ISTE Certified Educator FAQ

Can I take the certification if I’m not a classroom teacher?
If your job involves you in the teaching and learning side of technology and you are personally involved in designing and/or delivering professional development aligned with the ISTE standards, then you should be able to come up with artifacts. Basically, it means you need to think about the other educators at your school as being your students.
Can I earn graduate credits?
The ISTE Certification for Educators is eligible for graduate-level credit from Dominican University of California.  For additional information or to register please visit Dominican University of California’s site here. For additional questions about graduate-level credit in general and how it can be used, please read their FAQ. You can apply for the credits after completing all online modules. 
How many hours will I need to invest to become ISTE Certified?
For the training, you will need to invest 40 hours for the online learning. For gathering and submitting portfolio materials, the timing will vary based on what you already have created but expect to spend approximately 40 hours for the portfolio You will have six months to apply your learning and prepare your eportfolio.
Is the ISTE Certification for Educators appropriate for Edtech Coaches, Staff Developers, Curriculum Special or Library Media Specialists?
Absolutely! This certification is appropriate for classroom educators or those who work closely with classroom educators. Portfolio materials can focus on preK-12 learning activities or on work training and developing educators.
Is the ISTE Certification Educators appropriate for ALL K-12 teachers?
Yes! The focus of the training is on how to use digital tools and resources to transform learning and educators do work that grows out of and supports their content areas and student age levels. That said, if you are early on in your journey using technology to transform teaching and learning, you may want to develop your skills first with the ISTE Standards Digital Learning Pathways and collaborating with ISTE’s member Professional Learning Networks (PLNs) before jumping into the certification training. The training moves quickly and assumes a strong base level with using technology for learning.  
Educators who successfully earn their ISTE Certification will be recognized as strong pedagogical leaders with education technology. What does the portfolio comprise?
The portfolio consists of an overall reflection as well as 9-14 artifacts that demonstrate alignment with at least 19 of the 25 criteria in the ISTE Standards for Educators. You will need to provide a contextualization for how each artifact connects with each of the indicators.    The artifacts can either be from the PK-12 classroom, professional learning activities you have designed and delivered for PK-12 teachers or staff, or other educational roles and contexts. You will need to provide a brief description of each artifact. You will be given prompts to guide your descriptions.  
  • Lesson/project/unit plan that includes a description of how you design or facilitate instruction aligned to the ISTE Standards for Students.
  • Screenshot or link to learners’ activities or projects.
  • Student work that demonstrates empowered learning, computational thinking, design thinking or digital citizenship (e.g., research paper, website, report, presentation).
  • Photo of learners working in class on activities aligned to ISTE Standards.
  • Video, digital story or audio overview of teaching or professional practice (e.g.,
  • Animoto video that incorporates multiple screenshots and images that demonstrate the lessons on critical thinking/problem-solving).
  • Teacher- or student-designed eBook that demonstrates ISTE Standards alignment in learning.
  • Class website with assignments and/or examples of student projects.
How does the ISTE Certification for Educators differ from other certifications like, Leading Edge, Apple Distinguished Educators, Google Certified Educators, Microsoft Innovative Educators, and others?
Unlike certifications from the private sector, the ISTE Certification for Educators is vendor-neutral, so the skills developed will be transferable to any system, device, or tool. While technology opens up a whole new world of opportunities for learning, the ISTE Certification for Educators focuses on changing practice and improving learning outcomes with technology. The ISTE Certification for Educators is ideal for those educators who are always asking “what’s next?” when it comes to using education technology. You may already have other credentials and ISTE Certification will help you take your knowledge even further. Because the training is based on the ISTE Standards, it emphasizes how to design transformative, deep learning experiences with technology. Throughout the training, you will experiment with various digital tools but the training itself, like the ISTE Standards, is technology agnostic and vendor-neutral. 
What does contextualisation mean in the context of the portfolio submission?
ISTE Standards evaluators only see what is submitted and not how your artifact was used or implemented. The evaluators don’t want to make assumptions if the evidence doesn't “speak for itself.” You can help the evaluator by providing explicit context -- how the artifact was used, its implementation and how it demonstrates your competency against a specific criteria. You will have a column in the alignment map that is titled “Contextualization of Artefact and Description of Implementation” to tell the evaluator any information needed to appropriately assess the artefact provided. 
If a criteria dosen’t explicitly include a digital or tech component, do my artifacts need to include them?
In a word: yes. The criteria are derived from the standard indicators. The purpose of the standards is to practice and build skills that transform how we teach and learn with technology. Each of the criteria should be demonstrated in the context of digital age teaching, leading and learning. 
What support do I receive as a learner in developing the portfolio?
ISTE provides both synchronous (via Office Hours) and asynchronous (online forums, digital resources) support during the portfolio phase for any questions you may have and 21C will also provide support during the portfolio phase.  After submitting the portfolio you receive detailed feedback from the ISTE evaluator within 15 business days.  There is an opportunity to extend the deadline for the portfolio if you need to do so due to work conflicts or personal reasons. In the event you do not pass the portfolio due to not meeting at least 19 criteria then you have the opportunity to resubmit either the entire portfolio again or just the areas where you did not meet the required standard. A resubmission fee of $75 USD is payable directly to ISTE for this service.
Is it possible to get an extension on the portfolio deadline?
We provide a series of workshop dates spread at various times throughout the year to provide choices for educators. Some have the portfolio window during term time and shorter holidays some overlap with summer break. Participants sign up knowing what the timeline is and are expected to plan accordingly. In extenuating circumstances, an extension can be granted. Individuals can request a one-month portfolio extension with ISTE for an administration charge of $25USD.
What if I submit my eportfolio and do not receive the credential?
If your materials do not pass specific criteria you will receive feedback from the evaluators as to why this is the case. You will then have three months to update and resubmit your eportfolio. There is a $75USD fee to re-submit your portfolio and you can submit up to two additional times after your original submission (a total of 3 chances)  
What benefits do I get when I complete my ISTE Certification?
  • Recognition as an ISTE Certified Educator
  • Certificate from 21st Century Learning for completing online learning with 40 hours. 
  • Open digital badge and certificate to showcase your accomplishment
  • Opportunity to earn up to 4 graduate-level credits
  • Special identification when presenting at ISTE Conference and Expo and 21st Century Learning Events
  • Access to an online community of ISTE Certified Educators
How long does certification last?
Three years
What is the renewal process?
There will be several ongoing actions you can take as an ISTE Certified Educator to earn points toward recertification.  
How Long is Phase I of the Online Certification
Phase I of the online certification is 10 hours of Zoom calls currently split into 5 calls. It is estimated that participants spend 6-8 hours preparing for each call so in total Phase I is estimated at 40 hours. The recently updated curriculum allows a dive deeper into the content which should lighten the load by the time you come to the portfolio as you will have greater fluency with the standards and criteria.