In a recent blog, I wrote about ISTE , the International Society for Technology in Education, and the NETS*S, the National Educational Technology Standards for Students. ISTE also has a set of standards and performance indicators for teachers, NETS*T. These consist of five standards, each of which are qualified with four performance indicators. The standards are as follows:
1. Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity
2. Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments
3. Model Digital-Age Work and Learning
4. Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility
5. Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership
These are very detailed and offer a rigorous benchmark target for classroom teachers. When considering the broad spectrum of education, the distribution of resources, the varying levels of teacher support and preparation, and regional standardized curricular expectations and evaluations, the question of whether or not these standards should be embedded within teacher evaluation processes is multi-layered. While I am currently teaching at a private school in Japan, I am a veteran of public schools and, in my tenure, have experienced different levels of support, funding, and time/curricular constraints.
I realize that my students here in Tokyo are privileged in terms of the resources that they have at their disposal. In the last year alone, I have had several professional development opportunities offered to me with educational technology and information literacy as the focus, both locally and overseas with outstanding, well-respected professionals as presenters. I have attended each of these with funds provided by my school. In addition, my school has hosted “in-house” workshops regarding the educational possibilities of Web 2.0 applications and, each of our school divisions has their own skilled facilitator of technology to work with teachers. Finally, as with many international schools that are within my PLN, 21st century skills are becoming more of a focus in curricular development and implementation.
It goes without saying that this is not the case with every private school or public school from region to region and district to district. Obviously, the layers that paint the profile of any learning community are also indicators as to whether or not a school or district is ready to implement the evaluation of teachers based on NETS*T.
My school is in the first year of a new teacher evaluation process pilot of which I am a participant. The evaluation criteria consists of 7 standards and 21 benchmarks. Of those 21 benchmarks, one focuses on technology: “Uses technology to facilitate learning”. This falls under Standard 1: “Plans effectively to maximize student learning.” While, the NETS*T is much more explicit in terms of 21st century teaching and learning, I am satisfied that technology is included in our teacher evaluation process in this way and at this time in our growth as a learning community.
Even in schools like mine, with outstanding resources and support available, there exists different levels of comfort and expertise among teachers. Our vision is headed in the right direction and, as a 21st century school, we are a work in progress. I believe that most of my colleagues feel comfortable having NET*S embedded within our teacher evaluation process.
Again, all schools are not in the same place. There must be a degree of readiness before teacher evaluation processes with a “digital-age” focus can be instituted. What constitutes this degree of “readiness”? ISTE calls it ESSENTIAL CONDITIONS: Necessary Conditions to Effectively Leverage Technology for Learning. When a school or district reaches this level of a shared learning community vision, resource availability, teacher education/support, and curriculum design, then all teachers can benefit and grow professionally through the use of NETS*T in their evaluation processes. This, then, is the call to action and the challenge for schools today, public and private.
21st Century Skills Photo:
Why Don’t Those Darn Teachers Use Technology Photo: