Teacher Evaluations and Technology

As part of my COETAIL readings for the week I was directed to several documents on the International Standards for Technology Education (ISTE).  ISTE has created standards that both students (Student NETS) and teachers  (Teacher NETs) should strive to meet when using technology.  After reviewing the standards, the COETAIL instructors asked us to contemplate who should be responsible for teaching these standards and if the Teacher NETS should be used as part of teacher evaluations.

Who is responsible for teaching technology skills?

Everyone should be responsible for using technology within the classroom because technology is a tool that can be used across the curriculum.  However, the question of who should teach students how to use this tool is another matter all together.  The ideal situation would be to have a technology coordinator who works collaboratively with teachers and administrators to determine what skills or understanding are needed.  The technology coordinator would take responsibility for teaching new tools and strategies using the technology either through inquiry or explicit instructions depending on the situation.  Once the students have the skills needed, then it is the responsibility of the teacher to ensure that the skill is used effectively and meaningfully within his or her classroom.

Should the Teacher NETs be part of teacher evaluation?

 

I would personally prefer them to be included as part of my evaluation.  However, my situation as a teacher in a private international school is not that common and while I struggle to justify a blanket yeah or nay, I can’t.  There are many issues that education needs to overcome before any sort of evaluation on a teacher’s use of technology can be used:

 

  1. Standardized Tests:  Most schools have some form of standardized test to evaluate how a school is doing in various areas.  However, I have yet to see one that accurately reflects a student’s competence in their ability to use technology effectively.
  2. Resources:  Different schools have different resources.  While the ISTE standards are fairly broad and are able to be met in different ways, schools need to ensure that they have adequate resources before adding them to their teacher evaluations.
  3. Support:  As a school community a school needs to ensure that they provide support to all teachers to ensure that they can meet teacher NETs, otherwise their inclusion would only set the teacher up for failure.

There may be other issues that schools may need to address before implementing technology as an aspect of their teacher evaluation. Before including technology as an aspect of evaluation all stakeholders within the school should be consulted to ensure that the tools, support, and training are in place to ensure that teachers are able to succeed.

Video Credit

ISTE CEO Don Knezek Discusses the NETS by ISTE

Image Credits:

Responsibility by PaDumBumPsh found on Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed

Using the interactive whiteboard in the classroom by Dell’s Official Flickr Page found on Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed

 

 

 

 

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6 Comments

Filed under COETAIL, Course 1

6 responses to “Teacher Evaluations and Technology

  1. What did you think about the Essential Conditions for technology implementation (also by ISTE)? If your school met all of those conditions, how would you feel about having it as part of teacher evaluation?

    • The essential conditions were great to see. As it helps provide guidance for school to ensure that teachers succeed. If my school met all of them, I would be more than willing to have it added to my review. As I feel that integrating technology is part and parcel of what we should doing.

  2. Another great post, Brendan.
    The question you asked of “who should teach students how to use this tool?” really got me thinking. For schools to integrate technology into their curricula, I feel there needs to be someone whose job it is to bridge the gap between students and teachers and technology. Someone who can take a teacher’s unit plan and show them various ways technology can be integrated into it. Perhaps the position of technology coordinator is one that we will start to see more of in the future.

  3. Hi Brendan,

    My last post is going to adress this same topic. When you mentioned that your situation was not the norm, teaching in an internation private school, I began to reflect on my experiences as a public school educator. No doubt, currently there are obstacles that must be overcome in order for NETS to be successfully taught and evaluated in our schools. You mentioned standardized testing, resources, and support – all important points. From another perspective, time is also critical. I came from a school system where teachers were so bound by standardized tests, that the time nor the expectation existed for them to teach anything beyond the tests. So, we’ve been referring to this “shift” in teaching…I think that there has to be a “shift” in the priorities of education and an increased focus on 21st century skills. Anyway, you’ve whetted my apetite on the topic and I look forward to reading more about this as I prepare my blog post. Thanks so much for the posting.

  4. Garry Baker

    I appreciate your thoughts. When it comes to who will teach new technologies and their applications, I have seen both approaches: teacher-directed and technologies coordinator-directed. The second approach gives uniformity and teachers know what students are able to use. I think that the responsibility of teaching new tech tools has to be a shared between teachers and tech coordinators. What approach do you use at your school?

    • Currently my school does not have an official tech coordinator and thus all tech outcomes are teacher-directed. This is great for me but I could see problems where some teachers are not comfortable with technology.

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