Tech Integrator’s Improvement Plan: You Need a Needs Assessment

Photo by Bilal Kamoom

I’m starting this post with a caveat- it’s not about what I have done so much as what I SHOULD have done. I’ve been an integrator for a long time but continue to evolve.

The last post was about tying your plan to a framework. I chose to align my plan to 21st century skills. I outlined 3 categories I wanted to work with.

In past years, I would have set about busily setting up trainings to address each of them. Need to communicate with parents? How about a webpage? And off we’d go learning to use Google Sites or Weebly. Teachers loved it, created websites, and then barely updated them. Why? No connection to the bigger picture.

In the instructional design world, there is a simple model called ADDIE. It stands for Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement, and Evaluate. It’s a tried and true model that works quite well. Unfortunately,  I historically have used the DIE model- Develop content based on what I think my learners should know, Implement that content using tools I think they need, and Evaluate the outcome of the training based on how happy everyone was in said training. The acronym speaks for itself.

ADDIE is  what most good teachers do when they develop learning opportunities. The difference in this situation is that in the K-12 classroom, the curriculum dictates what the students’ learning needs are- at least for content. In the integration realm, the needs of the learner are more central. The content must be customized to meet their needs.

When your audience is teachers, you must use the whole model. Your plan needs to start with a needs assessment. I used a simple GoogleForm. The results are shared in the link. I encourage you to take a look- it’s not a BAD plan but it could be improved.

In developing a needs assessment for this group, I confused things a bit. I addressed the 21st century skills in about half the questions. In the other half, I made assumptions about the teachers’ needs and went directly to the tools available. A better way to do this would have been to craft questions that directly addressed the larger CONCEPTS- communication, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking- and then, in a follow up survey, determine more concrete training needs.

For example, I was on target with the questions about communicating with parents and staff. Ditto with the questions about collaboration. I went off base when I jumped right into IWB’s and Discovery Ed. These topics are relevant, but I did nothing to connect them to the bigger picture. A better way to attack this would have been to ask something like “I’d like to learn more about ways to effectively use digital tools, including video and audio, in the classroom.”  From here we could branch into the pedagogy, tools and topics that fall into this category.

I’d still use the ranking format I used in the original survey. It serves two purposes- determines who your building experts are in different categories, and lets you see where the strengths and weaknesses lie within a staff.

Next up: Check and Adjust


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s