Conditions of employment

Following up on yesterday’s post, many school districts have taken great care to define the essential duties and responsibilities of employees’ jobs (typically for legal, rather than educational, purposes). For example, here are job descriptions for a teacher and a principal:

  • Teacher (East Otero School District, CO)
  • Principal (Bryan Independent School District, TX)

How many of you work in a school or district that has clearly and explicitly outlined technology usage expectations for teachers and/or administrators in its job descriptions? Should a school organization do this? If so, how might such expectations be worded?

See also

1 year ago:
Future of learning manifesto

11 Responses to “Conditions of employment”

  1. There should be a delicate balance between the business/legal end of school and the education end. Unfortunately the scales are tipped greatly in favor of the legal end.
    (Should mental evaluations be mandatory for teachers??? Stay out of the news!)

    At my district we are beginning the process of tech comp expectations, but there are many stakeholders that need to be involved. We are starting with an attempt to bring together union and admin to recognize the importance of change. Well aware of the crucial role parents and students play we would then reach out to them for input. We would follow with a curricular re-alignment allowing ample time and opportunity for trainings.

    Easy right? 🙂 Maybe we are making this more complicated than it actually is, but adding tech competency really is a new vision for the entire district. Teachers and equipment will get moved around. Career decisions will have to be made by or for some people. It will take some time and there are definitely going to be ruffled feathers; however, in the end we see an unbroken line of education/communication from K-12.

    That is a monumental task.

    It would make a great reality show. Call me, well talk.

  2. Our school district has built expectations into the administrative evaluation, but have yet to do so with teachers.

    Here is the language for the three discussion points of our administrator evaluation (these apply to central office and building administrators):

    1. Facilitate the use of technologies to support and enhance instructional methods that develop higher-level thinking, decision-making, and problem-solving skills.

    2. Assist teachers in using technology to access, analyze, and interpret student performance data, and in using results to appropriately design, assess, and modify student instruction.

    3. Ensure that budget priorities reflect an understanding of the total cost of ownership concept and focus on technology and its relationships to enhanced learning and teaching.

    These become part of an ongoing conversation (formative) and, in-part, summative of a year’s recap and reflection during the evaluation process for administrators (we use a modified 360 evaluation where I contribute to the evaluations of the technology component and they in turn contribute to components of my administrative evaluation).

  3. scott, ISTE has adaptations of these for various admin positions which could be molded into the common descriptions.

    District Program Director Profile on the NETS*A site:
    …with corresponding scenarios

    Principal Profile:

    Superintendent Profile:

    …each with scenarios

    there is also a great resource from ISTE: Electronic Briefcase for Admins… nice templates for technology supported lesson planning and observations of tech lessons..

    how is that XO lesson development coming?
    cheers to the cyclones…(

  4. The Art of Telling Humans and Computers Apart…

    verification on this site once a post is made reminded me of a great Wired Science episode talking about Captchas

  5. As a teacher, I don’t mind saying that I think any teacher should be able to communicate electronically – send and receive email, etc. And they should be willing to do it. Considering the value of the Internet as a research tool, I think they should be able to find things online and present them to students in an appealing, meaningful way.

    Should they be able to use an electronic grade book? I think so. Should they be able to create a PowerPoint, use a SmartBoard, plug in an ELMO? I think, yes.

    Let’s face it, it’s the information age. Those skills have become essential to life. How do you run a classroom without them? The question is not rhetorical; you do it in a manner that fails to prepare students for the future…

  6. I noticed right off neither of the links you gave contained the tech qualifications within them (one from my state of Texas where we require tech proficiency for recertification for certain certifications). It should be a very easy thing to add since they stay pretty general with all other statements. Why not one like this:
    Willing and able to pass technology proficiency assessments based on qualifications as deemed appropriate by the district and the state for the assigned position.

    Why can that one not work? It leaves the district and the state the opportunity to change the qualifications and the assessment at appropriate times. Sort of falls under the any and all other duties deal, but I think it draws attention to the fact that they need to be prepared to face the evaluation on tech skills at any time. If they fear technology, then they should not apply for the job of teaching kids of today. Can they be effective as teachers still? Probably. Will the students miss out on important job and life skills due to the lack of technology integration? I would say yes. They need to use the tools they will use to manipulate the data once they leave the classroom.

  7. I asked this question a while back ( and got no response. So I’m reading the comments here with interest, and hope for more.
    I have a slight problem with highlighting the technology component and making it a special part of the role that a teacher plays. To me its all about learning and the teacher’s role is to facilitate that by engaging the students in the most effective manner. I think an awareness of the alternatives is important and quite often lacking. Hence many teachers (not all) simply use the method(s) they are most comfortable with. I try to focus their attention on the needs of the kids, rather than what makes the teacher comfortable. That’s usually where the trouble starts.

    Here in New South Wales there is a move towards accrediting teachers,and the NSW Teacher’s Institute expect;

    Knowledge of information and communication technologies (ICT) in the following areas:

    • Basic operational Skills
    • Information technology skills
    • Software evaluation skills
    • Effective use of the internet
    • Pedagogical skills for classroom management

    and in their teaching strategies

    • Demonstrate current knowledge and proficiency in the use of ICT:

    • Use a range of teaching strategies and resources including ICT and other technologies to foster interest and support learning.

    They then vary the depth of the role expectations according to various bands from Graduate to Competent to Accomplished to Leader.

    The full document is available from

    It may add to the discussion, but I’d be interested in your and your readers views

  8. In the state of Virginia, to hold a teaching license, you must have passed what we call TSIP (Technology Standards for Instructional Personnel).

    Each district within the state can interpret these standards specifically to what we have and use (i.e., the specific type of student information system, productivity software, etc.).

    Each time a teacher goes through a renewal process for licesensure, we must evaluate them along these standards.

  9. Either of the job descriptions that you provide have verbage (efficient communications, etc) that ought to cover the use of technology. We don’t after all have special clauses to cover the ability to use the telephone or NCR paper or read a clock.

    On the other hand–it is not so much the job description that governs what is possible–it’s the contract. In my district the contract is longer than Moby Dick and the union feels that they have a job well done if they come out of every negotiation with a few new chapters.

    It’s what is either in, or believed to be in, the contract (which nobody has the time to actually read through) that is frequently a barrier. Even such things as providing the needed training to use technology are hampered by the fact that the contract gives teachers the right to choose their own professional development.

  10. I think it’s interesting that many of the comments have said that technology does not need to be explicitly made a part of educators’ contracts, even though many other things are in there (and for a good reason!)…

  11. Yes, teachers should be able to use a SmartBoard and plug in an ELMO, but that shouldn’t be expected to happen until they actually have one and are able to use it a few times to learn how. . . and they (the teachers) shouldn’t have to write a grant to get one. The school district should provide it just like they should other “necessities” for teaching and learning.

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