I was trolling around online and came across this article on Florida's flirtation with including technology use as part of teacher evaluations. This conversation in the Lounge hints at the same issue, and some of the drawbacks (schools' failure to properly invest in technology, or the fact that many excellent teachers do best without it). I'm wondering if: 1. your schools include either use of new technologies, or acquisition of new tech skills, as part of your evaluations, and 2. you support that approach? What are the advantages, and the drawbacks, as you see them?
I’m not quite sure if our evaluations will be dependent on technology. Personally, I feel they should. With all the workshops and technology use at our fingertips, everyone should be able to learn how to use everything they are introduced to. At our school our teachers who are more challenged with technology are paired with others who are highly skilled in that area. More than that, our team is great and shares everything created. So even if you don’t know how to create something to use in your own classroom, you can at least use someone else’s.
This is an interesting issue that should be considered carefully. What is the goal?
If the goal is to encourage teachers to learn how to integrate technology into their instruction, does placing its use on an evaluation instrument lead to a positive result, or would it put more stress on teachers who are still uncomfortable with its use?
Might it be better to identify any/all strategies that a teacher uses in a comments section, rather than trying to focus exclusively on the use of technology? What about other strategies? Do we single those out on our evaluations?
I have always been an advocate for integrating technology into teaching, and like the idea of building partnerships/mentor relationships between teachers who are accomplished at technology integration with those who are just venturing into this area...and feel that a positive approach might be more successful... am I being too naive?
How would you approach this?
I'm a parent, not a teacher, so I waited to weigh in on this.
Employees in many areas go through periodic evaluations, especially in government. If your school is moving into the greater use of technology, as a necessity, then the ability of the teacher to adapt is pretty important. If your classrooms are going to drop traditional textbooks for tablet computers, then the teacher needs to be able to adapt to that use, and needs to become comfortable with it. Likewise, if you have a teacher who is afraid of smart boards or something like that, is that going to hold the teacher and students back? Maybe. It's for the school and evaluator to determine if it's important for that particular curriculum to make greater use of technology.
But first you have to define "technology." For some, simply surfing to web sites is "technology."
I agree with you, Pati, that mentoring relationships would be an important part of encouraging technology integration (I had a mentor for the time that I taught high school and i can say with confidence that we both gained a great deal from the relationship)--perhaps the best thing to do would be to require being or having a tech mentor and establishing some basic expectations about what that relationship means. Mike, you ask an important question about what technology means, and I'd say it depends on the teacher. I guess the point would be to ensure that teachers are continually finding new resources to offer their students and trying new things, to make the best use of what's out there. It would certainly be hard to make a blanket requirement about which technologies to use, or how often to use them, for all of the reasons already listed here.