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”.
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|
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
21st Century Educational System
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.
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?
|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.|
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