ISTE Certification Journey Completed?

Or has it just begun?  This has been tough.  An academic challenge that compares easily to the Masters of Education Portfolio I prepared and presented back in 2002.  A professional challenge that required collaboration, criticism, feedback, and advice from several of my colleagues.  And a personal challenge that at times had me questioning my decision to work in education.  Seriously.  Waiting for my portfolio rubric to come back had me on the spiritual ropes fighting demons of self doubt and dragons of insecurity.

But I did it.

ISTE Certification Hakkarinen 2019

This picture of the ISTE Certificate carries a lot of weight, because I weigh close to 200 lbs, and my coworkers, wife, and even my kids helped carry me through this process.

Jared Fawson and Rob Bentley, teammates from the UEN Professional Development department helped me go through the artifacts I submitted and proofread my rationales.  My wife Michelle, an Ed Tech Coach at Park City High School, was kind enough to watch my videos and keep me from quitting.  My daughter Laila, a freshman at the University of Utah, held the phone and helped record my video introduction (which you can watch below).  My daughter Kate, who just turned one, put up with me incessantly checking my email to see if my portfolio had been returned even when she was sitting in a dirty diaper.  Thank you everyone for your help and patience with this process.

And finally, a piece of advice for anyone considering going through the ISTE Certification process.  Don’t do it for the paper.

The two day in-person course is fantastic content and a very worth-while experience.  You’ll get to dive into the ISTE Standards for Students and Educators.  The online portion is also full of excellent material that is timely, research based, and innovative.

The final portion of the certification, creating the portfolio, is a massive challenge.  It requires you to collect artifacts that show proficiency in 25 of the ISTE Standards for Educators.  This requires examining your accomplishments, adjusting your current practices, and planning new activities and lessons designed specifically around these standards.  Once that is all complete you submit an “alignment map” for review and wait up to 10 business days for the reviewers to complete the rubric and either award you the certificate, or send you a rejection email with an opportunity to try again with a revision due date six months down the road.

So when I say “don’t do it for the paper,” I mean you should do it for the road.  Once you get the paper you’re not finished.  ISTE Certification is a ticket to continue along the endless journey of becoming a better educator.  Being a good educator is a tough job because there is no finish line, no commission check or major promotion to a position that pays millions, just the daily challenge to keep doing better.

So what do you think I could do better?  I’d like to know.  To see my entire ISTE Portfolio, click HERE. And check out my short video intro below to get a general idea of the project.

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