To what degree should teachers be held accountable for the effective use of technology provided to them by their district? And if there should be accountability, how might it be assessed?
Many districts use Charlotte Danielson's Framework for Teaching as a guide for teacher evaluations.
Danielson organizes effective teaching practices into four domains each with several sub-domains:
Domain 1: Planning and Preparation
- Demonstrating Knowledge of Content and Pedagogy
- Demonstrating Knowledge of Students
- Setting Instructional Outcomes
- Demonstrating Knowledge of Resources
- Designing Coherent Instruction Designing Student Assessments
Domain 2: The Classroom Environment
- Creating an Environment of Respect and Rapport
- Establishing a Culture for Learning
- Managing Classroom Procedures
- Managing Student Behavior Organizing Physical Space
Domain 3: Instruction
- Communicating With Students
- Using Questioning and Discussion Techniques
- Engaging Students in Learning
- Using Assessment in Instruction
- Demonstrating Flexibility and Responsiveness
Domain 4: Professional Responsibilities
- Reflecting on Teaching
- Maintaining Accurate Records
- Communicating with Families
- Participating in a Professional Community
- Growing and Developing Professionally
- Showing Professionalism
I find little to disagree with in this list of teaching practices.
I've been doing a little digging in regard to Danielson's attention to the use of technology to support effective teaching practices. And I am not finding much. Danielson pays scant attention to technology (CDs, overhead projectors, calculators, and computers! p36 in Enhancing Professional Practice - 2007) in her book. The page and a half that addresses "electronic technology" emphasizes that technology is a tool, not an end, reminds readers of the digital divide, and excuses us oldies who are fearful of those new fangled gizmos. One of the "seven common themes" is appropriate use of technology. but descriptions of what constitutes "appropriate use," do not appear in the teacher assessment rubrics.
Danielson justifies this lack of technology use definition by saying that technology is not what teachers do but how they do it. (p32). And I agree with that. But a case can be made for an inclusion for skillful technology use as a part of teacher assessment, whether using Frameworks or other tools.
- First, effective technology use is still relatively new and not as well understood as traditional teaching practices by both teachers and those who evaluate them. There is no long history of effective practices that are a part of the culture of education. A simple guide would be a kindness.
- Second. communities through their very investment in educational technology demand that all teachers use and all student get the benefits from those investments. As educators and public servants we are not honoring the financial commitment made by our taxpayers if we do not require the use of the resources they provide.
- Finally, this is one way to ensure that the skills and benefits students receive is not wholly dependent on the individual commitment to technology use by teachers. I don't think we are talking about "teacher-proofing" the curriculum here anymore than asking that every teacher teaches to a district curriculum, uses the selected textbook, or participates in expected home/school communications.
So, unless someone can point me to some who has already done this and has made it available for anyone to use, I am going to be looking as some specific ways teachers can use "electronic technology" to do their jobs more effectively as suggested by the Danielson framework. (Seriously, let me know if you know of this having been done and save my weekend!)
Somehow we in technology have too long run on a parallel, but unconnected course with mainstream education - the world of curriculum directors, staff development coordinators and principals. Perhaps we need to change tactics with technology people working with mainstream tools, "frameworks, and goals rather than simply creating our own. I know I need to buckle down and do a better job of this my own district.
It's a concept.
My efforts here: