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Efficacy in Digital Learning

SHARED POST: This article published on Eric Sheninger’s Blog: A Principal’s Reflection.

As a principal, the buck stopped with me. I was reminded of this by numerous superintendents during my tenure as a school leader. However, when we began moving forward with our digital transformation one particular superintendent asked me point blank what evidence I had that actually supported our claims that new equated to better. This not only stopped me in my tracks, but that moment in time provided the grounding that my school and I really needed. For change to really be embraced by all stakeholders it is critical that we just don’t tell and claim that improvement is occurring, but that we also show.

Accountability matters and is a reality in our work. We are accountable first and foremost to our learners. As a supporter of the purposeful use of technology and innovative practices, I had to illustrate how effective these strategies were at improving learning. Statements and claims didn’t cut it and this was more than fair. It was at this time where the term efficacy kept finding its way into the conversation and my head. In the real world of education efficacy matters and it is important that this is part of the larger conversation when it comes to digital. It is a word that, in my opinion, has to be a part of our daily vocabulary and practice. Simply put, efficacy is the degree to which desired outcomes and goals are achieved. Applying this concept to digital learning can go a long way to solidifying the use of technology as an established practice, not just a frill or add-on. The journey to efficacy begins and ends with the intended goal in mind and a strong pedagogical foundation. Adding technology or new ideas without this in place will more than likely not result in achieving efficacy. The Rigor Relevance Framework provides schools and educators with a checks and balance system by providing a common language for all, creating a culture around a common vision, and establishing a critical lens through which to examine curriculum, instruction, and assessment.

Author

Eric Sheninger (@E_Sheninger): Eric is a Senior Fellow and Thought Leader on Digital Leadership and Learning with the International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE). He is also a 2018 MACUL Conference Featured Speaker. Prior to this he was the award-winning Principal at New Milford High School. Under his leadership his school became a globally recognized model for innovative practices. Eric oversaw the successful implementation of several sustainable change initiatives that radically transformed the learning culture at his school while increasing achievement.

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