The following account was taken from or course site; I will respond to the question that follows.

Recently, I was talking with three exceptional education teachers at a technology conference. These three colleagues described their classrooms to me. They invited me to visit. So I did.

I went into several classrooms. I approached one of the teachers and asked, “What are you doing?” “I’m teaching reading,” he replied.

Then I asked another teacher, “What are you doing?” “I’m showing these students how to have good study skills,” she said.

Then, I asked the third teacher, “What are you doing?” The woman put down her pen and said, “I’m helping all my students achieve their maximum potential in academics and social skills so that when they go out into the world they will be magnificent contributors.”

Now, all three of these teachers had the same job, but only the last teacher had vision. She could see beyond the daily grind of teaching and see her students contributing mightily to our society. In our lives and in our jobs, sometimes it’s hard for us to stay focused on the larger vision, to rise above the mundane, above the day-to-day.

In history, special people had that vision, one that has benefited us all. In my own work, I too sometimes get caught up in the details of the the daily grind. I go to meetings, read reports, and talk to colleagues. But there are times when the big picture is as clear as day, when I feel truly connected to issues and ideas much larger than myself, larger than any job, larger than any single organization.

How is this story related to EDTECH 505 and, more specifically, to the readings for this week? Do you have to have vision to be a successful evaluator? How does vision fit with choosing the most appropriate evaluation model for a particular program?

I understand this vision very well as an educator, even though I, too, get bogged down in daily tasks.  One of the main reasons I am studying EdTech is because I think it is the best way to prepare myself for the future of education.  The course work has revealed to me the importance of transferring digital literacy and virtual awareness to my students, empowering them as 21st Century learners.  However, applying this vision to the role and process of evaluation is a new challenge for me.

The readings of this week focused on selecting the right evaluation model for a project.  Though not all models are mentioned, several are discussed with details of their advantages and disadvantages.  In any evaluated program there are many variables to consider.  Focusing on each variable requires detailed attention.  Some models require that the evaluator is present through the process and even provides input with regard to the variables; this supports the overall goal because the “big picture” examines each variable closely.  In this case the system variables depend on each other for efficiency, and this affects the “big picture”.  However, not all evaluation models require this type of analysis. In other words, the variables are not entirely dependent on each other.  In education, it is easy to focus on the variables that we perceive to benefit or hinder a program, thus reflecting positively or negatively on the evaluation.  In reality, the benefits of an educational experience are vast, and they are not always seen during the period of an evaluation.  An example of this is the popular account of Albert Einstein as a school boy: bored, unengaged, underachiever, not the ideal participant in a program being evaluated.  However, somewhere along the way a spark of inspiration led him down the path that helped him to change the world.  Unfortunately, the opposite can be true of a poor educational experience and its long standing impact; these participants eventually  either overcome, persevere, fade away into the history of the world, or achieve some level of infamy.

In my evaluation project I believe that I am considering the big picture.  This is my second year with this group of students, but I know my time with them is coming to an end.  I believe the program can benefit them beyond the time that I am there.  The purpose of the evaluation is to account for the results in such a way that the torch can be passed along to next educational chaperone.  With regards to my current role, the downside is that I am close enough to the action that I may have a tendency to focus on the variables.  I will need to account for these variables in the evaluation, since the stakeholders will be interested in the overall impact, but in reality the variables are not completely dependent on each other.  Therefore, my vision will be challenged, not only by focusing on the variables in the program implementation, but also by my bias of the program itself.

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