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Should Schools Be Asking Teachers To Self Assess Their Tech Skills And If So … what Would That Look Like?

Technology Self-Assessment Blog Post

Welcome back to a new school year! In order to personalize professional learning for your teachers, one of the first things to do is assess the skills of staff members. But that isn’t the only time. There are plenty of opportunities where a simple survey can yield great results.  The question that often comes up is “what should a technology self assessment look like?”

In this post, we will look at different types of staff surveys and learn why they work … why they don’t … and how you can create one that works for your particular school district and staff. While you are here, don't forget to download a free copy of our Instructional Technology Self Assessment below.

What should your survey look like?

How you design your survey can play an important role in how your teachers will respond to the survey, as well as the type of information you will be able to assess. There are a variety of tools readily accessible to be able to create a survey that meets your needs. A few of the popular choices include:

  • Google Forms–  make basic to more in-depth surveys that will afford you enough opportunity to customize the look, the question type, and the response data, through graphs and spreadsheets.
  • Google Drawings (as seen above) – make interactive surveys that get right to the point, giving your teachers an opportunity to express their needs in a more visual way.
  • Survey Monkey – easy to create customizable surveys from form templates.
  • TypeForm – online platform that feels more like an application with a modern interface to create surveys or more form-based content.
  • Surveygizmo – create surveys but analyze the results through more evaluative tools.

Each of the can be used to assess your staff and gather the necessary feedback needed to build your professional development plan. Whatever you decide, consider these questions as focal points:

  • What is it you really want to find out via the survey?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • What will the survey offer you as a means to solving an issue?
  • What is the best way to assess your staff? What are they comfortable using?

When… and How to Survey Our Teachers

There are many times when surveying your teachers can provide you with the necessary feedback needed to truly personalize professional development for your school.

One key moment to survey your teachers is prior to the end of the school year and before they head out for summer. This is key in giving you the required time to analyze the data and design a PD plan for the following year that meets the needs of your respective teachers. I try to limit these types of surveys to twice a year (once at the end of the school year to plan for the next, and once prior to winter break to make an adjustment and hit on things I may have missed).

Another great time to survey teachers is after a workshop. Give your teachers a few minutes at the end of a workshop an opportunity to assess the knowledge and skills they have attained during your session. By doing this, you will be able to gather whether you need to run a second session, who was able to accomplish the task or attain the skill and decipher the varying levels each of your teachers may be at. Plus, this will give you much-needed information into how to adjust your workshop for the next time.

Download Our FREE Google Drawing Technology Self-Assessment!

Don’t Get Frustrated with Low Turnout of Surveys

It happens to the best of us. Teachers are inundated with email and often forget to respond to digital surveys. It happens. Find ways to best mitigate the low turnout for next time. Some things I have done in the past include:

  • embedding the Google Form survey into the email.
  • making the survey part of a weekly tech tip or monthly newsletter.
  • sending the survey out within our LMS.

However, none of these will guarantee every teacher responding. The only thing we can control is limiting the number of clicks it takes to get to the survey and how long it will take them to complete it, both of which can go a long way in getting your teachers to respond. And if they don’t? No sweat!

Gather what these teachers need and plan accordingly. If one teacher expresses an interest in something, understand that there are others who feel the same. Use this to your advantage. Work with these teachers and then use their accomplishments as a means to get other teachers to work with. In due time, they will express their specific needs as well and you should see your turnout rise.

What can data show us?

Once you gather your teacher feedback, it is time to analyze the results. The data you receive will help provide you with ways in which to modify your professional development plan including:

  • the times you run workshops
  • the specific needs of your teachers
  • where to focus your attention
  • the formats that work best for your school

Use these answers, connect them to your building or district goals, and develop initiatives that steer teachers in the direction needed. Use the results to keep your teachers informed about resources that connect to their needs, upcoming PD opportunities, tech tips (check out our post on this here), and to help them create a personalized PD plan. Overall, the data you take away will provide you with a foundation with which to respond to you teachers needs by facilitating training and resources they have requested.

How do you assess the technology skills of your staff members?

Are you currently assessing the technology skills of your teachers? We would love to hear from you and get ideas for future blog posts and podcasts to showcase our community.  Please leave a message below sharing your story, or perhaps share a link to your survey/assessment.

Do you have any questions? Just “Ask the Tech Coach”

Did you know that we have a fantastic podcast dedicated to all things Tech Coaching?  Check out our show Ask the Tech Coach today and subscribe to it on your favorite podcast player.

About the author, Nick Amaral

Nick Amaral is a District Staff Development Coordinator in NJ. As a dedicated educator, he is known for implementing technology and differentiating instruction in the classroom. In addition to teaching, he has been responsible for supporting teachers’ understanding and seamless integration of technology in the classroom, as well as designing engaging and thought-provoking professional learning opportunities that meet the needs of all teachers to help to create student-centered learning experiences.