Sketchnoting to Unpack the ISTE Standards for Educators & Students

When working with preservice and in-service teachers who are striving for intentional and purposeful use of technology in their classrooms, I find it really helpful to begin our work by unpacking the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Standards for Educators and Students. Just like teachers can use content area frameworks to guide curriculum development in the classes they teach, they can use the ISTE Standards to guide their instructional decision-making when it comes to technology. However, this first means we need to unpack the ISTE Standards and talk about what they mean in practical terms. In one of the classes I teach for preservice teachers (Integrating Technology and Teaching), we do this through the creation of sketchnotes and infographics.

Here’s an example of a sketchnote that was created to unpack ISTE for Educators Standard 3: Citizen.

Sketchnote illustrating the elements of ISTE Standard for Educators #3: Citizen
Early in the semester, every preservice teacher is assigned one of the seven ISTE Standards for Educators. We visit the ISTE website ( and discuss how to read each of the indicators within the standards. Then, everyone gets creative! We share these sketchnotes to a Padlet page, so everyone can learn from one another’s work and see a variety of visual representations for each of the standards. I share a variety of apps that students can use from Keynote and Notes to tools like Sketches School.

Later on in the semester, after we have moved through several more modules in the course, we revisit the ISTE Standards for Educators and take our discussion one step further by comparing these standards to the ISTE Standards for Students ( This time, preservice teachers in the course create anything they choose to represent their thinking about the standards. Many students create sketchnotes and infographics like the examples below, but some preservice teachers choose to record audio or create videos with Clips.

Sketchnote breaking down ISTE Standard for Students - Global Collaborator
Sketchnote illustrating ISTE Standard for Students #3: Knowledge Constructor
Graphic describing the elements of ISTE Standard for Students - Empowered Learner
Beginning our professional learning with, and then consistently revisiting, the ISTE Standards can help teachers maintain their focus on using technology with purpose and intentionality in ways that drive meaningful learning experiences. Using simple activities like sketchnoting and creating infographics makes space for teachers to be creative in how they represent their thinking without drawing focus away from the critical thinking and analysis that comes with unpacking standards. Discussion about how different teachers visualize the same standards can cultivate powerful conversations about how we are practically applying the big ideas shared in the ISTE Standards.

7 replies

August 30, 2022

Thanks for sharing your examples. Sketching noting is one of my goals to improve on this year.

August 31, 2022

Me too JJ! These certainly make notes and thoughts come alive! Certainly a model to emulate. Beautiful Jessica!

September 01, 2022

Thanks, JJ and Cheryl! I'm not an expert sketchnoter by any stretch of the imagination :) But I think it's helpful to model different ways to show thinking for our preservice teachers. Some of them really love this activity and create the most beautiful content throughout the rest of the semester! It inspires me to practice my own sketchnoting skills!

March 13, 2023

Thanks for sharing Jessica. The point is , with sketchnoting you can convey so much more information than you can with words.

March 23, 2023

Agree; definitely a helpful strategy for making thinking visible!

March 22, 2023

Hi Jessica,

Thanks so much for sharing your resources. I enjoy doing sketchnotes to formulate ideas for concept maps. I have also found them to be good ways to get college students who don't think learning can be colorful or creative to generate depth to their notes. Often I too will use this a lead into infographics. Your work here is inspiring!

March 23, 2023

Thanks, Heather! Love that you mentioned this as a strategy to encourage college students that learning can be colorful and creative! So often, I think this gets lost in the largely traditional formats their asked to use to demonstrate their knowledge. I appreciate your feedback!

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