We live in a data driven world, but we cannot forget about the Art of Inspiration. As a teacher for the last 15 years, I have felt the pressure mount on me and my colleagues, to improve student test scores.
Many new teacher evaluation systems are using test scores as one of the metrics to measure teacher performance. The onus is placed squarely on the backs of teachers, without consideration of the effects that social issues such as poverty and food insecurity have on student scores.
Teachers are offered data to help them improve their student performance. But often this data is big and slow to arrive. In the case of state testing, when the data arrives it is pertains to the students that I taught the year before. And benchmark data, from uniform assessments that occur every three months, is helpful but it is not in real time.
Often times the results cause teachers to have to rework their year plans in midstride to address deficiencies that benchmark results highlight.
It was in the face of this reality that I created the Quick Key Mobile app. It is a simple tool that lets teachers mark paper based multiple-choice assessments and gather data with their smart phones or tablets.
I have never worked in a 1:1 school. Most of the schools I have worked in had at best heated competitions over the one or two iPad carts, and at worst no connectivity for the students. I needed a tool to give me the power to manage my daily formative assessment data, like my Exit Tickets, free of constraints.
Edtech like the Quick Key App, and others allow me to create innovative lesson plans and use outside the box practices in my classroom. I am then able to measure the results in real time, and make adjustments to my lessons or methods. Additionally, I am able to show administrators, district officials and parents that my students are progressing towards mastery of the standards without teaching to the test.
I need to be free to practice the Art of Inspiration! Teachers know that what we do is so much more than communicating content, in fact in the Internet age content is more available than ever before. Teaching is about inspiring and motivating our students to push themselves, to help them overcome daunting odds on the path to college and beyond.
I need EdTech to help me do that! Not to replace teaching, not to make it easy, but to support me as classroom teacher in meeting the needs of all of my students. Teaching is not about tests, it is about the Art of Inspiration, and well-crafted tech tools can empower educators, help engage students and transform lives.