Last week we received our Lucy camera that allows teachers to capture a 360 image of their classroom while they are teaching. Now keep in mind we were suppose to receive these months ago. As I am setting it up it reminded me of an article I read by Lisa Nielson titled "How to showcase #TeacherEffectiveness using digital portfolios". Lisa writes some great articles and I think you should check out her site to see what she is writing about and sharing. Anyway, the article was about the Charlotte Danielson Framework and how a lot of schools across the nation are starting to use it to determine if a teacher is effective or not. The framework takes more than just test scores into consideration, which was how many schools determined teacher effectiveness before. I think it is a great framework and does help administration to get a better picture of how effective teachers are. Now the main part of this article was about using digital portfolios to help teachers show their effectiveness. I think this is a great idea! (Obviously being that I am a technology specialist) Of course there are teachers that do not want to use technology at all in the classroom, let alone to create their own portfolio! I think the problem with that is the world of education is in a time that we need to be advancing our ways of teaching instead of trying to teach the same old thing the same old way! Especially in America where we are constantly dropping in the rankings of where our kids are in the world! We need to find the most effective way to teach our students and to rate our teachers. Hence this new Charlotte Danielson Framework. The problem is, so many schools are using this framework in the same way they use everything else! They look at it like it is extra paperwork and waste of time that they 'have to do', instead of making it a part of their daily routine. An easy way to do that is to create a digital portfolio! There are several ways to create a digital portfolio, you just have to choose the one that works the best for you. I personally have started creating this website and blog to show how some of the things that I have done to further my teaching ability and my collaboration with others. When you create a digital portfolio, it makes it much easier for your administration to find and see what you are doing in your classroom and for your colleagues to see what you are doing. They aren't trying to look at you and say "see they didn't do this or didn't do that"! They want to see what you are doing that is working so they can get ideas from you! Why should every person recreate the wheel with every lesson they teach?? Instead share your ideas with your colleagues and even people you may not know who are trying to become better teachers! I have worked with a few people who are so focused on themselves and how they can do this or that better that they never think about anyone around them. Or they want to show that they are better than the next person so they don't share any of their ideas. In education, it has never been about the teacher, it is about the student and where we want the students to get to. If every teacher had the mindset of how can I help every child possible, instead of how can I help myself, maybe we wouldn't be having some of the issues we are having today. Back to the digital portfolios, if it is such a great way to share ideas and it makes life easier for people, why are more people not creating them? Change? Time? Those are two worlds you never want to bring up in education, but you need to bring up. Teachers always say there is not enough time to do this or not enough time to do that, or even, "this has been working for x amount of years why should I change?" The answer, because the world is changing and we need to change with it or the children are going to suffer. We need to change the way we teach to better meet our kids needs. While we are changing the way we teach, we change the way we evaluate ourselves and others. That is where the digital portfolio comes into play. We can use it to teach and to evaluate. It saves time instead of creating two separate things that do not do the same thing. Some people have started to adopt the Charlotte Danielson model, but are still using 3" binders to put all of their 'data' and 'proof' into to show how effective they are. The fact that you are using a 3" binder takes away from the effectiveness in the world we live in.
Jacob has been teaching for 9 years. 5 years as a 4th grade teacher and 4 years as an instructional technology specialist (iTech). He is sharing some of his experiences and technology that could help other teachers in the classroom.