Opinion
Education Opinion

Implementation Plan Next Steps?!

By LeaderTalk Contributor — March 22, 2010 3 min read

The entry was cross posted to www.sentimentsoncommonsense.com

As
I work this academic year in rolling out a 1:1 program, I have thought
long and hard about the next steps after the initial “out of the box”
experience has worn off and
the machines find their place in the daily lives of the students and
their teachers. Now in month 6 of the implementation, I am faced with
some decision making about the next steps to drive home the initial
success of our program. Success, in this case, is a feel of “normalcy”
around the school with technology.
The networks is working well. Service centers are up and running.
Teachers expect things to work most of the time and indeed, I think
they do. They are also meeting the daily challenge of using the
machines in activities and units daily. Technology standards are being
met more readily. Students are expecting to use their machines for
projects, research, lessons in all subject areas. Again... the
normalcy of the implementation is beginning to set in.

Most
recently though I have struggled just a bit with the integration of
the walk through protocols we have established at our school and the
clear, consistent identification of quality technology use by teachers
and students. I believe that many administrators and supervisors are
still struggling with clarity around the NETS-S and NETS-T
and the identification of specific examples where and when the
standards are being implemented in classrooms. To the neophyte
technology user, any technology use must be good technology use. We all
know this is wrong!

I will be rolling out for my leadership team this next week the ISTE Classroom Observation Tool (ICOT).
We will have them share specific examples of the “look-for” clues are
to determine appropriate, strong and progressive use of technology in
our classrooms. We will do side-by-side walkthroughs to develop our
common understandings around the use of this very useful framework. It
should be noted that the ICOT tool online is currently out of date as
ISTE has not updated it for the updated NETS-T but that is an easy
trade off for the other parts of the tool, and I (heaven forbid) even
PRINTED it out for them to look at, pull apart and examine the sheer
genius that is this observation tool.

The tool asks the observer to evaluate:

  • the physical layout of the room
  • student groupings
  • the role the teacher is playing
  • learning activities that are being used
  • the essentiality of technology to the activity or lesson
  • the specific technology tools being used by the teacher
  • the specific technology tools being used by the students
  • The NETS-Teachers being addressed (see attached)
  • Total time for technology use during the walkthrough and...

A Three Minute Chart is provided to track technology:

  • Use by Students (For learning or not?)
  • Use by Teacher (for learning or not?)

I believe this framework has tremendous potential to help
educational leaders as we learn to train our eye to the key components
of technology use in our classrooms and make it possible for us to more
effectively lead technology integration at our school. In the course
of classroom observations school leaders make hundreds, if not
thousands of professional judgments every week. This tool guides the
user to structure those judgments more precisely and I also believe
that over time the administrators will be able to use this information
to make technology expectations more ubiquitous in our organization and
judgments based on data gathered over time.

The fact is that we are at the point next academic year where the
communication of expectations for teachers in the use of technology is
going to be more important that the actual implementation and training
of the use of technology tools. It is obvious that we have got to ramp
up our expectations (with continued, persistent, consistent and
insistent professional development
support) or we will plateau and that could sound the death knell for
our 1:1 program. Value added results are expected and if we don’t
deliver the program is done.

As part of the increase in expectations, I am hoping that next year
we can do an all out ICOT observation month to gather school wide data
for technology use in our classrooms. This will indeed bring forward
the power of the NETS-A, and show the school the importance of
implementation attention for systematic improvement, visionary
leadership and a focus on professional practice.

The opinions expressed in LeaderTalk are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.