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A Constructivist Approach to the National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers

reviewed by Julie Delello - April 05, 2013

coverTitle: A Constructivist Approach to the National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers
Author(s): V. N. Morphew
Publisher: International Society for Technology in Education ,
ISBN: 1564843130, Pages: 370, Year: 2012
Search for book at Amazon.com

A Constructivist Approach to the National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers authored by V. N. Morphew (2012) offers a comprehensive approach to effectively preparing teachers to integrate 21st century technology into K-12 classrooms. With the exception of the introductory and concluding chapters, the book is divided into five chapters which address the revised National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers (NETS.T) developed by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE, 2008). The five standards are

Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity

Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments

Model Digital-Age Work and Learning

Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility

Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership

In addition, the text details the accompanying measurable performance indicators for each of the standards and concludes with additional exploration activities, reflections, resource lists, and chapter reviews.

Chapter One, organized around the learning theories of Bloom (1956), Gardner (1993), Piaget (1967) and Vygotsky (1978), takes the reader on a journey from pedagogy to practice. Using a constructivist lens, Morphew highlights how teachers can use different technologies to cultivate creativity, address multiple learning styles, and utilize technology to enhance teaching and learning. According to Morphew, “As the kernel of creativity takes seed in every student at every age, teachers must do all they can to foster its growth and support” (p. 15). Using a variety of technologies, she suggests some possible platforms to engage students in investigating real-world issues. Additionally, a number of digital tools are recommended to help foster collaboration, promote reflection, and create meaningful learning experiences for all students.

Chapter Two focuses on authentic ways that teachers can use digital technologies to transform schools into 21st century learning communities. Teachers must remain informed on the best practices of using emerging technologies and refine their practice based upon assessment and evaluation data. Centered upon the research, teachers then have the knowledge to choose the best resources for the individual needs of the students within the classroom. Morphew notes that this type of action research will maximize student learning and exemplify “evidence-based instruction” (p. 75). Morphew spends a good portion of this chapter discussing instructional strategies that support the diverse needs of learners. Also, she provides examples of developmentally appropriate resources for students with differing abilities, talents, and needs.

In Chapter Three, Morphew examines how teachers can model digital-age work and learning to ensure students are provided the skills necessary for success in the 21st century. Teachers must have an understanding of how to use digital resources in their classrooms and ensure that students have access to these tools.  Written as a beginner's guide to integrating technology, the chapter provides an explanation of basic computer hardware and software applications. Morphew gives numerous examples of common software tools along with a description of how they may be used by both teachers and students in the classroom. An additional section of this chapter is devoted to communication and collaboration within a professional learning community. Furthermore, Morphew familiarizes the reader with digital tools such as wikis and blogs, which help support collaboration and effective communication and concludes the chapter with a variety of Web 2.0 productivity applications for use in today’s networked classrooms.

In Chapter Four, Morphew looks at how teachers can promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility. To accomplish this, teachers need to model safe and responsible technology use and promote professional principles in the classroom. This includes communicating with students on issues regarding equity, accessibility, fair-use, copyright, confidentiality, and digital etiquette (netiquette). By teaching students about the ethical and unethical uses of technology, we can create responsible learners while preparing them for the world outside of school. In order to develop culturally responsive teaching practices, Morphew provides specific tools and resources for global collaboration.

Chapter Five, based upon the last standard, Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership is written to empower teachers to learn with and through others. Morphew offers teachers a range of professional development examples and tools to develop their technological skills while connecting with learning communities and professional networks. These include online chat sites, links to education societies, professional development opportunities, blog, podcast, and wiki-directory websites, and other social networking platforms for teachers. Learning, according to Morphew, is a “continuous journey of discovery and renewal that happens over time . . . not confined to an institution, limited by circumstances, or restricted to geographic boundaries; rather, opportunities for growth, development, and learning are ever present and unlimited” (p. 247). Part of that growth is not only through collaboration but also in reflection and service. In the final section of the chapter, teachers are encouraged develop a habit of philanthropy in order to give back to their communities. A list of organizations and service-learning opportunities is provided for the reader to consider.

Although many educators embrace technology, concerns still exist when using it for classroom instruction. In the last chapter of the book, Morphew concludes with a recognition of the obstacles teachers face when integrating technology into their classrooms. Furthermore, the text

highlights the importance of investing in teacher preparation and training.  In summary, the refreshed ISTE NETS.T standards “emphasize integration of technology in a manner that, if infused into teacher-preparation programs and workshops, may help teachers overcome some of the barriers reported by experienced and new teachers” (p. 290).

Overall, this text is an excellent resource for teacher-preparation programs in addition to novice teachers wanting to integrate technology applications into the classroom. Each chapter is skillfully crafted and logically ordered according to the NETS.T standards.  The strength of this book is due to Morphew’s incorporation of multiple productivity tools, resources, and strategies that teachers can immediately use in their instructional practice. However, the reader should bear in mind that as the leap from desktop to mobile devices occurs in classrooms, many of the suggested resources may be replaced with newer technology applications. Furthermore, a follow up to this book on using emerging technologies within specific academic disciplines could be explored. This book invites teachers to move beyond traditional instructional practices and involve students in the creation of knowledge through the use of 21st century technologies.


Bloom, B.S. and Krathwohl, D. R. (1956) Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: The Classification of Educational Goals, by a committee of college and university examiners. Handbook I: Cognitive Domain. New York, NY: Longmans, Green.

Gardner, H. (1993) Frames of Mind: the theory of multiple intelligences (2nd edition). London: Fontana Press.

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). (2008). National educational technology standards for teachers. Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/Content/NavigationMenu/NETS/ForTeachers/NETS_for_Teachers.htm  

Piaget, J. (1967/1971). Biology and knowledge. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: April 05, 2013
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 17077, Date Accessed: 5/21/2022 8:29:44 AM

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About the Author
  • Julie Delello
    University of Texas at Tyler
    E-mail Author
    JULIE DELELLO is an Assistant Professor in the College of Education and Psychology at The University of Texas at Tyler. She received her PhD in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization in science and technology from Texas A&M University. Her areas of focus include Response to Intervention, Disability Studies, Visual Media Technologies, Virtual Science Museums, Social Media Platforms, and ePortfolios for authentic learning. Julie has worked in K-12 education for over 20 years as both a teacher and as an administrator. Julie helped to design virtual science museums in conjunction with The Chinese Academy of Sciences, Computer Network Information Center in Beijing, China. In addition, Julie has won several grants and teaching awards including a National Science Foundation Grant for The East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes, the Golden Apple Educator Award for Best Practices in Staff Development and Curriculum Initiatives, and the 2012 University of Texas at Tyler-Kappa Delta Pi Teacher of the Year award. Julie was also the invited guest speaker at the United States Department of State Eleventh Annual Joint U.S.-China Joint Science and Technology Commission Meeting on the efforts of expanding the scientific and educational ties between the U.S. and China.
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