Should the International Society for Technological Education’s NETS for Teachers be part of a Teacher’s Evaluation Process?

The Question
In addressing this question I feel it is instructive to outline the implied context of teacher evaluations and the integration of technology into the classroom from the outset. I doubt there are many that would argue against the place of teacher evaluations as part of the necessary system for maintaining professional standards, highlighting strengths, identifying areas for professional development and advocating for the rights of teachers and students alike. Assuming this stance, the implementation of these technology standards for teacher evaluation becomes the focus of the rest of this discussion.

The Problem
Is it appropriate to consider the International Society for Technology in Education‘s NETS link for Teachers as part of a Teacher’s Evaluation Process? The short answer is yes… and no. Nothing is ever that simple. The first consideration is one of equity. As the preponderance of teachers currently charged with educating our young were given no proper training in the integration of technology it seems unfair to impose new standards on them. Given that most schools currently do not operate on the axiomatic assumptions of the importance of developing the skills necessary for effective implementation of these burgeoning tools it seems clear that any attempts at forcing compliance to these standards are further bound to fail.

The Answer?
As with any paradigmatic shifts in long-standing disciplines, time is required. It seems undeniable that a new, technology rich era is taking root. There is a new breed of teachers coming that embrace this revolutionary opportunity to improve classroom practice to better suit the true needs of today’s youth, based on the ‘real worlds’ they inhabit both digitally and socially. There are others still who can see the writing on the wall and want to be a part of this exciting change and are willing to invest the time to learn despite their lack of experience and training.

So now for the ‘yes’ part of the answer. As with many (most/all?) fundamental changes, top down training level change will be the start of the crest that leads the way. In this particular case, the students themselves have prompted the change based on their early adoption of new media and we, the educational “leaders”, are left to play catch up. A very encouraging trend to be sure. The fact that the standards in question so resemble current standards in all other respects, however, further suggests that their gradual implementation should not be considered too much of a hardship.

The End
The scene has been set. The pendulum has been set to its swing. Select the analogy of your choice, the result remains the same. It is happening now and yes, the standards for teachers should be used as part of every teacher’s evaluation, at the appropriate time and with the appropriate training. In my personal opinion there will always be a place for specialists in ICT to assist teachers with informed planning for integration and follow up development. No matter how good technology gets, we will always need good art teachers, good literacy teachers, good math teachers… the list goes on. Respect for those who oversee homeroom classes and their unique abilities to create and maintain the positive, secure environments required for the development of all these skills and the social needs of the very human children that will fill them, no matter how altered by technology, should never be undermined.

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About Sean Thompson

Sean has accepted a position as the Director of Technology at The Early Learning Centre, City School, in Bangkok. He is excited to be working with Giovanni Piazza and the rest of the staff to raise awareness of digital-age teaching and learning practice in this Reggio Emilia inspired environment. Sean is also an Apple Distinguished Educator, an International Baccalaureate Educator Network Workshop Leader and a Google Educator available for professional development at your school.
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One Response to Should the International Society for Technological Education’s NETS for Teachers be part of a Teacher’s Evaluation Process?

  1. Adam says:

    Hi Sean you said, “the standards for teachers should be used as part of every teacher’s evaluation, at the appropriate time and with the appropriate training”. These seems entirely fair to me. It reduces the panic implicit in the change rolling out before talented current teachers have had a chance to effectively integrate technology into their classes but also suggests that the window of time within which to do this is slowly closing.

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