Friday, August 3, 4:00-4:30, SUB Ballroom D, Theme: Leadership

The effective implementation of performance-based teacher evaluation that encourages reflective teaching and subsequently improves practice is a challenge for any school district.  In rural schools, the lack of adequate staff and resources pose particular challenges.  Evolving technology in concert with an embedded standards-based teaching rubric may hold promise for improving reflective practice in resource-strapped rural schools.  Investigators working in a rural Alaskan school district during the 2017-18 school year studied the implementation of three types of technology: “snippets” consisting of text, photo, and short video of classroom activities; “walkthroughs” whereby an observer selects responses in a customized online form following a brief classroom visit and finally, a “formal observation” with a toolset to allow an administrator to rapidly record, or script what they observe during this formal session.  Regardless of the type of technology utilized each permit alignment of teacher practice to rubric indicators and each may readily be made available to an observed teacher.  Not surprisingly, investigators found that formal observations have the greatest impact on reflective practice while walkthroughs and snippets fall in close behind.  Because rural school districts lack the resources and supervisory personnel to provide formal observations beyond those that are minimally required; the investigators conclude that technology just might hold promise for increasing reflective practice among teachers.  To achieve this, however, requires more work with rubric familiarization and technology proficiency.

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