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Tuesday
Jun052012

Technology "look for's" in teacher evaluations

My attempt to integrate technology use into Charlotte Danielson's Frameworks of Learning has gone absolutely nowhere in my district. In February 2011, I proposed adding some technology competencies to our system of teacher evaluation divided into Danielson's domains. The original document/tool I wrote is here.

So last week I was whining to our Professional Development Coordinator about this sad lack of progress, when she asked me to resend her the proposal. She then very kindly responded by suggesting that I should simplify the technology lists under each domain, picking the most important skills in each domain and changing the items to "Look for's." In other words, when doing a teacher observation or evaluation, the observer should look for _____________ related to technology use.

Brilliant!

Here are my originals and my revisions in italics. See what you think:

Domain 1:  Planning and Preparation
Technology-related competencies in this domain:

  1. Teacher uses online resources, including professional social networking sites, to stay current on the latest research and best practices in his/her field.
  2. Teacher is aware of the characteristics of "net generation" learners and their relationship with technology and its uses. Teacher uses this information in using technology in the classroom to design engaging activities.
  3. The teacher determines the technology skill level of students, knows the expected competencies for productivity and research, and finds means of remediation of individual students when needed.
  4. Teacher uses adaptive and adoptive technologies with special needs students.
  5. Teacher establishes appropriate goals for technology applications for students.
  6. Teacher knows, accesses and uses digital resources provided by the state and district, including productivity tools, online teaching/reference materials, and textbook supplemental materials. Teacher uses other digital materials available online outside the district that support student learning.
  7. Teacher designs learning activities that use the technology resources available.
  8. Teacher uses online resources to provide instructional materials at differing levels and subjects to meet individual student abilities, needs and interests.
  9. Assessment criteria of student work include qualitative indicators of effective technology production.

Look for....

  1. The teacher creates assignments appropriate to the technology abilities of his or her students.
  2. Teacher uses digital resources provided by the district, including GoogleApps for Education, Moodle, e-textbooks, Learn 360 and Worldbook Online.
  3. Teacher designs learning activities that use available technology resources including laptop carts, iPads, computer labs, and SmartBoards.
  4. Teacher uses digital resources to differentiate instruction, including using devices for special needs students, by using a variety of computer activities and online materials suited to different reading abilities and/or learning preferences.
  5. Assessment of student work includes technology production when applicable.


Domain 2:  The Classroom Environment
Technology-related competencies in this domain:

  1. Teacher interactions online follow the same guidelines as face-to-face interactions.
  2. Teacher demonstrates an enthusiasm for educational technology and its uses.
  3. Teacher uses technology to provide a wider audience for student work, which in turn leads to higher levels of concern by students about their work's quality. Appropriate safety and privacy efforts are made.
  4. Teacher helps student use technology in the revision process of their creative efforts.
  5. Teacher uses technology to facilitate peer editing of student work.
  6. Teacher has rules and expectations for productive technology use in the classroom, including rules regarding the use of personally owned technology devices.
  7. Teacher use the student information system efficiently, resulting in minimum use of class time in management tasks.
  8. Teacher monitors student technology use and responds to misbehavior if it occurs.
  9. Technology in the classroom is arranged for ease of monitoring and flexible use.

Look for....

  1. Teacher demonstrates a positive attitude toward educational technology during class.
  2. Teacher uses technology to help students “publish” their work online for other students, parents, and the public to view, following district safety and privacy rules.
  3. Teacher uses technology to facilitate collaborative creation and peer editing of student work.
  4. Teacher has rules for technology use in the classroom, including rules regarding the use of personally owned technology devices such as cell phones.
  5. Teacher monitors student technology use and responds to misuse if it occurs.


Domain 3:  Instruction
Technology-related competencies in this domain:

  1. Teacher gives students alternate means of discussion and asking question using online communication tools to bring out the ideas of all students.
  2. Teacher allows students to initiate discussions in online forums such as classroom blogs, discussion lists and social networking tools.
  3. Teacher expects and reinforces appropriate student interaction when using online tools.
  4. Teacher uses technology to create and project visual images that help explain content and concepts.
  5. Teacher uses technologies such as interactive white boards, student response systems and computer games to engage students.
  6. Teacher encourages students to use online resources to answer questions and explore concepts during class and teaches search and information evaluation strategies.
  7. Teacher uses technology in ways that make students productive and meet the instructional goals of the lesson.
  8. Teacher uses adaptive and adoptive technologies with students with special needs and to differentiate instruction for all students.

