Learning and Teaching Re-imagined * Future Education Today
Governments and practitioners in the education sector alike recognize that information and communication technology (ICT) can play an important role
in supporting educational improvement and reform.
To be successful in today’s information-rich and knowledge-based societies, students and teachers must utilize technology effectively and develop ICT skills. Bringing ICT into the
classroom serves to:
• Help students develop the skills necessary to live and work successfully in the 21st century;
• Support teachers improving students’ class- room learning experiences with interactive and dynamic ICT-based resources.
One of the challenges in incorporating a technology element in education has been to ensure that teachers have developed the appropriate ICT knowledge. Similarly, curriculum
and training providers lacked a clear set of internationally recognized guidelines on what constitutes appropriate ICT professional development for educators.
Competencies for Incorporating ICT into the Classroom
To address these challenges, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) teamed up with Cisco, Intel and Microsoft, as well as the International
Society for Technology in Education and the University of Virginia to develop the Information and Technologies Competency Framework for Teachers (ICT-CFT) project. Launched
in 2008 after five years of research, the ICT-CFT provides guidance for Ministries of Education, educators, and curriculum and training providers on how to improve teaching through
the use of ICT. The ICT-CFT will be available in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Russian, and is being used by many practitioners to define and reform their offerings,
• A Policy Framework that explains the rationale, structure and approach of the ICT-CFT project;
• Competency Framework Modules that explain how three stages of educational development could be mapped against six aspects of a teacher’s work to create a framework
of modules of teacher competencies;
• Implementation Guidelines that provide detailed specifications for each module.
The UNESCO ICT-CFT was built to support local government and public and private sector organizations to create content, execution frameworks and measurement of teacher
competencies, as part of a comprehensive approach to education reform. The framework is arranged in three different approaches to teaching, corresponding to the successive stages of a teacher’s development:
technology literacy, knowledge deepening, and knowledge creation. It includes six components of an educational system – policy, curriculum, pedagogy, ICT, organization, and teacher training.
Application and deployment of ICT-CFT
To address the issue of quality assurance, UNESCO is providing assistance in the deployment of the ICT-CFT at different levels:
• Strengthening the national capacity to localize and further develop ICT-CFT standards;
• Capacity building for public teacher training institutions in adapting curriculum and improving the capacity of teacher educators;
• Capacity building for examination developers and examiners.
Awareness-raising and training of UNESCO field staff on the ICT-CFT will be a key component of this strategy. Each of the matrix cells constitutes a module in the framework.
Within each of these modules, there are specific curricular goals and teacher skills. An overview of these modules can be found at www.uneso.org. While the ICT-CFT specifies the
competencies needed to bring ICT into education, it remains up to approved governmental, non-governmental, and private providers to deliver the curriculum and training programs
that align with these competencies. Some examples include: ICDL for Teachers program, Cambridge University’s ICT Certification offerings, Cisco’s Networking Academy instructor
training, Intel® Teach Program Curriculum, Microsoft’s Digital Literacy and Learning curricula, and others.
Providers and practitioners interested in participating in The ICT Framework are allowed considerable flexibility in their implementation.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) -
is the UN agency responsible for the promotion of international cooperation in the fields of education, science, culture and communication. UNESCO functions as a laboratory of ideas and standard setter to forge universal agreements on emerging development and ethical issues. It also serves as a clearinghouse for the dissemination and sharing of information and knowledge, while helping Member States build their human and institutional capacities. www.unesco.org.
Download the overview in PDF
The Information & Communication Technologies (ICT) Competency Framework for Teachers (CFT) was developed by The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization (UNESCO). It was developed through a public-private partnership between UNESCO and its partners to provide guidance on quality teacher training and how to
best use ICT in the classroom. It aims to improve the way teachers teach by using technology - resulting in better education and more highly skilled students to advance a
country's economic and social development. The initiative applies clear criteria and standards for the application of ICT in the classroom, regardless of where the classroom
A policy framework explaining the
rationale, structure and approach of the
ICT CFT project.
Implementation guidelines providing a
detailed syllabus of the specific skills to
be acquired by teachers within each skill
set or module.
The ICT competency standards for teachers
have been designed by UNESCO and its
partners to help educational policy-makers
and curriculum developers identify the skills
teachers need to harness technology in the
service of education.
ICT competency standards
for teachers: policy
ICT competency standards
for teachers: implementation
guidelines, version 1.0
ICT competency standards
for teachers: competency
The first phase of the CFT project was completed in late 2007 and the Competency Framework - presented in a set of three booklets - was launched in January 2008. The Framework provides a syllabus as the key
reference for training providers, listing guidelines on what teachers should know to apply ICT to education in their own creative ways and examples of how to train them to achieve this. While the Competency Framework
specifies the competencies needed to bring ICT into education, it remains up to approved governmental, non-governmental, and private providers to deliver the curriculum and training programs for these competencies.
Sandra Lund-Diaz, M.Ed., Interim Executive Director, Knowledge Building in Action