Teaching Evaluation: A Game for Improving School Leadership Practice

Rich Halverson, Moses Wolfenstein, Dan Norton

In this discussion session, you will have the opportunity to see and play the current iteration of Teaching Evaluation while discussing implications of the game development process for the fields of professional preparation and games for learning. Teaching Evaluation is now in its second year of an iterative development cycle. Currently, game play is composed of four parts, each of which is in a different phase of development:

  1. Observation in which the player watches and codes classroom video

  2. Case construction, in which the player constructs a rating for the teacher within an evaluation framework based on classroom evidence

  3. Expert feedback where an AI expert offers animated feedback on the player’s choices

  4. A post-observation conference with the teacher utilizing a branching narrative structure

Teaching Evaluation is a step forward in the training of K–12 professionals based in part on the success videogames have had when applied as training tools in the military and medical fields. Because research on educational leadership has indicated the power of instructional leaders to act as catalysts for school improvement, this design-based research project focuses on the teacher evaluation process, as it is one of the most intensely interpersonal activities school leaders engage in, allowing the opportunity for leaders to gain teacher trust while simultaneously accessing actual classroom practices. At the same time, the evaluation process is historically a poorly executed one, making it an optimal target for a game-based learning experience in which the player can develop both fundamental skills like classroom observation and case construction, and benefit from a situated learning experience unavailable through traditional training methods such as text- or video-based case analysis or review of the extant literature.

In this session, you will have the opportunity to learn about the unique opportunities and challenges that have been afforded thus far in the development process, including the benefits of adapting the open-source transcription software Transana for the first segment of game play, the process of constraining an amorphous practice like school leadership into a playable context that optimizes potential for transfer, and the challenges that arise when operationalizing theory and research in this unique branch of the Learning Sciences.

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