Monday, July 11, 2016

2016 ISTE Conference Addendum

Two weeks ago, I was fortunate enough and humbled to present to an overflowing crowd at the ISTE 2016 Conference in Denver. My ISTE session topic entitled, Finding the Missing Links to Effective Technology Use in Schools, highlighted the current status of digital learning nationally as well as a regression analysis involving 24 campus’ student achievement gains compared with their Level of Teaching Innovation (LoTi) in the classroom.

During my session, I also shared the results of our Spring 2016 pilot of the 20th Anniversary Edition of the LoTi Digital Age Survey. Based on a sample of approximately 1,400 classroom teachers in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Maryland, we found moderate correlations between LoTi and frequency of technology use for both students (r = 0.56) and teachers (r = 0.43) along with a moderate correlation between LoTi and teacher’s perceptions about their communication and feedback cycle with building administrators (r = 0.47). We even found one strong correlation between LoTi and teacher’s perceptions about their shared vision for digital learning (r = 0.62).

One area where I fell short due to time constraints was actually discussing concrete steps that schools can take to elevate the LoTi based on the aggregate data collected on their campuses. For example, what if a strong positive correlation exists between the use of the Flipped Classroom blended learning model and LoTi at a particular school? Possible interventions might range from peer coaching that promotes rigorous and challenging performance assessments to in-class modeling of grade level appropriate S.T.E.A.M. activities.

Conversely, what if a strong negative correlation exists between the frequency of administrator feedback and LoTi? Think about it for a minute. If a building leadership team is constantly emphasizing to staff members the importance of preparing students for high-stakes testing, there is the distinct possibility that teacher/leader conversations will have little to do with digital learning aside from the use of mobile apps and laptops for low-level skill development and review. How could this trend be reversed? By implementing any one of the following interventions: research sharing with administrators showcasing the connection between achievement and LoTi levels, modeling LoTi 3+ lessons emphasizing higher levels of cognitive complexity tied to the content embedded in state assessments, and/or using Digital Age Best Practices as the cornerstone for informal classroom walkthrough conversations.

Analyzing data in isolation has little value to stakeholders. Finding moderate to strong correlations among campus variables (e.g., school climate, digital infrastructure) that directly or indirectly impact digital learning (i.e., LoTi) and assigning practical interventions to promote their positive impact on student achievement and digital learning is the key to continuous improvement and student success.