Updated Technology Walkthrough Using SAMR

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.

Open Your Door!

As a classroom teacher, I hated to be observed. Heck, I hated to teach in a room where another teacher was working, even if they weren’t even paying attention to me? I never could figure out why I felt that way…

Now that I have begun to live my life online — open and transparent, as much as possible — I realize how debilitating that prior mindset was to my teaching. Of course I learn a lot fromthe other great souls who are teaching and living out in the open. But my openness is forcing me to be more introspective and reflective: Why am I doing what I’m doing, and what can I do to make it better? Opening the door to my online persona has caused me to be more introspective and reflective. It has helped me to grow professionally and personally, even if nobody ever reads a word that I write.

I firmly believe that the average teacher’s, well, openness to openness is directly proportional to that of the school’s in which she works. It is a learned behavior that is nurtured by the institution. If a school were to implement a healthy open-door and/or walkthrough policy — with the goal of observation and not appraisal — it would be an easy step for those teachers to begin to share their professional practice to a wider audience.

So why are schools in general and teachers in particular so reticent to openning their doors, either to their parents or their colleagues or to the world? What are they afraid that others will see? Maybe more accurately, what are they afraid they themselves will see?

Image: ‘open door‘ licensed under CC BY NC

Classroom Walkthroughs for Tech Integration

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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?