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Using the International Classroom Observation Tool to Evaluate the Effectiveness of Integrating

Technology into Staff Development Trainings

Donna Neal
Phone: (386) 801-4200
Montra Rogers
Phone: (281) 703-1535
Email: mr1690@nova.edu
To be submitted to:
ASCD Education Leadership
Curriculum Teaching and Technology
EDD 7914
Submitted to:
Dr Shirley Walrod

Nova Southeastern University
September 21, 2014

implementing.2 Abstract School districts around the country are employing a number of initiatives with the hopes of remedying gaps in student achievement. Districts must begin the task of providing stakeholders opportunities to connect the myriad of district efforts. Whether technology should be used in schools is no longer the issue in education. and assessing district initiatives such as a one to one student laptop program. the presentation highlighted within this work demonstrates the connection between 21st century and literacy skills. Introduction In an effort to support those who will be responsible for planning. it is important to model the integration of digital content as well as digital tools and applications during professional development trainings. These approaches did not focus on the expansion of teachers’ knowledge. the current emphasis is ensuring that technology is used effectively to create new learning opportunities and promote student achievement. such programs have focused on developing the teacher’s ability to use specific hardware and software applications. skill. and confidence in using multiple digital tools and applications in the classroom with hopes of improving teaching and learning. Instead. The critical issue that is addressed is if integrating technology into professional development transfers to learning. educational . the integration of technology into curriculum and instruction. However. those who are responsible for creating staff development trainings will increase their chances for success and ultimately the transfer of strategies and skill into instructional practices if they ground their work in the solid theoretical background of adult learning theory and organizational development (Matzen & Edmunds. Furthermore. as well as a comprehensive literacy program. 2007). Although traditionally used to evaluate the integration of technology in classrooms. However. this article uses the International Society for Technology in Education/International Classroom Observation Tool to evaluate the effectiveness of integrating technology into staff development trainings. There is no one single approach to working with educators. In the past.

Instead. ongoing professional development program that is tied to the district’s curriculum goals. designed with built-in evaluation. In addition. The tool itself is divided into multiple sections that address the setting of the observation. Department of Education. It requires the assistance of educators who effectively integrate technology into curriculum and align it with student learning goals.org). or technology into instruction (Mancabelli. participant characteristics. Kirkpatrick. homogeneity of the class. This observation tool also . digital tools or applications. a well-planned. According to Fatemi (2013). 2012). 2010. An effective resource for monitoring technology use in the classroom is the International Classroom Observation Tool (ICOT). the tool questions the necessity of technology in the lesson or presentation as it relates to teaching and learning. 2013). and socio-economic factors (U. Therefore. and sustained by adequate financial and staff support is essential if teachers are to use technology appropriately to promote learning for all students in the classroom Fatemi. The ISTE/ICOT. student grouping variations. and learning activities. As integrating technology in today’s classroom is a current initiative in education. 2009).S. teacher role. one of the most serious obstacles to integrating technology into curriculum and instruction is the lack of professional development for educators. class size. observation is necessary to ensure appropriate inclusion. It is important to note that traditional one-time-only trainings are not effective in helping teachers to become comfortable with integrating digital content. Teacher quality is the number one factor affecting student achievement and surpasses other classroom barriers such as previous achievement levels. professional development for teachers is vital as educators work to integrate technology into instruction practices with hopes of improving the quality of learning in classrooms. The ICOT uses a set of questions to guide observations on a number of key components of technology integration (ISTE.3 technology is not transformative on its own.

the tool monitors the use of technology through both the teacher and students lens. of the city. There are 276 schools. The ethnic composition of the student body is 63% Hispanic. Setting The observation took place in the Houston Independent School District in Houston. there is emphasis on operating systems and hardware/software problems.354 students in prekindergarten through twelfth grade programs. Eighty percent are economically disadvantaged and 93% qualify for Title I funds. LEP/ESL students comprise approximately 30% of the entire student body.417 teachers. Texas. The ethnic composition of the district’s teachers is 37% African-American. Although the ISTE/ICOT is principally used observe the integration of technology in a classroom setting. content specific uses of technology. Using a Three Minute Chart Matrix. These individuals provide leadership to principals and align resources and support for teachers. Finally. and 11% White and Asian/Pacific Islander. The district serves a diverse student population. . middle. Three chief schools officers oversee the district’s elementary.4 includes a list of technology standards that addresses a range of learning outcomes. and alternative/charter schools (respectively). and technology integration as a teaching tool. the observer can monitor if technology was used for teaching and learning as opposed to recreation or routine tasks such as log-on (ISTE.org). 31% White. A total of 21 school-support officers and two alternative/charter school compliance officers report to the three chiefs. 26% Hispanic. There are 11. the tool was considered and modified to address the integration of technology in a professional development setting. 25% African-American. It serves an enrollment of 203. high. For example. and 4% Asian. The district encompasses 301 square miles within a large metropolitan city incorporating approximately 54% of the geographic area.

