Transforming Educator Practice to Promote Excellence, Self-Efficacy, and Belonging Through International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Certification

Transforming Educator Practice to Promote Excellence, Self-Efficacy, and Belonging Through International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Certification

By Maria Magnanimo-Toledo, Readiness & Integration Specialist, Instructional Technology Initiative, and Jamie Galgana, Instructional Leadership Support Specialist, Instructional Technology Initiative; ISTE Certified Educators

L.A. Unified ISTE Certified Educators
L. A. Unified International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Certified Educators
representing various Local Districts, grade levels, and instructional contexts.

L.A. Unified has a growing number of International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) certified educators that are leading the way in transformational instructional practices! From classroom teachers to coaches, specialists, coordinators and administrators PK-12, these leaders accepted the challenge to complete and pass the ISTE Certification for Educators Program. Along the way, they developed a belief in their abilities to grow with effort and in their ability to succeed in achieving the goal of demonstrating mastery of ISTE Standards for Educators. Having a growth mindset and self-efficacy are critical skills educators can help students develop while also modeling what it looks like for others. Our District’s ISTE certified educators have positively transformed their practice and strengthened their social-emotional skills while participating in the ISTE certification process.

ISTE Certification for Educators helps educators reflect on their role as a Citizen and responsibility to create experiences for learners to make positive, socially responsible contributions and exhibit empathetic behavior online. It also serves as an opportunity to receive and offer support to like-minded educators. The program fosters a sense of belongingness to a group, develops one’s leadership, and positions educators as experts among their colleagues. ISTE Certification for Educatorschallenges educators to stretch themselves while promoting their own growth mindset and self-efficacy skills.

In alignment with this, the District’s Strategic Plan outlines Joy and Wellness as one of the five pillars, highlighting strong social-emotional skills as a priority. The priority of eliminating opportunity gaps, advancing anti-racist instructional practices, and personalizing learning for all students recognizes that social-emotional skills will enable students to learn and positively contribute to the broader community. As a result, Digital Citizenship is identified as a resource supporting strong social-emotional skills. Additionally, having a growth mindset and self-efficacy are competencies identified by the L.A. Unified Social Emotional Learning Unit as focus areas of social-emotional learning that work in tandem with digital citizenship.

Digital Citizens practice their social-emotional skills by being inclusive, informed, engaged, balanced and alert (DigCit Commit competencies) when engaging with others in digital spaces. The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Certification for Educators program offers professional learning opportunities focused on deepening knowledge, skills, and dispositions to support students’ social and emotional needs with the goal of inspiring students to positively contribute to and responsibly participate in the digital world.

ISTE Quote

ISTE Certification for Educators is a competency based, device neutral learning opportunity for educators to leverage technology to transform their practice. In our current world with a rapidly evolving digital landscape, ISTE provides standards to equip educators with the skills and dispositions needed for learning, teaching and leading in a digital age. L. A. Unified was the first District in the nation to adopt the ISTE for Students and use them as an instructional framework that leverages technology in purposeful, personalized ways to support the transformation of teaching and learning. Subsequently, the ISTE Standards for Educators, Education Leaders and Coaches were also adopted. "Aligning our district strategy to the ISTE Standards gave us both the vision and focus we needed to accelerate instructional transformation in our schools," Sophia Mendoza, Director of the Instructional Technology Initiative of the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Twitter post, January 17, 2022

ISTE Certification for Educators advances research-based best practices that define success in using technology to learn, teach, lead and coach. It helps PK-adult educators reflect, rethink, and redesign learning activities with technology to engage students in real-world, authentic, and active learning. Regardless of the technology being used, the ISTE Certification process gives educators the opportunity to elevate their instructional practices to positively impact student outcomes. According to Dr. Chris Corpus, Instructional Technology Facilitator, L. A. Unified, “I am grateful to have the opportunity to deeply learn about the ISTE Educator standards, reflect on my teaching practices, and grow as an educator during the ISTE Certification process.” Through a rigorous and rewarding portfolio process, candidates create a competency-based artifact that documents their accomplishments. To support the creation of the portfolio, the program provides a 30 hour learning opportunity and candidates have six months to assemble and organize their compilation of reflections and artifacts that showcase their individual achievements.

ISTE Certified Educators are diverse, like-minded educators from across the globe that are committed to bringing transformative instructional practices to their classroom or school. Educators and Education Leaders represent a variety of locations and contexts from across the continental United States & Canada, in addition to various international educational institutions.

Group picture at ISTELive22
ISTE Certified Educators meet up at the ISTE22 Live Conference in New Orleans, LA, June 2022,
including 3 from L.A. Unified, Andrea Lugo, Jamie Galgana, and Maria Magnanimo-Toledo.

There are over 1500 ISTE Certified Educators and new cohorts are currently forming. ISTE Certified Educators possess a range of experience from novice to veteran and serve in various settings PK - adult. Many ISTE Certified Educators leverage social media and professional learning networks to share resources, connect with each other and promote best practices around edtech. The ISTE Certification for Educators program connects L.A. Unified educators from across the 720 square miles and 6 Local Districts and also connects them with a greater community of educators that they will be a part of when they are certified. The following images highlight the many examples of this kind of interaction that can be seen on Twitter using the hashtag, #ISTECert.


Twitter Post - #ISTECert -1 Twitter Post - #ISTECert-2
Twitter Post - #ISTECert-3 Twitter Post - #ISTECert-4

Becoming ISTE certified is a great way to deepen and expand your teaching skill set in applying the educator section of the ISTE Standards in practice. It connects individuals with an international community of education change-makers and prepares them to model effective practice for others in their school or district.

ISTE Certified Educator Badge
ISTE Certified Educator Badge

Being ISTE certified earns the international recognition educators deserve for their technology leadership skills and prepares them to support their teacher network in integrating technology to accelerate teaching and learning for future-ready learners. Additionally, you can see alignment to our District’s Strategic Plan and find ISTE listed as one of the resources under High-Quality Instruction, Pillar 1, Academic Excellence (p.25).

This year the Instructional Technology Initiative has been approved to become the first district that is a Certified Authorized Provider (CAP) of ISTE Certification. This means that we will be the first CAP to offer this certification led by our very own ISTE Certified Educators in L.A. Unified. The certificate earned will be valid for three years and has structures in place to ensure that there is ongoing dialogue around leveraging technology with learners in meaningful ways.

L.A. Unified ISTE Certified Educators
Newly certified, L.A. Unified ISTE Certified Educators, meeting in
Los Angeles with Carmalita Seitz, ISTE Certification Director

ITI is committed to the District’s Strategic Plan, Pillar 5: Investing in Staff through Professional Learning, by offering the ISTE Certification for Educators program, a competency-based, rigorous, and relevant professional learning opportunity. With a focus on consistent implementation of high-quality instruction to improve student outcomes, this certification will ensure your students are ready for the world!

If you are interested in participating in a future cohort of the ISTE Certification for Educators program, complete the interest form at: Join our growing community of L.A. Unified ISTE Certified Educators who are rethinking and redesigning learning activities with technology.