Wicked Cool Evidence Gathering. The Digital Principal, Part 2.

digprinc2In November, I gave a presentation (the presentation resources are to be found here) to a packed room row at Vermont Fest, the fall conference of Vita-Learn (Vermont Information Technology Association for the Advancement of Learning – VITA-Learn).


(For the rest of the introduction and a summary of the first part

of the presentation, please read part ONE.)

So, here is part TWO of my three-part summary.

My presentation continued with an explanation of my system for teacher evaluation. This is always a hot topic with principals. We are forever evaluating teachers. There are pre-observation meetings, observations, and post-observation meetings. We give volumes of feedback, but does it usually actually improve learning? Maybe. So much of the feedback we give is our observation married to our knowledge of our evaluation model (my district uses Charlotte Danielson’s Framework for Teaching, there are so many good ones out there).


The real feedback that might be useful is

the observations themselves, the direct evidence, the “proof.” So, I have created borrowed stolen this method of writing feedback and combining it with photographic evidence. I learned of this at the first EdCamp Vermont in April, 2012, from Mike Berry (Mike actually gave this idea to a room full of us).


The way it works is simple. On my iPad, I write notes in Notability. Taking advantage of the iPad’s camera, I shoot a few pictures of the scene. I try to take a photo of something I think worthy of comment. While I am writing, I am also thinking. Sometimes, I change the pen color and add a question or a highlight.

I end up with a page or two of hand-written notes with photos.


The secret to making this

work for formal observations is the bottom of the page (not visible on the slide here. Instead, click here for the resources and find the sample observation pdf). The text from Danielson’s

domains 2 & 3 is there with room to make specific claims. Usually, as the observation goes on, I begin to take what I’ve seen and write about it in the Danielson section. At the end of the observation, I review those parts of Danielson that are blank to try to remember something seen that could fit well.

I usually sit in the room for five minutes after the lesson ends to wrap this up. Then, I send the whole thing as pdf to the teacher. Right then, on the spot. By the time we have a post-observation meeting, the teacher has already had a chance to read my notes and main points of feedback. We can spend the time talking.

The system is quick, easy, and techy. Using Notability and iPad along with Danielson, meets the contract and my need to an easy to use system. 

Wicked cool.


cross-posted from Principal’s Point of View


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