Two weeks ago, we started to explore the key components behind a successful digital transformation. In Pt. 1, we focused on the foundation of every digital transformation – Lead it. Last week in Pt. 2 we emphasized professional learning as a key piece of Support it. In this third and final week, we’ll explore facets of Evaluate it. As mentioned in Pt. 1, while these components are presented in a linear fashion, the process of digital transformation is recursive and never ending. The challenge of digital transformation is balancing and addressing all three components simultaneously on some level – Lead it. Support it. Evaluate it.
There are many reasons you will want to evaluate your digital transformation: to understand how and where teaching and learning are evolving, to determine if the financial investment is paying off, to measure progress toward meeting project goals, and to support shifting action plans with data. To best support your efforts to evaluate your transformation, you’ll want to focus on two areas: (1) adopting an evaluation framework or process; (2) using the results to move your transformation to the next level.
Your evaluation framework
As a result of monitoring our digital transformation for several years, we developed a framework to help guide us through the process of evaluation and assessment. Our framework includes the following:
- What are the goals of the transformation? Goals are too often overlooked! What are you working for? What changes in teaching and learning do you want to see in the classroom? Clearly identify these so everyone is clear on where the work is heading.
- Who is your audience? Decide who needs to know about the progress of your digital transformation. Community, school board, teachers, parents, taxpayers? This is important to know since it will guide you in your data collection, analysis and reporting.
- What data will you collect? When answering this question, think about your goals and the data sources that will be most helpful in demonstrating progress. We’ve used a variety of tools to collect a robust sample of data throughout the school year: classroom walkthrough protocol; parent, student and teacher surveys; stories of teaching and learning; honor roll and GPA data; and commercial tools such as the Apple Educational Technology Profile, Apple Educational Leadership Profile and BrightBytes Clarity survey.
- How will you analyze the data? Ideally, analysis of the data, especially if you have lots of it, should be a collaborative effort. The group should aim to identify strengths and challenges. We have started working with principals to use a data protocol for data analysis and engaging conversations with building leadership teams.
- How will you share the results? Think about your audience. Will you share at faculty meetings (teachers), school board meetings (school board) and/or on a public web site (community, parents and taxpayers). We have shared the results of our assessment/evaluation at the building level, at school board meetings and on the web.
The most valuable outcome of an evaluation is a snapshot of the transformation at a particular moment in time. The snapshot is what helps determine the evolution of the transformation and how to navigate the changing landscape of “college and career readiness.” As a result of our careful assessment and evaluation, here’s “What’s next?” for us:
- Action Research – We want to see more transformational learning opportunities in our classrooms (as defined by SAMR). The questions driving our inquiry are (1) What are the critical factors of success for our teachers who are creating transformational learning experiences?; (2) What factors of success can district and school leaders foster? We have interviewed teachers and will be reporting out on this project in December. We foresee this action research having significant implications for our work in the first area presented in this series, Lead it.
- Innovate Salisbury – Thinking long term, we know that we need to explore the “uncommon dots” in education – those ways of “doing” teaching and learning that are not yet common in schools and classrooms – and embedding relevant and appropriate innovations into our vision for teaching and learning. We are currently working with a group of 15 teachers to explore the “uncommon dots.” This exploration will result in a more clearly defined vision for our classrooms in 2020 and the outcomes for our ongoing digital transformation.
For me, there are two important takeaways on the component of evaluation in a digital transformation:
- Every digital transformation should have clearly defined goals and a plan to document progress toward those goals. Taken together, clear goals and a plan for evaluation are the rudder of an effective digital transformation.
- Evaluation and assessment require a significant investment of human resources, particularly in the area of time. However, the data collected and results shared will be invaluable in informing the short-term and long-term vision of the initiative.
How has the evaluation/assessment process informed your school/district digital transformation – long-term and short-term? What process have you followed? What have you learned from evaluating your initiative? What are your next steps?