Look for....

  1. The teacher uses the classroom sound amplification system if available.
  2. Teacher uses technology to create and project visual images and video that help explain content and concepts.
  3. Teacher uses the interactive white board (Smartboard) in ways that engage students. These uses include student use of the board, gaming applications, actions based on student responses, and polling.
  4. Teacher encourages students to use online resources to answer questions and explore concepts during class and teaches search and information evaluation strategies.
  5. Teacher uses technology in ways that help make students productive (writing, designing, creating) and also meet the instructional goals of the lesson.

Domain 4: Professional Responsibilities

Technology-related competencies in this domain:

  1. Teacher uses online grading and reporting system to maintain information on student completion rates and shares this information through student and parent portals in real time.
  2. Teacher uses online grading system portal to inform students and parents of upcoming assignments, projects and assessments.
  3. Teacher uses the district website to provide a wide range of current information to students and parents.
  4. Teacher uses online communication tools such as e-mail, blogging and social networking to keep students and parents informed on a regular basis. Teacher engagement with students and parents online is frequent and successful.
  5. Teacher uses collaborative online tools to communicate and work with colleagues.
  6. Teacher volunteers to share effective uses of technology at staff meetings and inservices; through professional writings and presentations; and through demonstrations to parent-teacher and community organizations.
  7. Teacher participates in both organized and personal learning opportunities online.
  8. Teacher honors and learns from students who have technology competencies and knowledge.
  9. Teacher keeps an open but critical mind about technology uses.

Look for....

  1. Teacher uses online grading and reporting system to maintain information on student completion rates and shares this information through student and parent portals in a consistent and timely manner.
  2. Teacher uses online grading system portal to inform students and parents of upcoming assignments, projects, and assessments well ahead of the date due.
  3. Teacher uses the district website to provide current information to students and parents.
  4. Teacher uses online communication tools such as e-mail, blogging, and social networking to keep students and parents informed on a regular basis.
  5. Teacher uses collaborative online tools to communicate and work with colleagues. 

Those of us who are immersed in technology need a reminder now and then that we should speak plainly and prioritize technology use expectations. A little kick in the pants never hurt anybody - for long anyway.

Let's see if the revised "look for's" have better success than my original model. Your revisions to make this stronger?

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Reader Comments (8)

Thanks for this. One question: are your look fors attached to specific components or elements in Danielson?

June 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCathy

I would like to add something for career and technical educators-uses technology of the trade (or industry). I find some administrators do not always recognize technology usage can be using the most up to date technology in the culinary, construction, agriculture, or engineering field. Technology usage goes beyond a computer and the Internet.

June 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTammy Hodges

I wish that instead of a list of "look-fors," or indicators that:

1. The administrator infused learning with information and communications technology into the school so that the administrator is not looking for indicators lacking in the overall administration of the school plan and in their own practice. Administrators need to show leadership and role model to shape a school culture that embraces and infuses Iiteracy with ICT to reasonably expect the indicators you would like added to the district plan.

2. Teachers co-constructed indicators with each other and their administration so that the look-fors are not the petard administrators erect on which teachers fail/fall. Although at least the transparency of the 'look-fors,' allow for better communication if not endorsement. Teachers don't HAVE to do what they WANT to do...so still better to have teachers co-construct indicators with administration.

Danielson bothers and troubles me....for the lack of power and professionalism accorded to teachers. In the end with the use of Danielson's scheme, the administrator makes some sort of pronouncement regarding a teacher's performance rather than practice. Teachers need to gain professional status and take the power away from administrators, politicians, and parents to dictate practice. Teachers need to gain respect for upholding transparent standards of professional practice...otherwise teaching is an exercise in responsibility without authority...

June 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSheri O

Hi Cathy,

My "look for's" tend to be somewhat generic under the 4 domain categories. I am sure you could match more precisely if you want to.

Doug

Hi Tammy,

Use of content specific tools would probably be a good addition. In addition to the career and tech things you've mentioned, science probes, graphing calculators, etc. should be used in courses where applicable.

Thanks for the comment,

Doug

Hi Sheri,

I've been thinking a lot about your comments. I totally agree that any form of teacher evaluation tool should be a collaboration between admin and principals. Great point.

My concern about "administrators need to be tech leaders" is that administrators use technology is quite different ways than teachers are expected to use it. Yes, there are some basic commonalities - for communication, for example - but I don't know how much real overlap there is. This list of "look for's" was developed at the request of administrators who have not been teacher since technology has made big inroads into the classroom and wanted concrete examples of good classroom use.

