ISTE Standards in Biology Lessons

One of the assignments that I was required to complete for a class was to design, or redesign 7 lessons in our field, one to go with each of the ISTE student standards.  The assignment targeted ISTE educator standards 3a., 3c., and 5d.  *I’ve listed those standards at the end of this post.  I chose to include this assignment as a post on the blog because I really became engaged with the standards.  There are not a lot of places on the web where this kind of work is available yet.  I really had to think hard about the digital tools I was including and how to transfer my knowledge to new technological tools.  I did end up using media and formats that I had never used before to communicate relevant information to the students. And as I learned about these tools, I saw that they helped streamline some teaching tasks which allowed for teachers to focus on mining deeper connections with students.

I’ve created a Blendspace for my lesson materials so they can be of use or tweaked.  It would be great to start an online resource for ISTE standard aligned lessons.

My great revelation as a result of doing this assignment is that I came to the realization that the standards work well together.  It really is not difficult to create lessons that incorporate 2-3 ISTE standards for students!

The challenge in doing an assignment such as this is that it does take an investment of time to learn new technologies and understand how to use them effectively.  Whenever you change technologies, you need to learn a new set of terms.  And you need to focus on what is gained in the transfer to tech, even though there may be something you need to let go of as a result of the change.

The lessons in the Blendspace can be used in middle school life science class or high school biology class.  They are mostly projects, although one is a computer simulation, that can be used with laptops, IPADs or other mobile devices.


*Std. 3.a. Demonstrate fluency in technology systems and the transfer of current knowledge to new technologies and situations.
*Std. 3.c. Communicate relevant information and ideas effectively to students, parents, and peers using a variety of digital-age media and formats.
*Std. 5.d. Contribute to the effectiveness, vitality, and self-renewal of the teaching profession and of their school and community.



Social Bookmarking for Differentiation

For an introductory Educational Technology class, I needed to differentiate a lesson using online tools.  I chose to differentiate a lesson about the digestive system targeted to middle school life science students.  While I really wanted to use the tool Blendspace, I had some technical difficulties.  I decided to substitute Symbaloo, the social bookmarking site instead.

Symbaloo works if you want to direct your students to read certain websites, watch specific YouTube videos, and practice using certain interactive websites.  There is so much free content that you can link to. I placed all my bookmarks into what is termed a webmix to share with my students. The icons that start each row are basic level information.  The icons further to the right dive deeper into the material.  The joy of using Symbaloo is that all students can start in the same spot and choose the resources that work for them.

I am including this assignment on the blog because through its creation, I got to curate a variety of resources for the first time.  The resources I collected are varied in their reading level, terminology, and depth of information.  It also empowers students to choose their resources.

The joy in creating this resource is that it is flexible in nature and easy to edit.  If a link goes down, students will still be able to advance forward and complete the assessment.  And new resources are easily added as I discover them.  T

The challenge to this assignment is that I wasn’t able to bookmark easily rubrics for their assignment, assignment checklists,  or my own graphic organizers.  I ended up using blog posts to add these elements to the Symbaloo and that required an extra time commitment that is unnecessary.  This is where Blendspace would save time as I could save my materials from my Google Drive to Blendspace easily. 

This digestive system lesson aligns with NGSS standard MS-LS1-3: use argument supported by evidence for how the body is a system of interacting subsystems composed of groups of cells. (Grades 6 – 8).  Students will probably use 2-3 days to finish the lesson.  Students click on the bookmarks to be directed to information about the digestive system.  The checklist directs students on what to read, how many videos to watch, and how many interactive activities to do.  There is a link to a rubric for the final assessment as well.