My school district is currently looking at adopting a baseline of technology skills that all teachers must have. At this point, we are brainstorming ideas and eventually will have a document/checklist in place that will help drive our technology staff development time. My question is: Are there school districts out there that already have such a checklist? If anyone would be willing to share, that would be great. Most searches I have done reveal only state or national standards which tend to be fairly general. We are looking for specific computer/technology skills that teachers need to have to function in today's classrooms.

Tags: standards, teachers, technology

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Because what we took was online, we don't have any samples. Our results addressed 6 separate areas and the results were organized into a couple different formats and sent to us~ very informative! I don't know the price because we were part of it thanks to the state of AZ. They do have a teacher component, however~Well worth checking out!
Hi Brad,

My school district does not have a checklist. We use our state standards. In Washington State fifth grade teachers (like me) have a whopping 192 "Grade Level Expectations" to meet. More than one every day. For some, there is just not enough room on the plate for more (thinking technology here). Tecnology standards provide a starting point although I would find it difficult to create one checklist that fit all teachers.

It seems to me that our old form of professional development needs to be abandoned, especially when technology is involved. Workshops just don't work very well. Watch Charles Jennings head of Global Learning for Reuters make the case for change. Progress at my school and in my district has come in the form of Technology Peer Coaches, funded by the state. The majority of the coaches are full time classroom teachers who work with peers. The "just in time" support backed with deep understanding of curriculum has been the greatest change agent for technology integration that we have seen so far.

I can't agree more with Alicia that it is "...hard when we force them to use it." Peer coaching is invitational which is one reason it works so well. Teachers have committed, independently, to weave technology into learning. The process isn't speedy and is completely dependent upon equipment. However, when time, equipment, flexibility, and patience come together in a peer coaching model, great things can happen!

A few links.

Washington States Peer Coaching site
Washington State Technology Standards

Thanks for the information about what is going on in Washington. Our administration seems committed to adopting a peer coaching model. Our biggest obstacle right now may be our current budget crisis, but we are being assured that the district will move forward on this. At the elementary level, the hope is to have a peer coach that isn't currently in the classroom. It would be very difficult for a classroom teacher to have enough freedom to really help their peers. How does this work in your situation? Do you have several coaches that are assigned to a small number of teachers? At the secondary level, it seems that teachers' schedules could be adapted so they could act as coaches during their work day.
We have two coaches in our building of twelve teachers each coaching two teachers formally and more informally. One coach teaches in primary and the other in intermediate. I would argue that having a classroom teacher as a coach is the most effective use of time and money.

Classroom teachers collaborate all the time; at lunch, grade level meetings, before and after school, and in those quick hallway conversations. Typically they are very familiar with the standards and curriculum they are responsible for. They understand that the most important variable in the learning equation is student understanding of underlying content. It would be extremely difficult for a full time coach to address all of the content at the elementary level. If content is taken out of the equation what you have left are discrete skills. Certainly important, but alone, not enough to motivate teachers to bring lasting change, in the form of fluid and consistent use of technology tools, into their classrooms.

Watching one primary teacher work together on an autobiography unit using Photostory was really fun and one example of how content meets technology. Students wrote autobiographies, illustrated them and then created Photostories using digital cameras and laptop computers. I believe this type of project was successful because the classroom teacher developed and planned for the use of technology in lessons she was already very familiar with. She didn't add anything to her plate; she shifted her lesson around and used different tools. This was her one big technology project for the year. Next year she may add another one or maybe two. She is demonstrating steady change that fellow teachers notice and adopt too.

After two years of coaching I now have eight more computers in my classroom as a result of the peer coaching grant. More importantly, I have two fellow intermediate teachers who are teaching me about OneNote and interactive maps. These are teachers who didn't stray very far from email two years ago. So, I guess my whole point is to trust your teachers. Feed them with equipment, a bit of organized support, a large dose of flexibility, and watch them take on the technology challenge. They will surprise you!

