Wednesday, October 28, 2015

How Tech Using Teachers Can #HavetheTalk with Administrators

There are several quality free programs available for schools. Part of my work is helping teachers use platforms such as the ones below in the classroom. The challenge is that these programs are a change from conventional teaching and learning. The problem for teachers is that some administrators do not know how to evaluate a teacher whose students are learning in such an environment. Regardless, teachers must be armed with the knowledge of how to prepare for such evaluations.

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Google CS First
Digital Compass 
Digital Passport 
Engage Students with Digital Passport™ 
Digital Bytes
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In cities like New York teachers are evaluated using the four Danielson Domains. This means teachers must be prepared to explain to administrators what they are doing through the lense of each Domain.

Here is what that looks like.
Domain 1: Planning and preparation. When using a quality program, it is planned and prepared well. What this looks like - The programs are delivered using materials developed by world-renowned experts. This means the content is coherently delivered and created by many of the most knowledgeable in the field.
What teachers must be prepared to do – Know who created the program and the research behind it.  Be prepared to discuss the instructional design and elements that make this program a success for student learning.

Domain 2: Classroom Environment What this looks like - Teachers and students are interacting but it doesn’t look like conventional interaction. Additionally, students may be interacting with others around the globe. Innovative educators must know how to explain this.  Students are engaging digitally.

What teachers must be prepared to do - Be ready to explain how you are building and developing responsible digital citizens.  Have examples handy of teacher – student and student – student interactions.  Know how to show student behavior, how it is monitored, and what you do if there are behavior issues.

Domain 3: Instruction What this looks like - When technology is used all students are able to participate all the time in ways never possible in conventional classrooms.  Students are grouped and placed in a way that is instantly assessed based on their ability. Pacing is individualized. Student assessment and feedback is instant.   
What teachers must be prepared to do – Consider putting together a slide deck that outlines some of the elements that support instruction with real student samples. This would include the sort of questions and prompts students receive. The way discussion is fostered. Show a dashboard that captures student participation.  Provide a graph of the class that shows the structure and pacing of students based on individual progress.  Give examples of the type of instant feedback students receive as well as how student can assess and monitor themselves.
Domain 4: Professional Responsibilities One of the wonderful attributes on online platforms is that they have professional learning networks tied to them. Participate in the network created by the platform or create your own. These are places where educators are discussing best practices for teaching and learning. They share what works, challenges, and tips and tricks. 
What teachers must be prepared to do – Capture links that represent your engagement in these communities. Show how you have grown from feedback given by others and how you have helped others with your feedback. If the platforms have webinars or Twitter chats, engage and make sure you keep a record of those in which you participate.  
What do you think? Are you prepared to have these types of conversations with administrators where you work? What else have you had success with when being evaluated using innovative practices. Have you had these conversations? What worked? What didn't? How does your role change in such an environment. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.  

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