Monday, December 8, 2008

Instructional Quality Models

This morning I have been thinking about my past posts and decided it was time to think a bit about teacher oversight. Think about the challenge of a Technology Director within a school system: Ensure technology based educational tools contribute to the institution's educational goals.

Of course this assumes that all schools have an educational plan and a technology plan that work together. But, that is a different subject. Non-the-less, as we continue to discuss the integration of an LMS into the brick and mortar classroom, we can not overlook the need for rethinking the process of observing teachers. Technology leaders must realize that while they guide and shape the overall technology integration efforts, the professionals who carry out the plan are the teachers. If a school system is still observing their teachers using the same old model from years past - ie - adminstrators visit the teacher's classroom once a year and discuss the overall classroom environment, student behavior, their lesson plan book and grade book status, etc., it is time for an overhaul.

A good place to start is to consider re-defining the observation process into a more holistic "Instructional Quality Model (IQM)." An IQM will be made of:

  1. Teacher Qualifications and Performance Reviews (the act of conversing about a teacher's performance in a private, thoughtful review session)
  2. Classroom Visits
  3. Student Academic Performance Reviews
  4. Professional Development Plans (ie -- remediation plan)
  5. Technology Performance Assessment/Survey
  6. Teacher Mentoring and Coaching
  7. Incentives
As part of a well thought out IQM, technology leaders can then shift their attention to resources that specifically help them plan a process around technology based learning skills and responsibilities. While many of my experiences have been working in the online environment, many resources typically thought applicable only to online are very useful to the broader educational audience.

The SREB (Souther Regional Educational Board produced a set of standards to ensure quality online teaching. The SREB Standards for Quality Online Teaching.

This document respresents a starting point for sure, not an end product. No technology leader can take this report and walk into a classroom visit. The report is much to high level. Even though the plan is focused on Online Learning, the skills are applicable to a teacher integrating technology into any classroom. Take away the mention of technology and I think the document is valid for all teachers, regardless of delivery method. I think that is why this type of document is very powerful.

It is tough to cover the full details here, so I am really looking for some comments from all regarding resources, documents, exisiting processes, etc. The take away is that as we think about new ways of reaching kids, our IQM must support the technologies and techniques and offer support and quidance to teachers who have not spent all of their days thinking about the technologies at the level we as tech leaders have.

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