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Tech Tip: Use student work to evaluate ed-tech initiatives

2 min read


All education initiatives, including those that involve technology, should be assessed by the impact they have on student learning. A good way to do this is by using student work as the measuring stick for success and efficacy.

My district, Gurnee District 56 in Illinois, has a program called “Tech Trek,” designed to encourage teachers to improve their technology skills. With Tech Trek, teachers can earn certification badges by creating higher-level SAMR lessons that aim to produce measurable gains in student learning. The system uses a game format in which teachers submit student work that demonstrates improved learning as a result of the new lesson design. The student work is then used to evaluate the teacher’s mastery of the newly-acquired technology skill.

The program has been a great success. Teachers are now motivated to seek additional technology training.

As you review programs for implementation, consider how you can use student work as an evaluation tool. Student work can draw a clear line to learning outcomes and serve as a fair, tangible way to measure program efficacy.

Dr. John Hutton has served as the superintendent at Gurnee School District 56 in Illinois for eight years. He was one of 100 superintendents to be invited to a White House Summit in November 2014 as part of the national campaign to make all schools Future Ready. In March, he was named by the NSBA as one of the 20 educational leaders to watch in 2015.  Gurnee School District 56 received the Apple Distinguished Program award in November of 2013.


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