Thursday, January 24, 2008

How to Evaluate Technology Use in our Schools

Jeff Utecht often puts into words ideas that are circulating in my mind waiting to be expressed. He typically does a better job articulating than I do. His recent blog post, "Evaluating Technology Use in the Classroom" is another example of this. Major points that resonate are:

I remembered a Marc Prensky article in Edutopia in which he talks about the typical process of technology adoption:

  1. Dabbling with technology
  2. Doing Old things in Old Ways
  3. Doing Old things in New Ways
  4. Doing New things in New Ways

What if we turned these stages of technology adoption into questions that an evaluator could use during the evaluation process?

  1. Is the technology being used “Just because it’s there”?
  2. Is the technology allowing the teacher/students to do Old things in Old ways?
  3. Is the technology allowing the teacher/students to do Old things in New ways?
  4. Is the technology creating new and different learning experiences for the students?
I would add,

5. Is the technology tapping into the diverse learning styles of the students in our classrooms, to promote learning and independence?
6. Is there evidence of student engagement that results specifically because of the technology integration?

Asking the right questions leads to the answers that guide our decisions. What questions would you add in an attempt to evaluate effective technology use in the classroom?


Larry Ferlazzo said...


Excellent questions! Based on my community organizing career prior to becoming a public school teacher, the most important question I ask myself is this:

Is using this technology going to help facilitate the development and/or deepening of face-to-face relationships?


Mr Lai said...

I sometimes feel that teachers aren't using the technology appropriately to better educate our students. Like you said, is technology being used to allow students to do old thing in a more effective manner? Is technology being used to create new and different learning experiences for students? I recently observe a math teacher who used a TI-Graphing calculator to demonstrate the relationship between time and distance. Afterwards they were taught how to write different mathematical programs on the calculator. Learning in diverse learning styles through the use of technology.

Anonymous said...

I think a really important question is how do new technology help us understand with learning is. If we don't think about how learning has the potential to be different with technology, we won't likely be doing much differently in the classroom or authentically evaluating what it is we are doing.