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Am I a Tech-Savvy Teacher?

Developing a Framework for Learning Technology Support for Educators
By Matt Harris
Am I a Tech-Savvy Teacher?

The short answer to this question, of course, is that there is no short answer. Technology tools differ in every school and the needs of students vary based on age and curriculum. There is no clear bifurcation between those who are and are not tech-savvy teachers. Instead, tech-savvy teaching encompasses a spectrum of skills across a range of categories. Online resources document this spectrum. The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Standards for Educators and the UNESCO ICT Competency Framework for Teachers outline characteristics of a tech-savvy teacher. Other resources describe teaching practices, including the Florida Center for Instructional Technology’s Technology Integration Matrix (TIM) and iNACOL’s National Standards for Quality Online Teaching. Theoretical frameworks of technology-infused instruction are also available, such as the SAMR model, TPACK, and the PICRAT Matrix. This stuff is far too complicated. While such sites provide a theoretical model for tech-savvy teaching, they don’t show how it plays out in the real world. On the whole, they don’t provide a way to identify those key characteristics a teacher should possess in their day-to-day work, nor do they discuss measurable areas of improvement. My learning technology team at the British School of Jakarta has taken on the task of filling this void. We have studied the available online resources and unified them to create an actionable rubric for tech-savvy teaching. Over the past few months, we have been building a Framework for Learning Technology Support for Educators that will allow teachers, coaches, and school leadership to define what makes a teacher tech-savvy, and to measure savviness by degree. This framework will be a guide to the attitudes, behaviors, and practices common among effective educators using tech for learning. It will be a tool for self-assessment and continued learning measure for individual teachers as well as a roadmap for EdTech coaches. School leadership will be able to use it to learn about tech-savvy teaching, to evaluate incoming teachers, and to gain insight about the skills and competencies of their teaching faculties on the whole. Drawing upon the aforementioned resources, we developed the categories and subcategories of the framework that encompass tech-savvy teaching. We then shared them with educators and school leadership worldwide for review. Thanks to their feedback, we revised the framework to include these seven categories: Learning – Educators build their own skills in Learning Technology and develop attitudes that support continued growth. Leading – Educators demonstrate attitudes and behaviors that lead others in the effective use of Learning Technology. Operating – Educators possess skills and attitudes for the effective use of digital tools. Collaborating – Educators collaborate within the school and beyond to improve learning. Citizenship – Educators demonstrate positive code and conduct in all online interactions. Designing – Educators design and develop activities that utilize technology to meet the needs of learners. Teaching – Educators deliver experiences that leverage technology to enhance learning for students. You’ll notice these categories describe the pedagogic uses of technology more than they do the technologies themselves. While teachers need to be technology-literate, as outlined in the “Operating” category, their uses of tech for personal learning, collaboration, and teaching are the true indicators of tech-savviness. Further, these pedagogic approaches are not tied to specific curricula or national school systems. Instead, they draw upon internationally recognized approaches to contemporary teaching and learning. Below each category, we have developed a number of subcategories to further outline characteristics of the tech-savvy teacher. For example, the subcategories for “Learning” include: Approaches - Utilize a variety of resources and strategies to support their development in Learning Technology. Innovation - Actively explore the possibilities technology has to offer for learning. Reflecting on Impact - Thoughtfully assess the impact of what has been learned to make decisions on next steps. Tools - Continually develop knowledge of digital tools and resources. For each subcategory, we are developing evidence-based indicators to help teachers identify where they lie along a rubric. The rubric is organized into a progression of four performance areas: Emerging, Expected, Exceeding, and Exemplary. The model for this rubric is for tech-savvy teachers to build upon internal competencies—whether their own, as individuals, or those internal to their classrooms—and to grow externally. For example, a teacher who is emerging in “Approaches” is one who reviews online resources, whereas an exemplary teacher authors and delivers online trainings outside of the school. This rubric will help teachers to document their current practices, understand the scope of tech-savvy teaching, and allow them to plan for growth. On finalizing the rubric, we plan to share it with a small group of educational technology experts for deep analysis. Once we incorporate their improvements, we will publish the framework for use by all schools, globally. It is our hope that, through this work, schools will better support their teachers along the EdTech journey, thereby systemizing the professional development and coaching needs for a successful EdTech program. Coaches will document their support of teachers to develop learning plans and to identify faculty-wide learning needs within a school. Individually, teachers will be able to systematically improve their skills in leveraging technology to enhance student learning, using a globally recognized rubric. If you would like to learn more about our work, contribute to the development framework, or stay informed as it is completed, please email me at [email protected].

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