CORE Education was commissioned by the New Zealand Ministry of Education to develop the Educational Positioning System (EPS) for teachers to use to self-evaluate their use of ICTs with classes.
Just as a GPS (Global Positioning System) is an online tool for finding out where one is geographically, the EPS was an online tool for New Zealand teachers to find out ‘where they are at’ in terms of integrating ICTs for student learning.
The tool was developed as part of a three year study on how teachers judge benefit or value in teaching and learning activities which involve the use of new digital technologies (computers, digital cameras, personal digital assistants (PDAs), cell phones, the Internet, and the like).
The aims of the EPS were to:
- help teachers and schools self-evaluate ‘where they are at’ in terms of effective ICT integration
- foster reflective thinking in teachers about the integration of ICTs
- provide an evidence base for school policy on teacher development in ICTs and broader ICT policy decision-making.
The tool was based on the finding of the research that teachers evaluate their integration of ICTs using five key indicators or criteria. These were:
- The extent to which any ICT-based learning activities are clearly linked to desired curriculum objectives.
- The extent of appropriate challenge, thinking, and student engagement involved in the activities.
- The extent to which school infrastructure, organisation, and resourcing supports or inhibits effective student use of ICTs for learning.
- The extent to which the use of ICTs is ‘taken for granted’ in the activities.
- The degree of ‘pedagogical coherence’ inherent in the activities. (In other words, the extent to which the activities are coherent with a teachers’ own pedagogical beliefs and relevant to the particular learning needs and styles of individual students).
Unlike many other such evaluation tools on the integration of ICTs, the EPS did not rate teachers’ performance with a ‘score’ or ‘level’ at the end. Instead, it provided feedback in the form a ‘map’. Teachers then used this as a conceptual framework to guide reflection, discussion, and self-evaluation in their own particular school and teaching contexts.
Note: The EPS site was designed to be used as part of an extended teacher workshop on ICT integration. It was not intended to be a stand-alone self-evaluation activity done in isolation from such a workshop.