specified in the definition of citizen, learners are expected to take an active a role as members of the educational community. They are not to be only observers. The educator is required to offer learners the training, guidance, and opportunity to become full citizens of the educational community through their original works. These could be any form of intellectual property such as poetry and prose, music and lyric, video, or even counseling, tutoring, and fundraising.

There are two more parts to creating this learning environment. In additional to making "positive, socially responsible contributions," learners are to "exhibit empathetic behavior online that build[s] relationships and community." This standard requires much more than an educator throwing a lesson together and presenting it to students. It requires that an educator know what is appropriate for the learning environment, research appropriate tools, develop meaningful assignments, monitor learner activities, and more.

I imagine this is overwhelming to one looking at all of this for the first time. Remember, none of us is working alone. There are numerous resources that can be drawn on to get started. No one needs to reinvent the wheel to meet this standard. If you are feeling lost, join a PLN or a Facebook group that encourages student-centered learning in the digital age. Many teachers and organizations publish blogs with creative ideas for projects and other assessments that meet the ISTE Teacher and Learner standards. Some educational organizations publish state standards for education online and include curriculum-based project ideas you can reference.

3b Establish a learning culture
The learning environment is no longer teacher-driven. As I like to say to my students, education is not a spectator sport; you must participate, and what you receive from your education is directly impacted by what you put into it. There is not enough room for creativity in a teacher-driven system. Learners must have the opportunity to explore in order to feed their curiosity.

A large part of achieving this standard requires that students have an opportunity for self-reflection. They need to not only be trained to determine the validity and reliability of the information they are looking at, but also how their own personal bias might impact how they receive it. Media fluency requires that learners develop the skills necessary to "interpret large amounts of complex information in multiple formats and communicate and share across various media formats."

Providing a digital and information literacy program that begins at the kindergarten level will help learners develop these skills, but many of our young people have not had any training in evaluating information sources. Today's educator must find a way to help learners develop these skills so that they can become productive citizens of the digital age.

3c Mentor students
Mentoring may be a new concept for a lot of us. It requires that we listen to and observe each learner to determine what their individual needs are, and do our best to meet those needs within the learning environment. Everyone learns differently so the teacher-centered approach will not fit here as a citizen of the learning community. Student must be given opportunities to share and to help other learners.

Learning environments should be based on "safe, legal, and ethical practices with digital tools and the protection of intellectual rights and property." Today's learners must be aware of the laws and usage opportunities afforded them under current copyright laws and Creative Commons licensing. They should also understand what it means to violate these rules.

3d Model and promote smart practices
Modeling is something that educators do every day. Modeling according to the ISTE citizenship standard sets the bar higher than some educators might be used to but it necessary for today's learners. The first aspect requires that "Educators engage in these best practices themselves; bring transparency to them with colleagues, parents, students, and other stakeholders; and promote them among students colleagues and stakeholders." Educators are in the public eye, and what we do may impact how others behave. It is important that educators demonstrate best practices in citizenship in and out of the classroom and in social media.

Another aspect of this standard is protecting student data. Educators model this by password protecting their own data and not sharing personal information. Educators also need to be aware of who is present when they are discussing issues related to student academics or behaviors. Student work should not be shared without specific permission; demonstrate to learners proper methods of presenting intellectual property that belongs to others.

·        Creative Commons licensing
· citizen
·        Digital Citizenship
·        Educators as mentors
·        Student centered learning resources
o   Edutopia: Student-Centered Learning Environments: How and Why
o   Pinterest

o   Teachhub: Top 12 Student-Centered Lessons for All Grades

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