Education Technology

The Need for and Development of the “Value Add of Technology on Teaching Framework”

For more than a decade, researchers have been calling for a shift from focusing on the adoption of technological tools in the classroom to focusing on how to leverage technology in teaching in order to advance student learning, a concept referred to as “technology-enabled instruction.” Yet there are few materials serving K–12 educators that are explicitly aimed at facilitating technology-enabled instruction. Typically, materials focus either on instruction or on technology integration rather than on both.

This paper documents the development of one resource that aims to fill this gap—the Value Add of Technology on Teaching (VATT) Framework. Written primarily for school and district leaders, the paper details the reasons why the VATT Framework was developed; the process through which the VATT Framework was conceived and conceptualized; and how different interest holders were engaged in different elements of this process. The paper is not intended to evaluate the utility of the VATT Framework.

The paper provides the following key takeaways:

  • The project that led to the development of the VATT Framework was spearheaded by Google for Education. A research and investigation phase was led by WestEd. The design and development phase was led by Leading Educators.
  • During the research and investigation phase, WestEd engaged the expertise of noted practitioners and experts in the field through a Technical Working Group (TWG) and through a review process. Leading Educators reviewed the research developed by WestEd and its experts in developing the VATT Framework.
  • While research-informed conditions for success remained consistent for the duration of the project, Leading Educators made three critical changes as it developed its framework: broadening the audience to include system leaders; shifting from a measurement-based approach to a reflection approach; and organizing the framework around teacher areas of responsibility.
  • A future phase of work will focus on operationalizing the VATT Framework in the field. WestEd conducted an initial set of focus groups with a Teacher Leader Network to begin this phase of work.
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Leading Educators Leading Educators
"Research shows that school and district leaders are key to creating the conditions that will allow teachers to flourish in their technology-enabled instructional practice. At minimum, school and district leaders can remove what the research has identified as first-order (external) barriers to technology-enabled instruction, including lack of access to technology, meaningful professional development, and high-level vision for use of technology in a school or district."
Hew & Brush, 2007
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