MyNotes - Mobile Learning/Assessment Devices @woscholar

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to chat with Pam Derringer, authoring an article entitled  Mobile devices ease task of evaluating teachers, districts (published Jan 03, 2011) for School CIO. I wrote about the experience in this blog entry, The Freedom to Be an Independent Source.

Today, I was thrilled to see the article appear, quoting esteemed colleague Scott Floyd (White Oak ISD) and some unknown from the San Antonio, Texas area. While many hem and haw about getting things done, somehow, some way, Scott Floyd and the White Oaks manage to make it happen and come true.

While the article doesn't quite get everything exactly right according to my recollection of the interview, it's close enough "for government work." For example, bullet #3 cites figures but instead of users, I might use the word "campus," although there are also per user fees, too. The other part is the quote about holding teachers accountable...yeah, but not the way some legislators have discussed!  Ah well, no interview is perfect. Oh, and as nice as the iPad is, I prefer Android devices...but let's not dwell on that.

(Image source: New Asus Eee Slate Doesn't it look great?)

View a highlighted version of "SCHOOL CIO: Mobile devices ease task of evaluating teachers, districts" at

Just the highlights:

  • Source:  SCHOOL CIO: Mobile devices ease task of evaluating teachers, districts Jan 03, 2011 URL:
  • "The iPad opensthe door for twothings: collectingclassroom observationsand checkingoff teacher behavior" and gathering from many sources informationabout an individual student, says Miguel Guhlin, a technology director inthe San Antonio region. "With access to real-time student data in the palm ofyour hand, you can do a lot on the fly."
  • Administrators can call up a GoogleForm checklist to assess how wellteachers are using technology, differentiatinginstruction, or following up onstudent interventions, Guhlin says. A nd now this information can be stored,analyzed, and aggregated to evaluate performance on an individual, building,or district level. Larger districts too big for their own number crunching can get more-sophisticated analysis through third-party vendors. The downside, though, is that these applications are pricey, averaging a $200 to $300 one time fee per user, and some vendors charge per student instead of per user.
  • Another step forward, Guhlin says,is that data can be retrieved wirelesslywithout plugging into a network. Data are always current, unlike the situationa few years ago, when they were updated only overnight. Now real-time data are uploaded at a district's datawarehouse or a third-party hosted application, such as Eduphoria orMedia-X, directly to a handheld device."Transparency is the goal," Guhlin says."We want to support teachers but hold them accountable."
  • Scott Floyd, instructional technologist in the White Oak(TX) ISD , says his district usesWi-Fi–embedded iPads for phone calls over the district's VOIP network using the Acrobat application. District administrators also use iPads to do performance evaluations, access student data, and share videos during staff meetings. White Oak previously experimented with HP IPAQ netbooks and Apple iPod touches but liked the iPad the best. "The iPad is faster and has a biggerkeyboard and a longer battery life,and rapidly earned its ROI in saved time," Floyd says.
  • * Smaller districts, like White Oak,according to Guhlin, are often morenimble and open to innovating technology than larger districts, where deployments cost more and morestakeholders weigh in on proposals.As for the future, Guhlin predicts that savvy districts will begin to use mobile devices for community outreach, such as showing residents what the schoolsare doing by posting photos, videos,and podcasts about events to their Web sites as soon as they occur.Further down the road, Guhlin anticipatesthat simple, affordable videoconferencingequipment will enable administrators to converse with one anotherand/or broadcast on the fly. The challenge,he says, will be supporting all these devices from different vendors.


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