eWalkThrough Fuel

The latest on eWT from Dr. Gillespie

From the CEO...

Welcome! to the fourth edition of the quarterly communique, "eWalkThrough Fuel!" If student success is the destination, education is the engine and eWalkthrough is the fuel.


The team at Southwest Plains Regional Service Center is committed to continually supporting teachers in the effort to deliver excellent instruction. As professional learning is designed and implemented to support this vision, it is absolutely essential that student success remain the center of all our endeavors.


The powerful data generated by implementing the digital eWalkThrough system provide immediate feedback for decision making. Ultimately, these data provide a consistent and reliable fuel for the education engine--for delivery of excellent instruction and ultimately, for increased student learning.


Because walkthrough observation has such potential as a catalyst to support both excellent instruction and a positive shift in learning (Walk-through as Powerful, n.d.), this process is quickly establishing itself as best practice (Hopkins, 2010; David, 2008). When real-time observation data are collected and analyzed, they become a powerful source of fuel to support self-reflection and collaborative conversation. The final results are clear (Protheroe, 2009). Program initiatives are actualized. Instructional strategies improve. Student success increases.


Expect the eWalkThrough Fuel quarterly from Dr. Kelly Gillespie, CEO of Southwest Plains Regional Service Center. Our professional learning team is dedicated to the design of innovative solutions which will deliver results for your staff and your students.

eWT Fuel - Volume 1 Number 4

Completing observations of real-time, live instruction is a powerful source of data for university, district, and program or building leaders. It is also a powerful source of data for educators, as well. These data can be utilized to support instructional conversations and are invaluable as leaders and educators alike begin to self-reflect on professional practice. In fact, eWalkThrough data are likely the most powerful source of data available to support continuous and authentic improvement of instruction.

eWalkThrough: What is it?

Classroom eWalkThrough is the process of observing educators in action. eWalkThrough is the observation of teachers conducting their work---the delivery of instruction to students---on a minute-by-minute basis.


These observations should be conducted by observers trained in both the philosophy of the process and the functionality of the digital tool. Additionally, it is absolutely necessary that observers be calibrated regarding the specific data points in the tool content. eWalkThrough observations are conducted around an intentionally designed set of "look-for's."


These "look-for's" are the priorities and initiatives of the system (district, institution of higher education, technical college, etc.) in question. These "look-for's" become the data points that support the system in a variety of functions including the decision-making, instructional conversations and self-reflection, and in a continuous cycle of improvement.

eWalkThrough: How Can the Data Be Used?

eWalkThrough data are powerful. These data (both quantitative and qualitative) have a wealth of research-based uses, of immediate and practical applications, and can fulfill functions not yet realized as educational systems move forward in the 21st century. Simply put, these data describe what is; therefore, the data also become the fuel to answer questions regarding what can be. eWalkThrough data are then usable in an endless variety of both efficient and effective situations, including:


  • Building and district leaders OR program and college/university administrators often utilize cumulative eWalkThrough data to describe the state of instruction within a program OR across an entire district/college.
  • eWalkThrough data are commonly utilized by administrative teams to provide insights and capture priorities regarding the professional learning needs of both faculty and staff.
  • The eWalkThrough data may be used (in total or in selected, disaggregated sets) to initiate professional conversations and then to coach and mentor individual instructors, instructional teams, or departments.
  • These same eWalkThrough data (aggregate or disaggregated by topic or initiative) are effective when utilized for self-reflection by educators as they consider professional practice.



"Professional reflection is self-focused meditation that includes visualizing where you are, where you have been, and where you might go...In striving to become a better practitioner, you must move from intelligent assessments of where you are at present to reflect on how to use past and future strategies to realize planned change." (www.sagepublication.com)

eWalkThrough Data: Evidence for KESA Accreditation

A new opportunity to leverage the potential of eWalkThrough data has recently emerged. As the process for Kansas Education System Accreditation (KESA) is being redesigned (www.ksde.org), it is apparent that yet another function of the eWalkThrough data will be its use as powerful evidence for district accreditation. These data will assist with progress monitoring and with the attainment of system goals (not the least of which is increased student success!).


The customized eWalkThrough can be designed such that "look for's" are aligned to KESA goals. Because eWalkThrough data are stored digitally within the tool, progress toward selected instructional goals can be accessed at any point in time. A strategic administrative vision includes use of the eWalkThrough data as KESA accreditation evidence. eWalkThrough data leveraged to move district accreditation forward--that's leadership in action!

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CASE STUDY

After District X completed the required needs assessment for the KESA process, one of two identified district goals (based on eWalkThrough data) was, "To increase the incidence and quality of differentiation in instruction across all content areas and grade levels within the district."


Using the digital eWalkThrough system, the district and buildings disaggregated the eWalkThrough data by individual teacher, by grade level, by content area, by professional learning community, and by building. District X utilized the data to identify those educators or content areas/grade levels that needed specific and targeted support in differentiated instruction. District and building leaders were able to refine professional learning needs and provide focused support in differentiated instruction.

OUTCOME

Design of professional learning was in, and of itself, differentiated. Objective(s) and intended outcome(s) were very, very precise for various disaggregated groups of teachers across the district. Progress toward that end was measured by on-going observation and data collection--by individual observation, by semester, and by year. District X experienced significant, measurable progress toward the goal of increased instructional differentiation. eWalkThrough data confirmed that progress.


[NOTE: The digital eWalkThrough system is also applicable to support accreditation systems within higher education and to generate the data required by said policies. (policy.hlcommision.org)]

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