Jack Dorsey is a person that every 21st Century School Leader should honor and memorialize. Mr. Dorsey created the most important evaluation tool for administrators in evaluating teachers in this 21st Century...Twitter. Specifically, the concept of the 140 character message for use among truck drivers for reporting in to their central dispatcher.
This concept has mushroomed and grown into the most phenomenal social media tool since Facebook, eMail, and the Pony Express. With over 200 million users in 2011 with 1.6 billion search inquiries per day, Twitter is a phenomenon that educators cannot avoid noticing.
Imagine using the twitter tweet of 140 characters as an observation feedback statement, not for publicizing on the Internet!
One of the three most important things we do as educational leaders is to hire, mentor, and tenure the faculty that works with students in our schools. Assuming we have hired the right people for the teaching jobs, the next most crucial step is to mentor the teacher-probies and guide them along the way.
Evaluating teachers requires the paper-laden tome of written formal observations, with all of it's pre-ob, ob, and post-ob symmetry that Madeline Hunter, Charlotte Danielson and Robert Marzano and many others would be proud of. But, I contend that another tool for measuring and assessing teacher effectiveness is the informal observation, or the "drive by" observation as I like to refer to it. It's a great technique for on the spot observation and a look-see of how the teacher really manages the challenge of daily instructional routines.
This is where being able to "tweet" feedback in 140 to 280 character comments might be beneficial for the things going on with the teacher. And if you have ever tried Twitter, than you know the challenge of the 140 character tweet.
I have experimented with this technique this past year as a school superintendent. My goal is to visit faculty at all of our schools at least twice a year, and the "drive by" informal evaluation is a way that I find convenient to stay in touch with the instructional program and to know our faculty.
140 to 280 character comments force evaluators to be succinct, focused and provide feedback that is more direct and more assistive in getting the teacher information. Writing short tweets is a challenge, though. Unless an evaluator develops a style for tweeting feedback that is helpful, it can become most frustrating.
Using the Twitter.com counter will assist your training for the 140 character tweet, while the 280daily.com app will do the same thing with a range of 280 characters.
Here are some samples:
Example #1- 140 Feedback Tweet
This was a very good lesson. The students were motivated and following your instruction. Try varying your questions more. Nice job overall.
Example #2- 280 Feedback Tweet
This was a very good lesson. The students were motivated and following your instruction. Try varying your questions more. Challenge other students with ideas. Careful not to jump too quickly from one idea to the next. Nice job overall. Follow up with me later and we can discuss.
Example #3- 140 Feedback Tweet
Stopped by to see how things were going. I have some concerns about the lesson. Class seems very unfocused. I think we need to talk. Call.
Example #4- 280 Feedback Tweet
Stopped by to see how things were going. I have some concerns about the lesson. Class seems very unfocused. Your plan may be the problem. Activities were not varied enough, or the objective was too vague. Let's get together and discuss this soon. Call me on your free period.
Obviously, the 280 Feedback Tweet allows room to expound, but the direct message it conveys gets to the point and takes the temperature of the classroom situation.
Tweets are also portable and can be emailed to faculty immediately.
Explore the beauty of tweeting and mentoring.