UNESCO guidelines for teachers to use information and communication technology (ICT) to improve education were presented to Education Ministers from more than 100 countries, and to the press, at the Moving Young Minds Conference in London, in January.
The ICT Competency Standards for Teachers have been developed in cooperation with Cisco, Intel and Microsoft, as well as the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech). They have been designed to help educational policy-makers and curriculum developers to identify the skills teachers need to harness technology in the service of education.
The standards consist of three parts: a Policy Framework explaining the rationale, structure and approach of the project; a Competency Standards Modules' Structure, which crosses the components of educational reform with various policy approaches to generate a matrix of skill sets for teachers; and Implementation Guidelines providing a detailed syllabus of the specific skills to be acquired by teachers within each skill set or module.
The standards have been prepared keeping in mind the need to prepare students for work and life in the 21st century and therefore they address much more than ICT skills: they examine these skills in light of pedagogical developments, curriculum and school organisation and the needs of teachers wishing to improve their work and ability to collaborate with colleagues. While defining ICT and education skills that can be shared internationally, the standards harmonise views and vocabulary regarding the uses of ICTs in teacher education, thus facilitating the international sharing of experience in this field.