ISTE Educator Standard 1
Learner: Educators continually improve their practice by learning from and with others and exploring proven and promising practices that leverage technology to improve student learning. Educators:
1a. Set professional learning goals to explore and apply pedagogical approaches made possible by technology and reflect on their effectiveness.
1b. Pursue professional interests by creating and actively participating in local and global learning networks.
1c. Stay current with research that supports improved student learning outcomes, including findings from the learning sciences.
Understanding ISTE Educator Standard 1
After reading ISTE Educator Standard 1: Educators continually improve their practice by learning from and with others and exploring proven and promising practices that leverage technology to improve student learning. I began to wonder what ‘proven and promising practices’ are?
In my experience as an educator, many districts and educators are already working to improve their practice through PD’s, PLC’s and SIP’s, book studies, or tapping into coaches, TOSA and much more. In fact, there is so much new learning and teaching that goes on, that at times I’ve been overwhelmed with it all.
So I began my research thinking, if I can find some of these “proven and promising” practices, I can begin implementing them or share them with teachers so they can improve their practice. Cheryl an instructor in my EDTC 6103 course pointed me towards John Hattie’s research; The Visible Learning, and specifically on his Influences And Effect Sizes Related To Student Achievement.
John Hattie The Visible Learning research is based on a synthesis of 1200 meta-analyses relating to influences on achievement. If you want to know more about the influences and their effect size, you can see more here: https://visible-learning.org/hattie-ranking-influences-effect-sizes-learning-achievement/
After looking through some of the top influences, I thought they were exactly what I was looking for. I thought that if I focused on these top strategies rather than others that may or may not be on the list then I’d be using my time and energy better. However, after digging into Hattie’s research, beliefs and some of his research criticisms it is my understanding that schools and teachers should not simply go after the influences that have the highest effect size, but in fact, reflect on the current realities of the class or school. So not to throw out strategies that we already are using but gather evidence to understand the impact that the strategies have. Then reflect and make choices on how to move forward
I’ve learned that it is more about the mindset and process rather than the exact strategies. Yes, picking research-based or “promising” strategies and being thoughtful about what you are doing is important, but it is not an end-all. Instead, gathering evidence, eliciting feedback and stopping to reflect on what you are doing to determine next steps is the best way to improve student learning.
Applying Hattie's Mindset to Computer Science in Shoreline
This led me to think about a new endeavor that we are working on in Shoreline. Recently a group of educators from each of the elementary schools in Shoreline came together to talk about Computer Science equity within the district. Shoreline and many of its admin, students, families, and teachers recognized Computer Science (CS) as an important literacy for students to learn just as is reading or writing. In particular, they recognized the need to introduce CS to students at a young age, and intentionally make choices that will encourage girls to engage in CS.
One of the challenges around CS in Shoreline is implementing CS and equipping teachers to begin teaching it. The district has adopted the Code.org curriculum to get teachers started. They are providing training for staff, with a goal to have at least one person from each school and grade level trained.
Our school librarian and I (who attended the CS equity meetings at the district) discussed what we learned with our principal, who supports making sure that we are providing equitable access to Computer Science for our students (she rocks). We then presented to our Ridgecrest staff the “why” of teaching CS and some misconceptions around it. We also explained the district’s CS vision, adopting the Code.org curriculum, and upcoming trainings.
What I found after our presentation was that most teachers agreed that CS is important but some were hesitant towards the idea of teaching it because they “don’t know how” and/or there was “no time as it is.” To address this our school librarian and I sent out a Google survey to the staff to get a basis of teacher’s experience around CS, learn what CS has been taught at our school and lastly ask for teachers interested in joining a committee that looks at ways to support CS at Ridgecrest.
Shoreline and Ridgecrest have just begun our journey to improving our practices around CS. Similarly to when I started my research and thought that I needed to know what “promising practices” were and how to implement them, many teachers fear the same with CS. My hope is to bring my new understanding and mindset to my CS team and school. If we can think of CS as a journey, not a destination then what’s important is that we try our best, and spend time gathering evidence, eliciting feedback from students, families, and staff, and then reflect to better understand what strategies are working and what we need to improve we can better our CS learning for students.
Some other takeaways I had during my research is around the power of student feedback. I am hopeful that we can get students on our schools new CS team, in addition to gathering evidence and reflecting. I am interested in exploring ways to track data, and get student feedback. If you have any resources around those topics feel free to share below!