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Framework for teaching - and technology

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:

Domain 1:  Planning and Preparation

Domain 2:  The Classroom Environment

Domain 3:  Instruction

Domain 4:  Professional Responsibilities

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Reader Comments (8)

Please keep us posted as you ponder this issue! I'm pondering too!

January 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCheri Dobbs

Hi Doug,
This is one resource we are evaluating in my district. It is pretty darn good and even has examples of lessons, videos, ect. Good luck!

January 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJen Hegna

There is really only one company that effectively uses technology to help teacher and administrators understand how to use the Danielson framework.

Check out the promos for their online programs on the Danielson Framework at

January 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge Elias

Either you have standardized outcomes or standardized practice but you can't have it both ways. Not unless they find a way to issue to teachers standardized students.

January 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarl Anderson

As part of the requirements for my MEd program, i have decided to do a major research project and produce a handbook that teachers can use to help them use information and computer technologies in the classroom as teaching and learning tools.

Now I teach a learning strategies class and have used ICT s as a teaching and the kids use it as a learning tool and to demonstrate their learning. I absolutely love using the ICTs to differentiate instruction and assessment. My students who are reluctant , struggling learners are motivated to do their best because they are used to using the technology all the time and don't think of the assignments as work. They are excited about constructing their own knowledge and sharing it with classmates and beyond. The technology lets them do this easily.

I'm really excited about doing this. I want the handbook to be extremely user friendly, accessible and engaging for teachers and explain tools ICTs), the strategies and the rational for using them. I should be finished with my course work in a year and then I'll be working on the major research project and doing research to inform what I do. I know it's a long time but time flies as they say.

It's an exciting time to be a teacher, but then I've been teaching for 28 years and have found that it's always an exciting time because there are always new things being introduced for me to use in creative ways for the benefit of my students.

I think before we assess teachers use of technology in the classroom as a teachibg/assessment tool, we need to be clear on the 5 w's of technology in the classroom. I can't remember seeing criteria, a rubric if you will, for how technology should be used. This is something that would be use3ful to explore.

January 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterElona Hartjes

Hi Doug,
While we Texans might be looking at ridiculous cuts to education thanks to our ultra conservative legislature and completely out of touch governor, we have had this tool in place for awhile:

It contains some basic tools for self -assessment for teachers' technology use and integration, Texas technology application standards (not great, but better than nothing), performance descriptors, and more.

Don't you just love how Texas spends a great deal of time and money coming up with cute acronyms, like STARChart, but can't fund basic education?

January 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLen Bryan

Hi Cheri,

Whatever I come up with will appear in the Blue Skunk!


Hi Jen,

These kinds of tools are pretty common (and this looks like a good one), but they stand apart from mainstream tools used by curriculum and staff development people. I am trying the other approach - starting with the mainstream tool and adding tech. I want the focus to start with good teaching and then adding the tech.


Hi George,

I think you missed the point unless there is something I didn't see on your site - it's not using tech to teach about Danielson, but using tech within the Danielson model. Or maybe it was a cheap advertising link for you. I left the comment in, however.


Hi Carl,

Your assertion seems a bit black or white to me. I believe there are levels of expectations we can have of all teachers (such as professionalism) without much sacrificing individuality in practices. Certainly a balance is called for.


Hi Elona,

Very best of luck on your book. Coming from a real teacher with such a strong history in the classroom, I am sure it will be practical and useful. Let me know when it is done and I will let Blue Skunk readers know about it!


Hi Len,

Thanks for the reminder. I am pretty familiar with the STARChart stuff (thanks to Miguel Guhlin's blog).

What I am suggesting, however, it rather than create an independent "how to do technology good" document, we take a mainstream educational document and look at how technology supports it.

Just so crazy it just might work.

I'll be down in Ft. Worth working at an ESC's library workshop on Friday. I am expecting warm temps!

All the best,


January 30, 2011 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

Any chance you created a nice clean Google Doc of the Domains (plus tech)? Started kicking around the NETS standards, but we're Daniellson crazy over here in the Cheesehead state, so this would be something that speaks admin/DPI language. It pays to google your name with something I'm looking for...


October 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNathan Mielke

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