1 to 1 Laptop Schools, Teacher Appraisal and 21st Century Learning.

After reading many articles and blogs asking the question “where do we go now” in reference to 1:1 Laptop Initiatives and the use of digital resources in the classroom. I have put together some current published research to consider  in the cycle of teacher appraisal in 1:1 Laptop Schools.  I would welcome comments to improve/adapt/expand any of the information given in this blog:

The key factor for a successful 1:1 Laptop initiative is the change and adaptability of classroom pedagogy. If a school has teachers that continue to teach in the “Traditional Educational” way, then it is more likely that a 1:1 scheme will fail. Even without a 1:1 laptop scheme, schools should have moved already to a 21st Century educational system as outlined here in the tables below. The first table illustrates how “Learners” have changed and shows what factors teachers should be considering when teaching in the 21st Century classroom. It is a comparison between the learner in the “Traditional Educational System” and the learner in the “21st Century Educational System”.

Traditional Education

21st Century Education

Learners are taught and believe that their ability will lead to success.  The more able believe they are more likely to succeed in life. Learners who are committed and exert continual effort to improve will be successful.
Learners are ranked and concerned how they are seen in others’ eyes. Learners want to be seen at the top of the ladder. Learners believe in their ability to improve and learn.  To investigate problems to find answers.
Learners enjoy rivalry and seek satisfaction from doing better than others. Learners seek out demanding and stimulating tasks that reflect their own approach to learning.
Learner seek acknowledgment from society and thrive on all types of competition. Learners are motivated and achieve personal satisfaction from their own defined success criteria.
Learners give –up when tasks become too difficult or go straight to someone else to find the answer. Learners thrive on finding answers for themselves; they investigate and have the skills to look for answers through inquiry.
Learners want to prove that they are competent Learners want to improve their own competence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Learning, Performance and Improvement 2010 – Chris Watkins

Teachers also need to consider how learning has changed and how they can meet the needs of the learner. I believe that teacher appraisal for 1:1 Laptop Schools should take into consideration all of the areas as shown in the table below for a 21st Century Educational System:

Traditional Educational System

(Past)

21st Century Educational System

(Present)

Learning information:  

Content driven lessons, based on learning content only without the necessary skills to learn how to use the content.

Learning to Learn

Greater emphasis on the learning of skills over the learning of content. The content relevant to a student’s interests is constantly changing and growing so students will have to continue learning new things throughout their life.

Learning data: 

Data driven lessons based on exam criteria, with a repeat and drill structure.

Learning to discover data: 

Students must play a greater role in discovering their own content so the measurement of success will be related to how they find, use, and develop accurate, relevant content.

Learners are all taught the same, with generic lessons: 

No differentiation in the lessons One size fits all.

Learning is tailored to the individual learner:  

As students progress they will increasingly access and engage with their own content, at their own pace of learning and take an increasing role in charting a path best suited to those talents, interests and abilities.

Learners are tested to assess: 

Tests and exams measure what a student learned at the end of an instructional unit or academic year.

Learners are assessed for learning: 

Technology allows educators and students to assess progress more regularly than with traditional classroom assessments and to identify and address each student’s challenges as they arise.

Learning in the classroom: 

The classroom is seen as the centre of all learning. The teacher is the centre of attention who passes on knowledge.

Learners are lifelong learners: 

Students only spend a fraction of their time in schools and there is also a need to continue learning throughout life beyond the period of formal education. This requires a more balanced approach that includes learning partners and increased engagement of parents and the community.

Based on December 2010 Premier’s Technology Council – A Vision for 21st Century Education

As an administrator I believe that most teachers have many positive skills and some areas that need improvement or development (including myself). For 1:1 Laptop Schools – My question is: Should we employ a teacher who is very skilled at IT integration, but has no skills to deal with parents and other staff? (and of course vice versa?). How many teachers are there in the world that can fulfill all or some of the criteria shown in the LoTi table below?

LoTi Level

Description

Level 0 – Non-Use The use of digital tools in the classroom is non-existent
Level 1 – Awareness Digital tools are used for classroom and curriculum management tasks, but not learning
Level 2 – Exploration Digital tools and resources are used by learners for extension activities, enrichment exercises or information gathering, to develop lower order cognitive skills.
Level 3 – Infusion Digital tools and resources are used by learners to carry out teacher-directed tasks that emphasize higher levels of student cognitive processing relating to the content under investigation.
Level 4a – Integration: Mechanical Learners use of digital tools and resources are inherent and motivated by the drive to answer student-generated questions that dictate the content, process, and products embedded in the learning experience.
Level 4b – Integration: Routine Learners use of digital tools and resources are inherent and motivated by the drive to answer student-generated questions that dictate the content, process, and products embedded in the learning experience.
Level 5 – Expansion The complexity and sophistication of the digital resources and collaboration tools used in the learning environment are now commensurate with (1) the diversity, inventiveness, and spontaneity of the teacher’s experiential-based approach to teaching and learning and (2) the students’ level of complex thinking (e.g., analysis, synthesis, evaluation) and in-depth understanding of the content experienced in the classroom.
Level 6 – Refinement The complexity and sophistication of the digital resources and collaboration tools used in the learning environment are now commensurate with (1) the diversity, inventiveness, and spontaneity of the teacher’s experiential-based approach to teaching and learning and (2) the students’ level of complex thinking (e.g., analysis, synthesis, evaluation) and in-depth understanding of the content experienced in the classroom.