3.8. The observer was able to note evidence of the National Education Technology Standards in the presentation. the Power Up/One to One Laptop Computer .  1A. curriculum-based collaborations  1A. technology supports learner-centered  6D. the inclusion of such standards was not the intent of those responsible for creating and presenting the training.l.l. interactive communication tools  1A. The observer suggested that technology standards are incorporated along with content objectives into future presentations.l. they had not considered the inclusion of national or state technology standards. technology integrated as a student tool A debriefing held at the end of the presentation revealed that while both presenters understood and included both content specific and process standards.2. appropriate technology selected  2A. learning experiences address content standards  3B. The Presentation The district in which the presentation took place has a number of initiatives in place to support student achievement. curriculum-based presentations/publications  1A. A list of those standards is included below. technology integrated as a teacher tool  3D. Two initiatives.2. safe and healthy use of technology strategies  3D.5 National Education Technology Standards The observed presentation incorporated a variety of standards that guide best practices in technology integration.9.6.7. technology-enhanced instructional strategies  3A.

speaking. the Secondary Social Studies Department provided a professional development training for district and school leaders. the presenters modeled effective strategies that demonstrated the link between 21st century and literacy skills in order to improve lesson design and instruction. First. listening. school leaders were introduced to the Technology Integration Matrix. To support the district’s goals. (2011). currently. along with the web tool or digital application Kahoot. digital age proficiencies are literacy proficiencies and include reading. a gamed based classroom response system. a number of school leaders responded that they would like to develop teachers in the area of student centered instruction. The Technology Integration Matrix provides a framework for defining and evaluating technology integration and helps to set a clear vision for effective . these traditional literacy functions are accomplished with the aid of digital tools rather than the more traditional paper and pencil (Larson & Miller. participants were asked to respond to the following question: Which two instructional areas do you most want to develop with your teachers as they begin to incorporate digital tools into instruction? Overwhelmingly. The goals of the training were two-fold. are deemed the most important. The presentation began with introductions and the team provided an overview of the research supporting the assertion that 21st century and literacy skills are connected. digital literacy is literacy for the 21st century.6 Initiative and the Literacy By 3 Comprehensive Literacy Initiative. and thinking. In short. writing. 2011). Next. Furthermore. Furthermore. Using personal technology devices such as smart phones and tablets. students will need digital age proficiencies [to prepare] for the world beyond the classroom. the Secondary Social Studies Department wanted participants to discover the link between 21st century and literacy skills. According to Larson and Miller. the educational system must understand and embrace 21st century skills within the context of rigorous academic standards.

individual reflection or work. Write. as well as student (participant) pairs and small groups during the presentation and model lesson. As a wrap up. The lesson focus was the Causes of World War I. In an effort to allow participants to experience a technology integrated social studies lesson. participants were invited to share interesting thoughts garnered from conversation with others. It was decided that having participants share with one other school leader versus the entire group was less threatening. documents. The ICOT solicited evidence of how the teacher might integrate technology into instruction. a web tool or digital application that allows teachers to integrate a variety of digital content. Alliances. it was revealed that the presentation team struggled with whether or not to use a digital tool or application such as Padlet to capture participant responses. Pair Share strategy. and grouping opportunities. After an examination of this matrix. and how students might use technology in their learning. and school leaders were asked to respond to the following prompt: As a whole. Imperialism. Participants were asked to examine maps. individual. The team employed the following instructional strategies during the presentation and model . the team used Blend Space. The ICOT probes for evidence of whole class. 2008). the presenters engaged the participants in a Think. the observer witnessed opportunities for whole class discussion. images. where do the teachers in my school fit on the Technology Integration Matrix? During the presentation debriefing.7 teaching with technology (Gorder. The learning target was: Identify Militarism. and Nationalism as the MAIN causes of World War I beginning in 1914. and secondary sources to answer the following big question: How did each of the MAIN causes of World War I contribute to the conflict becoming a “world” war? The observer was able to use the ICOT to evaluate the effectiveness of technology integration in the presentation and model lesson.

Regarding the model lesson. the observer noted the discussion of digital applications in relation to assessment opportunities as evidence of how students might integrate technology into their new learning. or three words something they learned today. a new realization or an “aha moment. As an evaluation or reflective tool. This was of concern as a major part of a school leader’s role is to evaluate and provide feedback to staff using this Instructional Practices rubric. the team discussed assessment opportunities with participants. As the ICOT questions evidence of how students might integrate technology into learning. Finally school and district leaders were shown a video that provided a model of technology integration within a social studies classroom. Surprisingly. and discussion. Animoto. With this. or Glougster to create a product that explains how each of the long term causes of World War I contributed to the conflict becoming a world war. leaders struggled to evaluate the video lesson using the Instructional Practices Rubric. Unfortunately.8 lesson. interactive directions. two.” It is important to note that the presentation team provided a number of web resources that will help facilitate technology integration. This segment of the presentation would have also provided for the integration and evaluation of the National Education Technology standards. In a classroom setting students might use a variety of web tools or digital applications such as Thinglink. the observer was not able to record evidence of . The observer was able to note evidence of these activities on the ICOT. Using the ICOT. the observer witnessed learning activities such as information analysis and writing. Finally. participants were asked to evaluate this lesson using the district’s Instructional Practices Evaluation rubric. participants were asked to use the digital tool Padlet to post in one. lecturing. the observer was able to note evidence of student-focused strategies and activities.

the presentation team admitted being a little discouraged as they were not confident that such the message would transfer. Finally. 2007). drive the demonstration. The team discussed the notion that only about 10% of what is learned in professional development sessions ever is incorporated into practice (Joyce & Showers. Although passionate about the potential impact this work could have on both teachers and students. Conclusion Our evaluation of the presentation and model lesson using the ISTE/ICOT was beneficial. 1982.9 technology standards as indicated on the ICOT. However. As districts implement initiatives to address woes in education. a careful examination of the presentation and model lesson using the ISTE/ICOT revealed that although the observer was able to align the various strategies included in the training to technology standards. it is important to help teachers understand how these efforts are connected. In any good lesson or presentation. Knight. whether content or technology. standards. the presenters were not aware of these standards and did not consider these learning objectives during the initial planning and creation of the training. . it was determined that providing for an opportunity for debriefing and reflective discussion is necessary in the observation process. The observer determined that the presentation and model lesson revealed evidence of the integration of digital applications and web tools from both the trainer and participant perspective.

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