A 2007 grant from the Department of Education provided Area Education Agencies (AEAs) the opportunity to participate in the implementation of eWalk software. eWalk is used to record data during classroom walk-throughs. The data is captured on a palm pilot during a two-to-five minute walk-through then transferred to the eWalk website to be analyzed. The software can then generate statistics and graphs that represent building needs and accomplishments. The analyzed data assists in making instructional decisions, starting conversations with staff, and assessing the implementation of goals.
“Walk-throughs” are a quick, non-evaluative look at what is happening in the classroom at any given time during the school day. Walk-throughs are usually conducted by building principals but some schools have teachers trained to conduct them. The combination of a handheld device (Palm Pilot, Blackberry, etc.) and eWalk software makes walkthroughs easier, faster, and less of a hassle. Each district creates custom templates to meet their data collection needs. Some templates are as simple as one question while others use the maximum of 30. Currently, most buildings are focused on collecting data on the level of student engagement in the classroom. Student engagement has always been an important component in raising student achievement. AEAs have provided numerous training sessions on assessing student engagement and some districts are combining this training with the eWalk software.
Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency received 72 palm pilots and 300 software licenses that are primarily being used by building principals and Curriculum directors in the following districts: Bellevue, Bettendorf, Calamus-Wheatland, Camanche, Clinton, Columbus, Davenport, Delwood, East Central, Maquoketa, Muscatine, North Scott, Northeast, Pleasant Valley, and Preston. Funding has been secured to continue and expand the use of eWalk software (to include non-public districts) in the 2009 – 2010 school year.