Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Factors Impacting Effective Technology Use: Teacher Feedback

For years, I have asserted that the building principal controls the Level of Teaching Innovation (LoTi) on campus. Why you may ask? From a technology integration standpoint, how the building principal prioritizes agenda items for an upcoming faculty meeting, makes recommendations to the school site council regarding next year’s budget, models the effective use of technology within his/her own job duties, offers suggestions for future professional development, and provides quality feedback to staff following a classroom walkthrough or formal teacher evaluation all directly impact the LoTi level on campus.

In the upcoming 20th Anniversary Edition of the LoTi Digital Age Survey, we ask respondents to rate the following question from Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree:

I receive useful feedback on the integration of digital resources into my instruction from my administrator(s).

Assuming that the soon-to-be-collected data yields a strong correlation between the usefulness of the administrative feedback that a teacher receives and the Level of Teaching Innovation reported, what do you think are some simple safeguards school leaders can use to ensure quality feedback? I jotted down a few that I have suggested in the past.

  • Pose challenging and thought-provoking questions to teachers relating to the use of technology in the classroom such as, "How does your students’ use of Survey Monkey for survey construction promote higher order thinking?" 
  • Provide non-threatening feedback to teachers with specific recommendations relating to the use of technology such as, "You might want to consider using the web applet, Sprinter, as a tool to support your students’ understanding of slope." 
  • Stimulate collaborative, professional conversations about pedagogy through the gathering of evidence related to technology use in the classroom. 
  • Use the anecdotal feedback collected by the entire leadership team to create an agenda for an upcoming faculty or PLC meeting, or for deciding on future staff development opportunities.

Recognizing that elevating the Level of Teaching Innovation is an ongoing process that requires time, school leaders can accelerate the process by providing constant, consistent, and targeted feedback that helps staff improve their collective professional practice and teaching innovation over the entire school year.

This blog post is the ninth in a series of fourteen online entries highlighting factors that impact the effective use of technology in today's classrooms. This series focuses on each of the research variables used to conduct comparative analyses as part of the 20th Anniversary Edition of the LoTi Digital Age Survey.