Leadership magazine March/April 2017 V46 No. 4 - Page 27

ASKED Answered

What technology tool / resource has you most intrigued as to its potential ?
Three education leaders share their thoughts about technology tools and resources in school .
Scott Borba Principal
Stroud Elementary Empire USD
If you ’ re a “ DIYer ” like I am , and you ’ ve spent time fixing pipes under your kitchen sink or changing light switches , you know you can ’ t do the job well without the right tool . But , as I ’ ve also discovered , having the right tool doesn ’ t necessarily ensure the job gets done correctly . As a school principal for the past decade , I ’ ve watched and sometimes been guilty of putting certain tools in the hands of inexperienced or inadequately trained folks and expected the same outcome as if the tools were in the hands of a pro . In today ’ s technology rich classrooms , this rings true more often than not . School boards and administrators are under tremendous pressure to “ keep up ” with progress . To make sure that every student has a device in their hands . Textbooks are digital , assessments are computer adaptive , and field trips have become virtual . But has all of this “ progress ” resulted in progress ? In 2014 , Empire Union School District principals were given the opportunity to research a specific component of education and how it could positively impact the students in our district . Many of us have heard of Dr . Ruben Puentedura ’ s S . A . M . R . ( Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition ) model of integration . By guiding our staff and students to look at the way they ’ ve always done things through this lens , instruction and learning is quickly enhanced and eventually transformed . Most of us have the tools , but even the best tools in the hands of people who don ’ t know how to use them , don ’ t do a bit of good . Focus your energy in how to use the tools you have effectively with ongoing professional development and support . Only then will technology have an impact on student learning . n
Data-driven decision-making is a universal expectation for leaders in education . The private sector has historically benefitted from predictive models to inform strategy and investment . Now educators are positioned to leverage the convergence of data from increasingly sophisticated student information systems , well-calibrated standardized assessments , and the availability of analytical software . These tools enable us to weigh multiple factors such as demographics and achievement to inform program development , shape effective instructional interventions , critique teacher effectiveness , and structure professional development offerings . Such evidence-based processes are the norm in a culture that values the codification of scalable success . However , as we further invest in DDDM we should consider the boundaries of data reliability , instrument quality , and the validity of decision-making processes resulting in our collective determinations . Those less familiar with diagnostic assessment instruments may be unfamiliar with ’ consequence or consequential validity ’. Samuel Messick defined consequential validity as the “ potential and actual social consequences of applied testing .” While Messick ’ s definition is most accurately applied to assessment results , there are implications for DDDM as well . The data systems we utilize empower us to reach conclusions in an efficient , defensible and ethical manner . Yet how often do we reflect on the ramifications of our collective determinations ? Because resource allocation is the logical by product of any decision-making process , perhaps we would be well-served by concurrently evaluating the efficacy of existing instructional priorities ? We are fortunate to have at our disposal data tools capable of generating impressive quantitative outputs . Nevertheless it is the nuanced application of DDDM tenets that will validate our data interpretation protocols and the opportunities they create . n
Antonio Castro Associate Superintendent Ventura COE
Kevin Silberberg Superintendent
Panama-Buena Vista UESD
We will be implementing a Panalytics project in our district . It won ’ t be about analytics or data . It will be about insight and understanding that solves the most pressing challenges impacting teaching and learning . This project collects , organizes , and displays all the data we already had , to what we desperately needed which was a visual roadmap towards more effective student interventions . In creating our own analytics program ( Panalytics , or Panama Analytics ), we have a program that provides us with a vital check on what ’ s happening across the entire organization , and which lays groundwork for better understanding and student learning . Our district is similar to other learning institutions in that we were very good at capturing data and keeping most of it isolated from learning conversations . What we needed was data that was already available from our student information , financial , and academic systems and turn it into knowledge and action . Today , those data conversations are happening in new and exciting ways leading to increased student success . At the end of the day , it ’ s about efficiently and effectively achieving the best learning outcome for students . Collected knowledge and actions will provide our system with direct insight into the root causes of student success and failure with our curriculum and intervention programs . Predictive analytics will help instructors reach students at risk with appropriate intervention , and proactively provide personalized attention to a large number of students . Through data access and reporting , trending student consultations will provide students a voice in their own learning . n
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