After my first attempt, I’m back with a new attempt to collect walkthrough data related to technology integration.
I’m currently working with Adrienne and Jeff on a presentation for ASB Unplugged on different coaching models and roles as related to technology. We had a discussion about our roles as data coaches and where this ranks on the list of things that we do. I’m hoping this form will act as a bit of action research for me and my school.
The walkthrough that I envision should take less than 10 minutes and the form is designed to support this. The data that I hope to collect should give me holistic data which can then be used to analyze departments, grade level and even specific teachers. It should be said that this isn’t about evaluation or appraisal (not that I have that power!), but rather about being able to target specific areas for support and PD.
I’ve chosen to use the SAMR model but this can be easily modified to suit your school’s needs or current practices.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this and how it compares to how you collect walkthrough data at your school.
My last post was about The Dinks. I’d like to say that I conjured that up out of thin air, but that isn’t totally true. I do remember the first time I watched the episode – maybe a year ago – nodding my head empathetically with Prezbo. And then I sort of forgot about it…
Then about a month ago, Dan points us all to Ben Blum Smith’s post about Clever Hans, the counting horse. After reading this post, I immediately thought of The Dinks but my Google-Fu was weak and I couldn’t find the necessary clip of The Wire.
Then last week I read Sam’s post on Problem Solving and , as I was re-watching Season 4, saw that episode again. BOOM! It all came together, seemingly out of thin air.
To bring this full circle, I was reminded of Clever Hans and hence Ben Blum Smith and hence my original attempt to find The Dinks when watching Dan’s presentation on “Be Less Helpful” at CMC North, which I highly recommend any of you math teachers watch.
With the wife and kids away, I’ve had some quality TeeVee time lately so I decided to start re-watching “The Wire“. As a testament to how great the show is (or how little life I have), I am already mostly through Season 4. I came across this scene again last night. I remember smiling and knodding in a “I know that feeling” sort of way as the student explained to Prezbo how he knew the answer. (Warning: This is an HBO show. The language is bound to put somebody off.)
While we are quick to praise our Special Teacher Powers of Intuition and Observation when dealing with students, we often don’t realize how much we give away as teachers. Our facial expressions, our body language, our non-verbal cues are all picked up by students and this instantaneous and (sometimes) subconscious feedback often guides them through their explanations or presentations. (This, by the way, is not always a bad thing.)
Recently Sam made a conscious effort to stop giving out The Dinks and to teach problem solving:
I tell them that I won’t be of much use to them. That they are going to have to use their wit and wiles to do these problems. That they should ask their partners their questions, that if they really get stuck they should go to another group, and if they really, really get stuck, they can talk to me. Although I won’t be of much use to them.
The results are pretty amazing.
Dan has been telling people to be less helpful for a while. It’s even spawned its own website. (I hope this has been done by Dan or with his blessing…)
Is being less helpful and not giving out The Dinks a step toward Coaching Heavy? Is this a method that could work with teachers as well as students? I wonder if some of Sam’s lessons from Day One can be applied to teachers, particularly the ones about “learned helplessness”, not underestimating your students/teachers, and making the puzzle of technology integration fun and interesting once external pressures are removed?
After a bit of research, and borrowing liberally from the good folks at Instructional Coaching, I have come up with a walkthrough observation template that I am relatively happy with.
Instead of focusing on the Big Four (.pdf) of Classroom Management, Content Planning, Instruction and Assessment for Learning, I chose to focus on:
Classroom Management – Are students on task? Is the teacher interacting with students? Is the teacher making modifications to traditional classroom management techniques to account for tablets in class?
Lesson Structure – What is the lesson style? What is the activity (OO – Old things, Old ways, ON – Old things, New ways, etc)? Are tablets required? Are students engaged?
Tech skills – Is the teacher modeling necessary skills? Are the students fluent in the required skills? What are the skills required for this lesson?
You can download a .pdf version and a OneNote version of the forms below.
I plan on spending at most 10 minutes in the classroom. At the end of the walkthrough, I will sit down and record any other comments that come to mind.
The hardest part about these sorts of observations is trying to remain non-judgmental. Although it is not my intention, at this point, to share what I observe with individuals teachers, I will be using the information to make generalizations about student and teacher abilities and needs in order to better plan learning opportunities for each group.
As always, comments and suggestions for improvement are always welcome!
One of the main focuses of Coaching Heavy is gathering and analyzing data regarding your work to make decisions about your effectiveness and how to proceed.
As a Technology Coach (not my official job title but this is what I’m lobbying for), I’m not sure what sort of data I can be gathering and/or analyzing. There are no test scores or formative/summative assessment data to collect. We, as a school, have not systematically implemented any sort of standards or performance indicators – a la the ISTE NETS or the AASL Standards – yet.
How does one measure the level of technology integration in a classroom? How does one measure the impact of that integration on student learning?
Towards the end of the last academic year, we were fortunate enough to have Bambi Betts on campus for a series of workshops with administrators and department heads related to improving teaching and learning. One of her recommendations was to implement classroom walkthroughs – short, frequent visits to various classrooms with a specific objective in mind to gauge the climate of the school and to get the ‘big picture’ of what is happening.
I think this is my way forward. Actually, I have already conducted a few. But I have a some problems:
Other than the few hours that I spent with Ms. Betts, I don’t have any sort of training on how to actually conduct these walkthroughs. Sure, I’ve done my internet research but it’s not the same.
I don’t feel (yet) like I have an all-access pass to classrooms. I feel like I’m invading or over-stepping my mandate. I’m pretty sure this is not the case, but that’s how I’m feeling at the moment.
Most importantly, I’m not sure what I should be looking for during these walkthroughs. I can’t find an example of a tech-based walkthrough form. Without specific standards at our school – for teachers or students – how can I make an objective observation? (My initial form includes a description of activities that I observe, the skills required by students and teachers and any classroom management observations. I then plan on matching what I saw with the NETS for Students and Teachers after the observation.)
Do you have any advice as I look to implement this on a consistent basis? Any ideas for observational data that I can collect during these brief visits?
The thoughts and ideas contained in this blog are mine and only mine. As much as I wish they did, these thoughts do not necessarily reflect those of my employer or various other organizations of which I'm affiliated.