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New Framework Gives Measure of Teacher Competency in Online, Blended Practices

Input from a committee of 36 educators and researchers has helped forge a new framework by which K-12 teachers can assess their competencies in online and blended environments. Published by the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) and the Learning Accelerator, a non-profit focused on implementing high-quality blended learning in American schools, the framework lays out 12 specific competencies and effective practices in four domains to help make new instructional methods more successful.

The framework's authors, Allison Powell of iNACOL, Beth Rabbitt of the Learning Accelerator and Kathryn Kennedy of the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute reviewed existing practices and research to develop an initial list of competencies. Those were "field tested" with the larger committee to develop the final roster, which is expected to evolve as instructional practices change.

The four domains are mindsets, qualities, adaptive skills and technical skills. Within those reside the 12 competencies, each of which has two or more standards by which to measure success.

For example, within the mindset domain, is the competency, "Blended teachers should [have an] orientation toward change and improvement." That's defined by these five standards:

  • Embrace change and model this for others;
  • Proactively initiate change in response to students' needs and progress;
  • Embrace uncertainty and ambiguity as part of improving teaching and learning practices;
  • Model and encourage others to be independent and self-directed learners; and
  • Demonstrate the professional responsibility to contribute to the effectiveness, innovation, vitality and self-renewal of the teaching profession, as well as to their school and community.

"The key foundation to these competencies was the working group's collective belief that teachers can be and are agents of learning and innovation in their communities," said Kennedy. "These competencies draw directly from promising practices and resources from our expert committee members and their organizations who are on the ground doing the work within the community."

Co-author Rabbitt added, "We believe this framework offers a clear but flexible starting point for the field in understanding evolving educator roles and practice. We hope that it will be helpful for a variety of actors to develop and organize resources that will help teachers learn and grow as blended educators."

The framework is available at the iNACOL site.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.