For Pocantico Hills School teachers Katell McNamara and Marina Lombardo, the opportunity came at a perfect time. As educators were planning last summer how a socially distanced, more technology-reliant 2020-21 school year would work, they had a chance to pursue International Society for Technology in Education’s (ISTE) Certification for Educators.
“This was the perfect year to do it,” Ms. McNamara said, adding district Educational Technology Director Alana Winnick facilitated the course.
With some students learning remotely all year and others periodically quarantined at home, teachers had to not only adapt, but transform their practice to make learning more engaging and interactive. The ISTE Certification for Educators is an internationally recognized credential for educators who have mastered the ISTE standards, which focus on pedagogy over technology tools and devices.
The goal of the standards is to deepen educators’ practice by promoting collaboration and challenging them to rethink traditional approaches, and to prepare their students to drive their own learning. The purpose is not to replace a lesson with technology; technology must enhance student learning and empower innovative, creative problem-solvers to become more responsible digital citizens.
The two teachers are now part of a distinguished group of educators that numbers just 1,200 worldwide, according to Ms. Winnick.
The teachers began their certification with several synchronous online sessions last summer followed by asynchronous coursework, which included designing instructional lessons that integrated the ISTE standards. After the coursework, they went through a six-month period to build portfolios. They had to prove how they implemented multiple indicators for each standard into their own practice.
Both teachers said the experience was well worth it because they met other educators, collaborated, and gained ideas to take back to Pocantico. They will be presenting again at the New York State Association for Computers and Technologies in Education annual conference.