Monday, January 20, 2014

Measuring Teacher Technology Proficiency

To establish a baseline of teacher technology skills,  I decided to use's Wayfind Teacher Assessment. This online assessment in aligned to the NETS-T standards and measures proficiency in 5 strands:

  1. Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity
  2. Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments
  3. Model Digital-Age Work and Learning
  4. Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility
  5. Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership
Prior to assigning to my teachers, I took the assessment myself and found it to be  pretty rigorous. It assesses at an application and analysis level which was especially challenging for primary teachers who do not apply technology in the classroom in the way the questions were structured. I took a little heat from several of these teachers who thought this was a pointless exercise since their instruction does not include students researching, citing sources, using databases or creating spreadsheets. 

It is my belief that all teachers should be digitally literate. Teachers who are digitally literate will be more likely to see the instructional connections and opportunities to integrate 21st century skills across all subjects and grade levels. Just because a person teaches 2nd grade does not mean that they only need mathematical understanding through 2nd grade math. Just a metaphor but you get my point.

Teachers were uncomfortable and anxious about having their technology knowledge and skills assessed. We ask our students to do this all of the time and many feel that same anxiety. I assured teachers that this assessment was not going to be used punitively, shared with the Head of School or tied to their annual evaluation. The purpose was to help me, help them grow professionally. We need to assess our own knowledge and skills periodically so that we can identify areas for professional growth.

The Wayfind Teacher Assessment is just one method amongst several that I am using to track our transition to a new educational paradigm. It is a dipstick; a way for me to begin the process of personalizing professional development. As a multiple choice test, there is a margin of error due to correct guessing. I also take into consideration that just because someone demonstrates basic proficiency in the application of technology tools on a multiple choice test it does not mean they are effectively using them with students. 

My next steps include meeting with individuals to review their strengths and focus areas based on their results and the creation of personal learning opportunities. allows an administrator to prescribe curriculum based on the assessment results. Learning activities in the database include content from as well as content from 3rd party vendors and other educators. The quality is varied; many of the Google Apps lessons and resources are from 3 or 4 years ago and if you are a Google Apps user you know a lot has changed. I will assign a few things from the database but I will probably create my own content to make sure the quality is worth teacher's time investment.

The bottom line is that in order to move forward, I need to know where our current strengths and weaknesses lie. The Wayfind Teacher Assessment by is a place to start. It is inexpensive and included in an annual school subscription. Like our campus technology plan, it is aligned to the NETS-T standards. This gives me a baseline for our faculty technology proficiency and helps me set goals for improvement.