Technology coaches assist teachers in using technology effectively for assessing student learning, differentiating instruction, and providing rigorous, relevant and engaging learning experiences for all students.
- Coach teachers in and model design and implementation of technology-enhanced learning experiences using differentiation, including adjusting content, process, product and learning environment based on student readiness levels, learning styles, interests and personal goals.
- Coach teachers in and model effective use of technology tools and resources to systematically collect and analyze student achievement data, interpret results, and communicate findings to improve instructional practice and maximize student learning.
Inquiry Question: How can the technology coach meet the diverse needs of different teachers to use technology to enhance student learning?
Why Teachers Need A Technology Coach?
One survey in 2016 shows that 97% of teachers are impacted and inspired by colleagues on integrating technology into classrooms. They valued their co-workers to share sparkle ideas on creative teaching in the digital age to enhance students digital competence for the 21st century. Teachers need to adjust their teaching practice with the support of technologies to meet diverse needs of all students to provide more opportunities of authentic learning including collaboration, creativity, and innovation, and preparing students to be productive digital-age citizens. Many teachers who are good at using technology, are less so on leadership and strategies to adapt teachers at their individual needs and particular teaching goals as expectations. But the technology coaches can fill in this gap. Technology coaches need to keep learning at the forefront and being equipped by the latest knowledge both on technology and teaching strategies to support and model teachers on multi-facets to benefit student learning more than just introduce some cool new digital technology tools.
The Effective Coaching Cycle
Observation provides a good chance for technology coaches to know the coached teacher better and sooner. When the technology coach immerses into the learning and teaching environment where they are going to work with the participants, they can gain the useful data and collect and analyze the data to meet the teachers and students diverse needs. Every teacher has their own way to teach and has their own particular goals on specific content, and the technology coach needs to honor teacher’s expertise and don’t make any judgment which is paving the path for partnership rather than hierarchical relationship. The technology coach can start generating ideas and plan around particular needs while monitoring to embed technology into the right place to scaffold student to achieve learning outcomes and reach teacher’s expectation. Moreover, technology should play the supportive rather than starring role, so the technology coaches need to focus on how to integrate technology seamlessly to help teachers to reach the learning goals rather than what technologies can be used.
The technology coach needs to navigate different technologies to make sure the integration can lead to meaningful learning. Following are the questions the coach should be considered. And also the coach should discuss the critical questions with the coached teacher to provide a clear direction on how best to use technology in the class and get rid of all potential misunderstandings between each other. The technology coach needs to make the teacher understand the goal of coaching and build a solid alliance and willing to work with the coach together to benefit student learning.
• Why do you want to use this technology here?
• Why hasn’t the approach that you’ve been doing in the past worked?
• How do you hope the technology will change it?
• Can technology make this idea more relevant to students?
• Can it push the lesson up a notch, or can it enhance things for students by allowing them to do something that they couldn’t do without the technology? For example, does the technology allow students to collaborate beyond the classroom walls?
• Is the technology making possible a certain level of transparency for the teacher to assess where students are individual?
• Does the technology provide a platform for students to be creative without overbearing them with gadgets and apps?
When the technology coaches create a suitable plan for a specific lesson or a unit, they need to demonstrate and model how to implement this practice to the coached teacher. They might model the practice out of the class and also in the class. During the coaching process, the coaches need to change the roles to adapt the diverse needs. They will be technology leaders, PD coordinators, co-teachers, and facilitators. They also need to implement formative assessments to collect date from students which can show the outcomes of improvement. The whole coaching process will go back and forth (assess, adjust, revise, redesign, re-implement), the technology coaches should communicate any baby steps with the teacher in time to make sure the whole plan meets the teacher’s particular needs and impact the learners’ performances effectively.
The feedback is the most effective way to inspire teachers’ growth in the profession. After the implementation, the technology coach needs to provide an honest, positive, timely, corrective feedback of the teacher’s teaching practice which should be evidence-based from formal and informal data. The feedback will anchor the new problems and more needs, which will lead to another round of coaching cycle to refine and modify the teaching practice. Coaching is not one-shot technology-focused professional development session, is a long-term collaboration with teachers to provide supports on meaningfully and seamlessly integrating technology. The feedback as a phased reflection is not the end of coaching, but it is a start for another cycle.
Alliance Building Strategies
The best coaching relationship should have a deep understanding and trust built in. Different teachers have different needs and specific goal for specific learning content. As the technology coach, needs to listen to the teacher’s concerns and have an empathetic heart. The coach should meet teachers’ schedule to have effective communication face-to-face or online to understand the teachers’ needs in time without any judgemental and evaluative language and provide support to meet the goals. The coach and teacher need to build trust and partnership to collaborate with each other to enhance learning achievement.
Making Technology Work. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/practice/instructional-coaching-driving-meaningful-tech-integration
Effective Coaching: Improving Teacher Practice and Outcomes for All Learners. Retrieved from https://www.air.org/sites/default/files/NCSI_Effective-Coaching-Brief-508.pdf
Sheehy, K., & Ceballos, L (2018, August 21). Technology Use Must, First and Foremost , Be Designed to Support Learning Goals, Not the Other Way Around. Retrieved from https://digitalpromise.org/2018/08/21/instructional-technology-coaching-can-help-teachers-create-powerful-learning-experiences/
Ehsanipour, T., Zaccarelli, F. G., & Stanford University. (2017, July). Exploring Coaching for Powerful Technology Use in Education. Retrieved from http://digitalpromise.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Dynamic-Learning-Project-Paper-Final.pdf