Monday, September 27, 2010

Daily Walkthroughs with GoogleApps and the iPad

How timely in light of the fact that I attended an iPad for Admins professional development session today that I come across Chris Lehmann's post Daily Walkthroughs with GoogleApps and the iPad. Take a look at his post for a smart walkthrough protocol using Google forms. At the training I attended, I was not surprised a vendor was touting their expensive walkthrough app. I wasn't much impressed. First, it seems that the iPad as the tool for this process was forced and any effort on our part to actually test the app out or have questions about it answered, were quickly squashed. They seemed more excited to talk about the app then let it speak for itself (red flag!). However, do I really need an app for that? I think not.

I have successfully been using the poorly-publicized, all-in-one Tablet combined with Google forms for this work. Lehmann is taking this path too and is trying to fit onto an iPad what may be better suited for a Tablet. However, if you have an iPad, it likely beats out engaging in the is work with a traditional laptop. Regardless of the device (an NYC administrator I work with successfully uses cell phone texting technology), it is important to note that educators are realizing the importance of digitally capturing classroom successes and challenges which is powerful!

See this video for a whimsical insight into the process.

As an innovative educator I question if the administrator is the "one" who can provide valuable insight into what's going on in classrooms? In this 21st century, web 2.0, interactive, power-with-the people world, my answer is...heck no! Let's transform this work and incorporate peer, self, student, parent, and other important voices, to weigh equally in the process where we all take ownership and move schools forward in ways that make all proud.


  1. I'm a Mac guy. If Mac had a tablet, I'd use this. But this might make my Pad into the best of both worlds -

    And the mistake is thinking that this is an either / or scenario. It's a good thing for administrators to give feedback. It's a good thing for colleagues to give feedback. It's a good thing for students to give feedback. It would be *really* easy to alter the template so that a school using GoogleApps made the form accessible to anyone w/i the domain who is logged in, and then it recorded the username of the person filling it out, so the teacher knew who gave the feedback.

  2. @Chris Lehmann
    1) Cool! I want one.
    2) Agree - Are you going to create and share it? I have a workshop with principals Oct 17th and would love to share :-)

  3. I use "Web 0.0". The walkthrough form is printed on paper technology and I use a clip board and a pencil to fill out the form.

    Then I use Web 2.0 by entering the information into a Google Form at my desktop. I place the Web 0.0 form into the teacher's box so they have immediate feedback.

    Several of my colleagues have purchased Teachscape and use the iPad. That seems like a lot of technology overkill($599-iPad + $999 -Teachscape)that can be completed for the price of a sheet of paper and some ink for my pen.

    Don't get me wrong, I love technology and we will be purchasing iPads for our school in the near future. I just think we get so wrapped up in technology that we forget the bigger picture of what this is all about - a tool for students to increase academic achievement.

  4. @Eric, I agree that we should have clear ideas in mind around why we're using technology which wasn't really the focus of this piece, but it has been in other posts about using g-docs and forms, and cell phones for some of these tasks. I also agree that we shouldn't waste money on what we can do for free rather easily. So perhaps a follow up to this post is one on why use tech for this process, but until then...

    Here are four reasons why the pen is not mightier then iPad or Tablet when conducting walkthroughs

    1) It's all about the conversation
    Chris and other leaders like Jason Levy are using technology to create a platform to keep the conversation going. As Chris mentions in his post, by adding (questions/feedback) columns to the Google spreadsheet a conversation can ensue anytime, anywhere.
    2) Save time
    Using technology (I suggest the Tablet for this) saves a tremendous amount of time over the course of the year as you don't have to write it then type it. You simply enter your feedback and your done. It's already in your computer and available for your teachers to see.
    3) Data collection and analysis
    Data collection and analysis can be done instantly and easily using a spreadsheet.
    4) One stop shopping
    Having one spot where all classroom data resides is a powerful reflective piece for teacher, administrator and coaches/consultants.

    I'm sure there are other reasons as well, but those are the top ones that come to mind.

  5. We use eWalk, by $200 per year for a user license. All data is housed on their server and emails route through their sever, but come from person doing the walkthrough.
    We love it, especially with the iPad/iPhone.
    Data is summarized real time and includes graphs, etc.

  6. @IE, I love the idea of allowing everyone to see the results of the walk throughs. For some reason our school culture is concerned about teacher's being embarrassed, so we have to analyze the WT as administrators, and then report back the results anonymously. However, I like your suggestion to allow everyone to be a part of the WT process.

    Thanks for the post!