I had previously written an article about the new evaluation system in my state of Georgia and how the new web platform no longer accommodated eWalk. The new platform offered one template to record data and in my opinion was awkward, not user friendly, and was unreliable. I cannot begin to express my displeasure when I would schedule observations only to arrive to the classroom and have to wait for the platform to load or not be able to get on the platform at all. When I was writing my last article, the school system was participating in a pilot year. That meant that each of the administrators only had four or five teachers that were using the new evaluation system, whilst the remainder of the teachers were still being evaluated using the older system. This older system still accommodated the eWalk platform, making things much more efficient.
Well, the pilot year ended and now all certified staff are being evaluated using the new system and the new platform. I quickly learned that to be successful and meet my obligations as an evaluator, I was going to have to find a more efficient manner in which to complete my observations. I have been doing observations and providing feedback to teachers for many years so I would consider myself somewhat proficient. Moreover, performing observations and providing feedback to teachers was also a major component of my dissertation. My problem is this new platform and the functionality issues I encounter when I am in a classroom. To alleviate the problems I was having, I simply went back to what I knew and what has worked so well for me in years past. I created a template in eWalk to record the data that I needed for the new evaluation system.
One of my favorite components of the eWalk system is the ability to customize templates. In this case, I simply created a template that mirrors the template in the other system and use eWalk to do my observations. Once I am done I copy and paste my information from the eWalk template to the other template that is required for the new evaluation system. You may be thinking that is twice the work. To some it may be but copying and pasting takes minimal effort and the benefits of using the eWalk system greatly outweigh the minimal amount of time it takes me to copy and paste.
The eWalk template works every time I need it. There is no lag in functionality which means I do not have to wait for the platform to load to my computer. If the internet is down on my end or if the site is down on their end I can still do my observations, which is huge for me as my schedule is already very tight most days. The text field on my eWalk template is much larger which makes it easier to see what I am typing. Recording data on my eWalk template is much easier and much more efficient which makes my observations much more enjoyable. I can enjoy what I am observing in the classroom and do not have to worry about the technical aspects of the data instrument. I know eWalk is going to work.
Using the eWalk template also allows me to access all the features associated with eWalk. The history feature allows me to revisit past comments without having to exit the template to see if any patterns of behavior are emerging. By using eWalk, official observations can be combined with regular class room observations in organized reports to provide me with easy to read data. The functionality and the aesthetics of eWalk are more appealing and easy to use which for me has a significant impact on my demeanor in the class room. I can relax during observations and focus more on the class and less on manipulating the template. Using eWalk I catch the little nuisances of the class that I may miss when I have to struggle with a different platform. Functionality never seems to be a problem with my eWalk platform which results in a much more enjoyable observation.
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