Who checks the checkers?

Once again this week, I’ve heard of F.E. teachers receiving less than good lesson observation reports, because of their improper use of technology. Tut tut!

Apparently, each of the teachers in question hadn’t used the interactive white board (IWB) that was installed in their classroom. For goodness sake!

Why is it that lesson observers think they have to point out defects in the use of technology, when they patently haven’t a clue what they are talking about. If they HAD half a clue what they were talking about, they might first ask ‘is there a reason why you did not employ use of the IWB?’ and anything short of ‘I didn’t see it there’ might be considered a fair enough answer. Why would you use an IWB to teach PowerPoint, or how to fillet fish? Why?

I know a teacher whose use of ILT once got marked as less than satisfactory when in fact she had half the class working on PhotoStory3 presentations and the other half preparing blogs. It was the lesson observer who needed a kick up the arse, not the teacher in question.

I’ve always said that ILT, information LEARNING technology should be exactly what it says – IT (information technology) that surrounds and supports LEARNING. It should not be used simply because it’s there. Where the use of technology is planned and applied appropriately, it can enhance the learning process; even ad hoc use if applied appropriately can have the same result. But the use of technology for technology’s sake is evil and should be wiped out.

Who checks the lesson observer’s ILT competence? Who checks the checkers?

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2 Responses to “Who checks the checkers?”

  1. dsugden Says:

    Thanks for this Louise,

    That’s exactly the point I was making, thank you:

    “…individuals are made observers simply as part of their role responsibilities (often at head of department level – with no teaching commitment) and while they are great subject specialists, do not understand the wide and constantly evolving concept of eLearning and Mobile Learning and ‘current’ learner expectations”

    – but most do not ask for training in the use of technology and are not therefore qualified to comment in its use or, in my examples lack of use.

    What’s really sad is that many ITT teachers only nod in the direction of ILT and don’t really understand it themselves, meaning that new teachers are not always better prepared to use it either.

    Cheers 😉

  2. loujak78 Says:

    Great post! In several of my previous roles I have been, by choice, part of the observation team, because of my passion for teaching and as you say LEARNING. As my ‘teaching’ roles have been (and Masters qualification is) around eLearning I would often see the fear in the teachers eyes when they found out it was me observing them as they would, wrongly, assume that I would grade them down for not using technology. I have seen amazing lessons where technology was not used at all and equally poor lessons where the use of technology was obviously ‘forced’ and stilted learning. I love the potential of technology to enhance and support teaching and learning and have, in many cases, pointed out to teachers where technology could have been used to improve the process and/or outcome, as well as more traditional methods and techniques where they would have been more appropriate – within a specific lesson or throughout a whole course. I am fortunate that I have that background and well established understanding of a range of technologies and their possible application, but agree with the post that in many cases observers do not have that knowledge or understanding. From my experience, individuals are made observers simply as part of their role responsibilities (often at head of department level – with no teaching commitment) and while they are great subject specialists, do not understand the wide and constantly evolving concept of eLearning and Mobile Learning and ‘current’ learner expectations – and that is where the problem comes in. But I do not have an answer to ‘who checks the checkers?’ as that is, in my experience, a key stage in the process that is ‘almost always’ missing.


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