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Evaluating Technology Use in the Classroom

14 December, 2015 - 17:24
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I do not argue with our commitment to the appropriate use of effective teaching appraisal practices. What seems to be missing, however, is the inclusion of the same rigorous attention to evaluating technology use in the classroom. In addition, many educators mistakenly believe that effective technology integration correlates with how much hardware and software is available in the classroom and/or our labs. I will go even further and suggest that even the "use" of available technology by all students does not necessarily translate to effective technology integration. It's really about how the teacher uses technology to support clearly defined learning objectives.

Consider this: When we visit a classroom to observe a language arts lesson, do we measure effective teaching and learning solely by the number of language arts textbooks available and whether or not teachers and students are using them? Visiting an algebra lesson, are we satisfied with the teacher's performance if students are using the adopted text along with the new calculators purchased by the district? Certainly not, Why? Curriculum and learning objectives are in place for our language arts and math curriculums, and both teachers and principals are aware of them. I am not convinced that we evaluate the effective use of technology with the same rigorous kind of standards and learning objectives. Technology that does not advance student learning has little value in the classroom, and I suggest even "gets in the way" of other types of learning. Technology linked to standards and agreed-on learning objectives can help all students achieve at high levels.