Nearly a year in the making, the revised TIM descriptors are ready for publication. Last summer, we began conversations with some of our TIM Tools clients about revising the wording of the setting descriptors so that they applied equally well in virtual environments. Since then, we have solicited input regarding all of the descriptors from a wide range of TIM users, conducted interviews and focus groups, and collected feedback via a public survey.

We expect to have the new edition of the descriptors posted to the TIM website by June 1, 2019. We will also be updating hundreds of PDFs, presentations, slides, and graphics in the TIM resources section. The latest edition clarifies some of the descriptors that users have had questions about. Nothing about the structure of the TIM is changing. The revised descriptors refer to the same five levels of technology integration and the same five characteristics.

If you would like a sneak peek at the revised descriptors before we update the TIM website, you can download the following PDFs:

With so many schools in the US and other countries utilizing the TIM to support their technology integration and professional development efforts, we expect to receive many questions about the implementation of this revision. I’ll try to anticipate a few here:

Q: Why change what’s working for us?
A: Nothing is fundamentally changing with the TIM! The underlying principles are the same in the third edition of the descriptors as they were in the previous editions. We think that you will find the rewording of selected descriptors to be clearer and more easily observable than the previous descriptors.

Q: We use TIM Tools and our observers often refer to the built-in help screens that break out the extended descriptors. How will that change?
A: We plan to embed the revised descriptors into the summer 2019 release of the TIM Tools. If current TIM Tools clients have any issues with a summer update of the embedded descriptors, please let us know. We are always ready to work with you to ensure that your TIM Tools instance meets your specific needs.

Q: Our district takes seriously the TIM profiles we generate and we use them for evaluation and research purposes. How will the revision impact our data?
A: As educators and researchers ourselves, we completely understand the concerns related to “changing” the descriptors mid-stream. Rest assured however, the revised descriptors are not so much changes as they are clarifications. Our goal was to eliminate any ambiguities in the current indicators and to restate some of the indicators to ensure that they are clearly observable and reduce observer subjectivity. In no case will you find that the descriptors have suddenly jumped up or down a level.

Q: Why are you calling this the third edition of the descriptors?
A: The original TIM descriptors were developed in 2003–2006. That version included only the summary descriptors. In 2011 we published the second edition that included the extended descriptors for teachers, students, and setting. Therefore, this 2019 revision is the third edition of the TIM descriptors.

Q: Can we keep using the second edition of the descriptors if we want to?
A: Of course! We won’t send the TIM police after you. There are still folks using the first edition and it works for them. We won’t judge. Fundamentally, all three editions are the same. We’ve just tried to make the original TIM concepts easier to understand and apply to classroom observations over the years.

Q: We use all those TIM presentations and PDF handouts we downloaded from your website. Will they be updated, too?
A: Yes! Updated versions of all current graphics, slides, PDFs, and presentations will be available by June 1.

Q: Will the second edition of the descriptors still be available on the TIM website after June 1?
A: Yes. We will archive and link them from the site just as we archived the original descriptors.

Q: What if I have a question you didn’t answer?
A: Just shoot us an email at and we’ll get back to you.

Roy Winkelman is a 40+ year veteran teacher of students from every level kindergarten through graduate school. As the former Director of FCIT, he began the Center's focus on providing students with rich content collections from which to build their understanding. When not glued to his keyboard, Dr. Winkelman can usually be found puttering around his tomato garden in Pittsburgh.

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