Informal Walk Though Observations Can Tell You A Lot!

We’ve conducted self-assessment surveys of teacher skills in technology use in the classroom, but I don’t think the results give the entire picture of what’s actually happening on campus. Short of doing lengthy formal observations of technology-supported lessons for every teacher, how can I get a better gauge of what’s really going on in the classroom?

I don’t think that formal observations would paint an accurate picture, even if you had the time to do one in each classroom. However, you can develop a better sense of how technology is being used by doing a series of informal walk through observations. This type of observation requires some preplanning and is meant to provide insights into actual daily practice, not to be an evaluation of the teacher. You must decide what you want to know about technology use in classrooms and then identify the behaviors or evidence you want to see that would indicate effective use of technology in a classroom.

Once you have this information in mind, visit each classroom for 2-4 minutes. Take brief notes on an index card, or using your PDA. Repeat these visits several times on different days and at different times. A review of the data you collect during multiple walk through observations should help you and your staff in determining how often and how well technology is being used in your school.

Submitted by: Susan Brooks-Young

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