On a practical note, coaches get training in the summer (unpaid) and are out of the classroom for three days during the school year. In return they get equipment. It is amazing what a digital projector, laptop, and document camera can do to motivate reluctant teachers. Also, teachers control the equipment they receive through peer coaching grants. As long as the teacher is employed by the district the equipment stays in their classroom, even if they move schools.
In our school district each elementary school had a technology specialist (I began this position 8 years ago) who worked in the lab (before laptops, projectors, etc) and whose job was to teach keyboarding to 4-6 graders and integrate technology K-6 in the lab. Classroom teachers were come to the lab with their students and learn with them. Some teachers did this and others brought papers, etc and sat and did their own thing (administration needed to look at this). After the arrival of a new associate supt.and grade level collaboration where computer lab was used in some buildings as coverage, the Tech. Specialist became the Tech teacher. No expectations of the teachers to learn and help teach (really didn't effect my building much - the ones who do - did and the ones who don't - didn't). Now our title is Technology Support Coach and we have laptops, projectors, Interwrite Pads, etc, as well as a lab. Our job is now to help the teachers integrate technology into the classroom. We are all certified elem. teachers with a tech background. My lab is used mostly for keyboarding and a program called SuccessMaker. Technology integration happens in the classrooms with the laptop carts and other technology. Our first year has gone well but we are still adjusting. Not all of the teachers use the laptops and some use them only for web programs but we are moving along. My administrator understands what my job is supposed to be and supports it. The district administration is also very intuned to this way of integrating technology. Even with budget cuts, the people in my position have created a presence in the building that has become one that the staff cannot do without. I am free to go to classrooms to trouble shoot, observe lessons, plan with teachers or model a lesson. I have a tech aide (this position is possibly on the chopping block due to budget cuts) and she takes care of trouble shooting the lab and going to the classrooms when help is needed and I am not available. We are working on a set of teacher technology competencies and a plan to train the teachers. Our experience with the tech coaches has been positive so far and I am excited for next year to continue to have my skills as a coach and the technology skills for the teachers grow.

Your previous position as technology specialist sounds very similar to mine. Currently, I see all the kids in the computer lab throughout the week as part of the guaranteed prep time cycle for teachers with P.E. and music. Next year we are adding a new school, so computers will not have to part of the P.E./Music prep. time, but I will also be in charge of the library. So much for having time to integrate technology. My administrator plans to require the teachers to be in the lab with me, so I will work hard to get them involved--no sitting in the back correcting papers!

Your point is well taken. If you want to have the biggest impact with peer coaches, I think your model is the best. Classroom teachers helping other classroom teachers makes the most sense. We were considering one person to cover 4 elementary schools (about 100 teachers). Certainly, many teachers will be left behind.

I will definitely bring up your model to our tech. committee. Do your coaches get stipends, or is it incentive based with equipment, etc.? What kind of guidelines do the coaches have to ensure they are actually coaching? I can envision us needing 15-20 coaches throughout our district at the elementary level, so we would need some accountability to make sure they are all doing what they are supposed to do.

Thanks for sharing!
Brad, I wish my school system would adopt a baseline of tech skills necessary for all teachers. Right now, we are just sent to one professional development session regarding technology, and just get the very basics of tech in education. We also have a budget problem, but we also have a new superintendent who is tied up working with eleven schools that have been taken over by the state for low performance. It might be awhile before the agenda reaches technology.

Your situation is similar to the one in my previous school district. There was some lip-service towards technology, but never a real committment to it. The best they could do was give the teachers decent computers, but wouldn't really deliver much to the students--in a community where the kids probably didn't get a lot of opportunities at home either...
I think now might be a good time to get a good technology program into place. Effective use of technology could be used to help with these types of problems. I think too often, people look at technology as being something extra, instead of a solution to a problem. Making things more efficient is the best use for technology. I doubt that you would see too many schools with good technology integration in the list of low performing schools. ( Not that I believe that the technology deserves all the credit, maybe not even the most)
I agree, Paul. I've always seen technology as a way of making teaching and learning more fun and interesting, and today's kids learn better through it.



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