Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Factors Impacting Effective Technology Use: School Climate – Teacher Voice

One variable seldom mentioned is the importance of teacher voice in the ongoing conversation about digital age teaching and learning. In the business sector, voice is frequently viewed as the lynchpin for ongoing business growth. According to a cooperative report from the Involvement and Participation Association (IPA) and Tomorrow's Company, Releasing Voice for Sustainable Business Success, employee voice "increases employee engagement, enables effective decision-making and drives innovation."

Relating the importance of voice to the classroom environment is fairly easy. Kahlenberg and Potter’s (2014) article, Why Teacher Voice Matters, provides a compelling argument about the connection between teacher voice and increased student achievement, lower teacher turnover, and the positive effects on school climate. From my perspective, the word, voice, can be easily substituted with the word, trust. When was the last time you heard someone on the job utter, "I don’t trust that person." What are they really saying? The interpretations are unlimited and unfortunately all negative.

As we move forward with elevating teaching innovation in the classroom using digital tools and resources, it is paramount that we consider the role of teacher voice at the operational curriculum level. The release of the LoTi Digital Age Survey 20th Anniversary Edition will pinpoint the correlation between teachers’ perception about their voice on campus and their corresponding teaching practices. If teacher voice proves significant, there are resources available to address the issue. Unfortunately, many of these solutions cannot be installed as quickly as a class set of mobile devices.

This blog post is the twelfth 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 LoTi Digital Age Survey 20th Anniversary Edition.