Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tapping Into Technology

With the rise of mobile devices and tablets in the classroom, I’m finding so many examples of organizations that are capitalizing on these tools to create new resources for teachers and students. I was recently introduced to an education reform model called TAP: The System for Teacher and Student Advancement that is making really great use of the tablet and mobile platforms to provide teachers with better access to teacher resources with an iPhone or iPad app.

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Founded in 1999 by education philanthropist Lowell Milken, The TAP system is working in public schools across the country to provide teachers with greater means for professional development, more effective uses of student and teacher evaluation data, and creating career opportunities that enhance instruction and learning within their schools while remaining in the classroom by creating positions like mentor teachers and master teachers.  These mentor and master teachers observe other teachers and lead reflective meetings about how to improve student performance based on data they’ve collected in evaluations. You can find more information about TAP here.

Recently the organization announced the creation of a TAP “app” called the tapObserver app. Teachers can download the app onto their iPhones or iPads and to access evaluation forms, rubrics, lesson tracking and several other forms specific to the program model. The app enhances the TAP system evaluation process by helping evaluators (principals, master and mentor teachers) more efficiently and accurately collect evidence during a classroom observation. It is a powerful tool for providing evaluation feedback and support more quickly and thoroughly to improve teacher practice.

Web-based tools like this are such a great addition to the classroom, giving teachers the ability to streamline their workload, gauge and adapt to student performance, and make the most out of every lesson. Hopefully we will see other education programs will develop similar apps like this. If you use any apps like this in your school, I'd love to hear about it.

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