Evaluating Technology Use in the Classroom

Evaluating Technology Use in the Classroom

Evaluating the use of technology in a classroom environment is not something most administrators are trained to do. It is easy to walk into a classroom and see that every student is using a computer, but how do you really assess if and what type of learning is taking place? In the past, I have had administrators tell me “I walked into the teacher’s room and all the students were on laptops.” As though just the site of students working on laptops meant they were engaged in the learning process. I have been trying to wrap my head around a simple way for administrators to evaluate the use of technology in the classroom (a thank you to Dennis Harter who got me thinking about this). When most administrators evaluate teachers during the evaluation process, they have some sort of check sheet they are working from either mental or as part of a school’s evaluation process. I wanted to come up with an easy way for administrators to add to that list some questions that they can answer without knowing a lot about technology and by just observing its use within a lesson. I remembered a Marc Prensky article in Edutopia in which he talks about the typical process of technology adoption: Dabbling with technology Doing Old things in Old Ways Doing Old things in New Ways Doing New things in New Ways What if we turned these stages of technology adoption into questions that an evaluator could use during the evaluation process? Is the technology being used “Just because it’s there”? Is the technology allowing the teacher/students to do Old things in Old ways? Is the technology allowing the teacher/students to do Old things in New ways? Is the technology creating new and different learning experiences for the students? This could be a simple list that any evaluator can use to decipher how the technology is being used in a particular lesson. Is the technology being used “Just because it’s there”? This would be the use of edutainment software, the use of a particular piece of technology because it happens to be in the room. The teacher dabbles with technology, not having a real focus on its use within the lesson but uses it as an add-on or at a very basic level (no real impact on the learning process). Is the technology allowing the teacher/students to do Old...

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