Taken from the (LoTi) framework which was first conceptualized by Dr. Chris Moersch in 1994

I often read IT integrators Blogs stating we should fire/sack, get rid of all teachers who cannot integrate IT into the classroom, without really thinking there is a lot more to teaching than just IT. I have met many IT integrators, who are so wrapped up in their own world that they have forgotten or have no interest in anything else, all they seem to be interested in is the next upgrade for their iPhone.

So I believe that schools need to look at some form of Teacher Appraisal cycle, which includes two key areas:

1.     Staff Appraisal – various factors based on the 21st Century classroom/learner/learning (including the Loti Scale)

2.     Staff Training, professional development and own PD (IT integration and Current Learning Pedagogies)

However, appraisal should include a variety of different areas and the criteria that makes a good/excellent teacher. As I previously stated, IT integration is only one part of being a successful teacher, there are several other factors that need to be considered. I also note that state funded schools have different legal criteria when it comes to getting rid of the ‘Lemons’ (teachers who do not meet the appraisal criteria), than the International Schools that I base my experience on. I also believe in allowing time for teachers to acquire new skills based on agreed goals. If teachers are included in decisions and communicated with often – about 1 to 1 schemes and digital learning, then 1 to 1 schools will be far more successful.

As the educational system continues to develop and change, I believe that teacher appraisal and teacher training will become even more important in ensuring that our learners are provided with a 21st Century learning environment. Schools will be looking to recruit teachers who already have 21st Century ideals and learning pedagogies. The appraisal and performance management system will take more and more IT factors into consideration and parents will be looking for schools where their children can learn using 21st Century skills. Teachers should be aware of updating their own knowledge and skills and not rely so heavily on State or School PD (although this is a positive development) – surely this is what we are now asking our learners to do? (To be lifelong learners and develop additional skills outside of the classroom.)

Written by Steven David Pearce 17/12/2010

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4 thoughts on “1 to 1 Laptop Schools, Teacher Appraisal and 21st Century Learning.

  1. This is important research. Just about all of us are struggling with the enormity of these changes. Sharing the responsibility for good learning between students p, their families and schools/teachers is he only practical way forward.

    Strategically, finding ways for DETs leaders to come to grips with what this looks and feels like is key. If you are not in a school the challenge is formidable. Being in a school makes it only slightly less so.

  2. These tables arre based on the assumption that all children have an inherent need to learn and that teachers are not spending most of their time in class just trying to control an unruly mob who are third generation welfare recipients with no interest in anything of any value. Technology is a wonderful advance in teaching and learning but if the students see no need for it other than to communicate with their friends, then it is a hinderance at school and another hurdle for teachers to get over before they can teach the students in the class that want to learn.

    • I am sure that there are many challenges with teaching the different categories of students that we have in our educational systems. I must confess, that I have been lucky in my teaching career to have had the opportunity to work in some of the better schools in the world, in terms of student motivation to learn.

      The above article was written specifically for schools who have already adopted a 1:1 laptop scheme, although the research tables are applicable to any school or educational system.

      One of my key areas of thought is that “teacher need to move away from the idea that they should be the center of attention in the classroom, that they provide content and knowledge and that learners must sit there and listen and take it in” to a model where the learners have power in the classroom to learn for themselves, with the teacher as facilitator and guide. The teacher provides the skills to learn, but the students take control of their own learning.

      I am sure that your point about whether they want to learn or see the point in learning is very valid. Although I believe that we all inherently want to learn.

      This book “Clarity in the Classroom: Using Formative Assessment by Michael Absolum” has a lot of the learning/teaching pedagogies that I believe in and has been successfully used in many schools, where the students have been in “Low Decile” schools or where the learners have come from deprived backgrounds.

      Also:-

      This article/blog is also quite interesting to read on “Does Social Networking result in poor grades?”

      Where do you see your school or educational system in 10 years time? – Technology in schools? (laptops, notebooks, iPads). Students learning from home through distance learning? Or something different?

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