We integrate technology, not for technology’s sake. We integrate it in varied ways, in ways that are pedagogicly sound, and in ways that relate to the subject matter. We integrate technology in ways that play on the strengths of the teacher and address the needs of the students.
When going in to a classroom using the TIM Observation tool, it is important to remember that the teaching is the most important thing. Technology doesn’t teach students. Teachers teach students. With all that being said, when you are using the TIM-O, you are looking at a lesson in the context of the five characteristics of meaningful learning environments. Use these four tips to help mentor your teachers in technology without forgetting the importance of the concept being taught.
- Schedule Lesson Observations.
- If your goal is to coach and mentor your teachers, you will want to schedule a lesson observation with a teacher instead of coming in unannounced. When using the TIM-O, you want to see technology being used by the teacher and/or students in order to obtain valuable data that can help when mentoring or coaching the teacher. If you come in unannounced, there is a good chance you will not see the use of technology.
- Remind teachers that there is no good or bad place to fall on the TIM.
- A common misconception is that the lower levels of the TIM are negative places to fall during a lesson observation. This is NOT the case. Be sure to explain to teachers that all the levels are important at different times in the classroom. It is unrealistic for a teacher to give the students a new piece of technology and expect them to work at a transformation level when they have not had the opportunity to explore the technology. Oftentimes when a new piece of technology is introduced, the teacher will need to present an entry or adoption level lesson in order to help the students feel more comfortable with the technology.
- Use the TIM-O to guide coaching and mentoring.
- Once you have completed a TIM Observation, use that information to help teachers figure out their next steps. For example, if a teacher’s lesson was at the adaptation level, it can be extremely beneficial to brainstorm together ways of getting to the infusion or transformation levels for the next lesson in the class. The data collected should not be used as a “gotcha,” but instead should be used to help foster effective technology use in the classroom.
- Help your teachers by discussing the lesson observation together.
- As the observer, it is your job to build a rapport with the teachers you are observing. One of the most detrimental things you can do when discussing an observation with a teacher is to make them feel as if you are there to grade them instead of help them. There will also be times that the observer and teacher disagree about levels that were used in a particular lesson. For example, the observer may think the lesson was at an adoption level in collaboration whereas the teacher may feel the lesson was at the infusion level in collaboration. It is okay to disagree. It is more effective to talk about the pedagogical strategies used as opposed to argue about where that particular lesson falls.
Nate Wolkenhauer is a veteran elementary educator with experience teaching in Florida and Pennsylvania. While teaching, he focused on student engagement and technology integration in the classroom and was recognized as one of the top educators in the state of Florida by the Florida Department of Education. As the current Assistant Director of FCIT, he works to build curriculum and programs promoting technology integration in K-12 classrooms and informal education environments.
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