learning technology framework

by Matt Harris, Ed.D. Matt Harris, Ed.D. No Comments

Am I a Tech-Savvy Teacher?

Developing a Framework for EdTech Support

Of course, the short answer to this question is that there is no short answer. Technology tools differ in every school and the needs of students vary based on age and curriculum used. 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.

At present, there are resources available online that 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. For a full list of EdTech resources visit http://edtch.co/EdTechStandards.

As you can see, this combination of knowledge is all encompassing, but far too complicated. And while they provide all the materials needed to describe a tech-savvy teacher they fail to provide direct application. On the whole, these resources do not provide means to identify those key characteristics a teacher possesses in their day-to-day work or measureable areas of improvement.

When I worked at the British School Jakarta, my learning technology team took on the task of filling this void. We studied the available online resources unified them to create an actionable rubric for tech-savvy teaching.

Over the course of months, we built the Framework for Learning Technology Support for Educators that will, when completed, offer a resource for teachers, coaches, and school leadership to measure what makes a teacher tech-savvy. This framework will be a guide for the attitudes, behaviors, and practices of educators in using technology for learning. It will be a tool for self-assessment and continued learning for individual teachers and a roadmap for Educational Technology coaches offering support. School leadership will be able to use it 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. Through their advice, 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 the technologies themselves. While teachers need to be technology literate, as outlined in the Operating category, their uses for personal learning, collaboration, and teaching are the true indicators of being tech-savvy. 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 3-4 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 explores 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 internal to their classrooms or them individually, and grow externally. For example, a teacher who is emerging in Approaches would review online resources whereas an exemplary teacher author and deliver online trainings outside of the school. This rubric will help teachers document their current practices, understand the scope of tech-savvy teaching, and help them plan for growth.

After we finalize the rubric, we plan to share it with a small group of educational technology experts for a deep analysis. Once we incorporate their improvements, we will publish the framework for use by all schools globally.

Hopefully, through this work schools will better support their teachers along the EdTech journey thereby systemizing the professional development and coaching needs for successful Educational Technology 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.

The Learning Technology Framework will be available in early 2020.

If you would like to learn more about our work, contribute to the development framework, or stay informed as it is completed please contact me.

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