Did you know that there’s an international ICT competency framework for teachers?

UNESCO have captured a great understatement with their introduction to the new framework for ICT in education:

  Two decades after the first mainstream rollout of computers in schools we have learned many significant lessons about ICT in Education and their potential transforming impact on national education systems. Yet, countries around the world face urgent challenges in harnessing the power of ICT in the classroom and beyond.  

UNESCO have just updated their ICT Competency Framework for Teachers, which is an international model for use by education systems around the world to support teachers’ use of ICT in teaching and learning. It aims to help countries to develop comprehensive national teacher ICT competency policies and standards, and they position it as an overall component of national education strategy.

I also think it’s a valuable framework for individual schools, or school systems, thinking about the development needs of existing teachers. It can be used as a self-diagnosis tool by individual teachers, or as a professional development framework for a curriculum department or whole school.

What the ICT Competency Framework for Teachers contains

Front cover of the ICT Competency Framework for Teachers from UNESCOThe framework addresses:

  • Understanding ICT in education – policy awareness, understanding and innovation
  • Curriculum and Assessment – basic knowledge, how to apply it, and skills for a knowledge society
  • Pedagogy – integrating pedagogy, complex problem solving and self management
  • ICT – the tools
  • Organisation and Administration – from the standard classroom, to collaborative groups, to complex learning organisations
  • Teacher Professional Learning – from digital literacy, to the teacher as a model learner



UNESCO’s framework emphasises that it is not enough for teachers to have ICT competencies to be able to teach them to their students. Teachers need to be able to help students become collaborative, problem solving creative learners through using ICT so they will be effective global citizens.

The current version of the ICT Competency Framework for Teachers is a 2011 update of the original version published in 2008, and is the result of the successful continued partnership between UNESCO and CISCO, INTEL, ISTE and Microsoft.


Sometimes these types of documents can be quite theoretical and dry, but a lot of work appears to have been put into this to make it accessible to readers – for example, there are three tables which clearly illustrate the three levels of competency discussed, with examples from a teacher’s everyday life (on pages 10, 12 and 14). On their own, they’d make a great discussion resource for a professional development day or training course.

Common mistakes when developing teacher competency with ICT

In many sections, the ICT Competency Framework for Teachers also lists a set of common mistakes. For example, when exploring the use ICT to enhance teacher productivity, it lists three common mistakes as:

  • Trying to use all the available tools
  • Using ICT for a critical task when beginning to learn how to use ICT
  • Not persevering despite initial mistakes

Download the ICT Competency Framework for Teachers

Learn MoreDownload the UNESCO ICT Competency Framework for Teachers (PDF)