Personally, I see Danielson's writings much like I view Madeline Hunter's - simply a list of good common teaching practices and techniques. I don't see that know and following a set of good practices de-professionalizes anyone. In fact, I would contend real professionals DO follow a set of commonly agreed upon best practices. Of course any tool can be misused, but that is a problem with how schools are run, not in a tool like this.

Thanks for the challenging comment and making me think!

Doug

June 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

(Response from Sheri)

Hi Doug,

Thanks for responding to my comment.

I fear that principals putting teachers through a checklist of markers the teachers have not developed themselves disempowers the teacher by externalizing the source of indicators of professional practice.

I am not familiar with Madeline Hunter...I watched s couple of videos of a Danielson teacher evaluation process...and I was struck by the principal dictating to the teacher at the end of the video the necessary steps for "correction." It seemed like shades of ,"i gotcha," the control rested with the principal not the teacher...which is counter to a talk between professionals.

"Correction," is the sense I took from the Danielson process wherein the teacher is being made to jump through the hoops of the administrator rather than joining in a community of practice and placing the practice in a spectrum of acceptable or even developing practices. I'd rather see the language of practice used and teachers setting the standards for practice...as professionals...

Teachers can and do have teaching practices...its just that administrators often deny teachers authority over their practice.

While administrators may not use technology for the same purposes as teachers...administrators can still role model by adopting policies of trust rather than control, using social media for communication, and joining some online learning experience...as for administrators just looking-for indicators that are incompletely understood...itsn't that just paint by numbers...where's the dynamism, authority and artistry?

So then the administrator fails to see some aspects and how are they weighted...it could and does lead to killing a mosquito with a sledge hammer...ignorance is not bliss...

Let standards of professional practice or competencies be the petard on which teachers fall.

Thanks,
Sheri

I guess my only comment would be to actually read Danielson's Frameworks of Learning before dismissing it. I personally think it is a good tool but good tools can be well used or badly used depending on the situation.

Doug

June 12, 2012 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

I have recently (6 years ago) returned to education after running a business for 25 years. Before that I taught at the college level only. Now I teach high school physics and physics at a couple of four year colleges. I have always tried to employ technological advances, but I'm a little concerned. From what I can see, we have been "pushing" technology on teachers (and students) for about a decade. From what I read on the listservs I'm on, acheivement has been declining for that same time period, instead of improving. The high school I am currently at (I've been here one year) went to a one-to-one initiative about 8 years ago. Before going one-to-one this high school had the highest standardized test scores in the region. The school I was previously at was 10 percentage points lower at that time. Fast forward to a year ago, my former high school's performance on the same test had not improved, but was now equal to the school that had went one-to-one. To my question: Is there valid research that shows forcing teachers to employ technology in the classroom has improved learning? I realize that our legislators have built technology standards into the teacher standards, but did they do that based on valid research, or impressive presentations from technology vendors? I see valid uses for technology, but producing a canned set of "look fors" forces teachers to use technology in situations where it may not improve learning, and may hamper it. Teachers are individuals with very different styles. A teacher that is an ethusiastics lecturer, able to keep a students focus with little effort, may not be able to keep that enthusiasm in a powerpoint presentation or a "student-centered" web-quest. Every teacher should have all the technological tools at their disposal, but never evaluated on how well they use them by a once-a-year observation. Use of technology should be self evaluated and peer reviewed.

June 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnthony Dunn

Hi Anthony,

You've hit on some really important and common questions. As with any effort to improve education, determining direct causation is nearly impossible since so many variables come into play. (This includes non-technology movements as well.) The other huge question is how one defines "improves learning." Just test scores? Improving critical thinking and creativity? School drop out rate? There is also no single way to implement technology in schools, even in one-to-one programs. Drill and kill? Communications? Research and problem solving?

My cynical side is that we can find research to back about any approach we like in education if we look hard enough. Wish there were easier answers. My advice is to find ways that technology best supports educational best practices - and don't look back.

Doug

June 15, 2012 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

Doug,
I am very late to this discussion. I came across your blog while researching technology integration plans for my Administrative Cert Internship. (Pennsylvania)

Has there been any movement on incorporating technology in the Danielson framework in your district? Do you know of anyone who has?

I'll try to catch up on the rest of your blog

Joe

March 17, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJoe Foley

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