If you’re going to do this 21st century thing . . .
Here’s my advice.
Get your leadership on board with the same vision of what this looks like. That doesn’t mean “Yeah, P21 sounds good.” or “I like ISTE’s version.” If your administration is going to push this as something that needs to be done, they actually have to know what they’re talking about in detail. General comments about doing things 21st century style won’t cut it. The vision has to come from the top and it has to be focused on your county/school. Even if you could just apply some framework out of the box you’d lose quite a lot of value.
So now you’ve got your vision.
You’re going need to have some way to assess where you are now, otherwise there’s no way to see if you’re getting better or where you need to focus specifically. If you really think about you can make a tool that will perform a variety of functions with only minor alterations. This is a good idea for all kinds of reasons- for instance you won’t have to spend enormous amounts of time making brand new tools all the time and the commonalities will make the data more comparable and consistent. Think about observations, quick walk throughs . . .
Now you’re going to need to norm the observation tool. If not, you might as well not make one at all. As a group, each leadership member has to be able to individually look at a variety of lessons and agree on the key components that make the lesson 21st century as well as how those components rate using the tool. This is actually a really powerful and useful conversation. It’s also a great way to really test your tool before releasing it into the wild. I found it useful to hand pick lessons that illustrate issues that came up during the design of the tool. Have some best practice to evaluate but make sure you put in some examples that are contentious and that people will argue about. You might not have a lot of video lying around for people to analyze so you might browse
- iTunesU– this is the power search link but USF has some good examples as well
- From Good to Outstanding– interesting in a lot of ways
- Edutopia– some good but harder to see the actual lessons most times
- TeacherTube– last resort
You are also going to want to think hard about how you’re going to deliver this to your staff. You probably want a little sell on this, not a “Did You Know?” try to find, or make, something better and more focused on why teachers would want to change. I’d recommend doing a similar norming exercise. Get people talking and discussing what this is, how the tool works etc.
A few questions that came up for us.
- Is technology a necessary component?1
- What is the difference between innovation and creativity?2
- How do you assess creativity/innovation?3
There’s a lot more to do but that’s not a bad start. Things get interesting when you’re assessing the data and using it to determine professional development and then how you start publicizing best practice.
1 It seems strange but you’ll see great lessons that have all the thinking involved but don’t use any technology. Does that matter to your group? Maybe it doesn’t but it’s best to figure this stuff out.
2 We had a rough time even defining innovation.
3 Is it relative to the individual? Is it by the class average? I still don’t know how you look at this except by individuals. Not that I really care because I don’t think that much of the grading aspect of things but grading always comes up.