Thursday, August 11, 2016

Building Effective Plans for Digital Teaching and Learning

How do you develop an effective plan for digital learning that yields a sustainable impact on teacher innovation, college and career readiness, academic progress, and student engagement in the classroom? Try Integrating the results from the LoTi Digital Age Survey with the Six Sigma improvement process. The results might surprise you.

The fundamental objective of the Six Sigma methodology is the implementation of a measurement-based strategy that focuses on process improvement (e.g., define, measure, plan, implement, analyze, improve). Since most school districts use some form of self-assessment as a means of data gathering, applying a modified version of the Six Sigma to the planning process can ensure that Digital Teaching and Learning plans include targeted, measureable outcomes that strive to eliminate wasteful digital practices and concentrate on instructional methodologies and strategies that elevate the level of digital learning in districts over the long term.

The LoTi Digital Age Survey is a research-based, empirically-validated self-assessment that integrates several popular metrics including LoTi (Levels of Teaching Innovation), H.E.A.T. (Higher order thinking, Engaged learning, Authentic connections, Technology use), SAM-R (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition), and ISTE Standards for Teachers and Leaders to provide individual teachers with an individualized dashboard to track their progress related to digital teaching and learning. The survey also aggregates data from a series of customizable pre-survey questions to pinpoint specific gaps in a school district’s approach to digital learning. For example, what impact might a school district initiative such as peer coaching have on the level of digital learning in the classroom? (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1

In this instance, the table shows a moderate negative correlation between peer coaching feedback and the level of digital learning (-0.51). What implications might this finding have for the development of a digital learning plan? One suggestion might be the inclusion of specific professional learning into the digital learning plan that focuses on a Train-the-Facilitator model emphasizing digital learning best practices.

Using data thoughtfully to drive change is not a new concept. What is novel is looking at data differently in unexpected areas of digital learning (e.g., school climate, peer coaching, shared vision) that can ensure that digital learning dollars achieve their strongest level of impact for all school stakeholders.