As much as I’ve been mulling over some “draft” blog posts over the past week or so, the ideas I am compelled to share in this post are a little more “raw.”
In a training this morning, speakers shared state-level criteria for teacher evaluation. As I was giving it a quick scan for literacy-related content (and an eye on what I need to be moving into my methods courses so preservice teachers incorporate these behaviors like breathing…), the “technology-related” criteria rose up to meet my eye – “the teacher uses comprehensive materials, technology and resources that promote the development of critical thinking, problem solving, and performance skills.” One reference out of 20 criteria – and it is a little bit hidden, lumped in with materials that could range from “silver-bullet,”packaged software tools, textbook resources, and anything that fits in the category of “resource.”
In mulling this over, I’m thinking that this language and framing functions as a deterrent to the kinds of new literacies teaching and thinking that I want my preservice teachers to value, know and practice (let alone what happens with the practicing teachers that I work with almost daily). If technology is limited to the “stuff” we use in the classroom, we aren’t really thinking about literacy or learning.
There is such a huge opportunity in the crafting of these documents to talk about technology in a really different way. What I’m not sure of – do we call this out by writing about new literacies? Do we call it out by seeding ideas about inquiry, authentic assessment, participation in global communities, rigor and relevance in teaching? Or, do we find a way to talk about learning 2.0 that is more “in your face” in the same way that these documents speak about rapport or assessment instruments? How do we change the language in the “echo chamber?” Is it about the volume of your ideas – or the language you use? Or, is it bigger?
Some of my colleagues argue that standards documents and policy documents don’t matter when it comes to the every-day in a school. I’m not sure I see how that argument holds weight – as the guidelines I am evaluated by as a teacher play a really significant role in how I think about my teaching and how I document what happens with student learning. Why change/grow/develop if it isn’t reflected in the criteria by which I am evaluated?
Another stream of thought – who is it that writes these documents, anyway? (Or, do I hold different expectations given the process – and involvement – that lots of us had in crafting the ISTE NETS)