Friday, March 27, 2015

Visioning: District EdTech Coaches #edtechcoach #edtech #educoach

While chatting with a colleague this morning about districts transitioning to edtech coaching, I wondered, what would a school district need to begin moving towards an EdTech Coaching initiative?
Image Source: Leadership Freak

The answer is fairly simple--significant culture change and a willingness to endure pain. As one colleague put it to me, "We would build on staff strengths." What a winning answer!

In my previous blog entries, I've shared various implementation models and job descriptions that districts are using as they transition Instructional Technology specialist positions to "edtech coaches" (BTW, I've finally settled on "edtech coach" over the other alternatives, including "digital coaches," "technology coaches," etc.). 

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Below, here's a sample proposal that a district like Ardent ISD (a fake school district I made up for situation just like this one) considered. It includes several components--all shamelessly stolen from real school districts for the purposes of creating a useful document with the best features of all--such as:

  1. Proposal
  2. Appendix 1: Coaching Model
  3. Appendix 2: Defining the EdTech Coaches' Day
  4. Appendix 3: Job Description
  5. Appendix 4: Self-Assessment

If YOUR district has already made the transition to edtech coaches, how did this get accomplished?

SAMPLE PROPOSAL


Proposal for District EdTech Coaches


Proposal
This proposal recommends that current positions described by the titles Curriculum Specialists and Instructional Technology Specialists be blended to become District EdTech Coaches. Essentially, the position of Curriculum Specialist and Instructional Technology Specialist would encompass the 4 aspects of coaching described in this document in support of the District's strategic goal below.

Ardent ISD's Strategic Goal
"We will blend technology, including student mobile wireless computing devices, into every aspect of an exceptional academic learning experience in support of accomplish the Ardent ISD mission and strategic goals and objectives."
Need
This coaching approach is necessary because “90% of teachers will transfer a new skill into their practice with theory, demonstration, and practice within the training, feedback, and coaching” (Alaniz & Wilson, 2014).  Based on informal assessments, the level of expectation for the use of technology in classrooms is minimal, except in those cases where this has been written into the Campus Improvement Plan (CIP). At Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) campuses, implementation of technology-rich curriculum approaches is weak since technology is perceived as an optional add-on or enrichment rather than a replacement for more traditional paper-n-pencil activities.


In Support of a Digital Classroom
Although unnecessary, this proposal places the word "digital" in front of the word "classroom" to emphasize the District's commitment to blending technology into every aspect of the students' academic experience. It holds these perspectives dear:
    1. All students will utilize the digital tools that are necessary to approach learning in a whole new way.
    2. Each student will be issued a mobile device (e.g. Chromebook) to use in class (the devices stay at school).
    3. All students will each have their own Google email address and Drive storage space to facilitate collaboration.
    4. All teachers will employ Google Classroom (e.g. GoogleApps) to manage learning activities.
    5. All teachers will employ project-based learning and flipped learning approaches
    6. These key strategies and skills--collaboration, critical thinking and communication--are fundamental to teaching, learning and leading for all teachers, leaders and students.
    7. All teachers and students will practice--and model for their peers--digital citizenship while using social media tools (e.g. Twitter) to communicate about academic topics
To achieve this, a collegial coaching model will be adopted district-wide.


Purpose
The purpose of District EdTech Coaches is to implement a coaching model that provides a professional helping relationship and process in which a coach with expertise and experience aids the learning and acquisition of new skills by a colleague.


This proposal shares 4 aspects of coaching that will apply to ALL instructional coaches, including those who are currently Instructional Technology Specialists and/or Curriculum Specialists:
  1. Instruction & Technology Coach: This aspect of the coach focuses on the how of instruction, as well as a strong focus on helping staff better use technology-enhanced processes to redefine current teaching, learning and leading tasks, replacing paper-n-pencil pedagogical approaches that no longer make sense in a highly-connected, high-tech teaching and learning environment.
  2. Data Coach: These strategies focus on staff examine student achievement data and to use this to design instruction and to make curricular decisions. This involves analysis of data and its presentation through the District’s Data Warehouse.
  3. Resource Coach: This aspect focuses on upgrading where coaches maintain resources for each other and staff. This includes management of a variety of digital tools and resources for teachers and students to use in technology-rich learning environments.
  4. Classroom Supporter: This aspect includes working alongside a teacher to model effective teaching and/or observing and giving feedback.  This role requires co-planning, co-teaching, observing, giving feedback and engaging in reflective conversations about teaching and learning.


District EdTech Coaches would also articulate a shared vision and framework for supporting the various campus groups that work independently of one another at worst, or at best, in close proximity and incidentally support one another. Those campus groups include 1) Campus Instructional Technologists; 2) Campus Assessment Facilitators; and 3) Campus Instructional Guides.


Background
Coaching is appropriate model to frame the changing role of Instructional Technology Specialists and their “Curriculum sans technology Specialist” counterparts, widening their influence to speed transformation of praxis for district curriculum specialists, as well as campus teachers and instructional staff:


  • Coaches are master teachers (a.k.a. lead learners) who participate in explicit professional development about coaching to become skillful.  
  • In professional development, they examine their fundamental beliefs about student learning, teaching and coaching; acquire deep knowledge about adult development and change; and acquire skillfulness with a broad range of strategies to use in their new role.
  • Instructional Coaches are district-based, school-focused professional development specialists who work with individuals and teams to design and facilitate appropriate technology-enhanced learning experiences, provide feedback and support, and assist with implementation challenges.  Their work centers on refining and honing teaching, and their indicator of success is student academic success.


Professional Learning
To achieve the status of District EdTech Coaches, all staff members would need to develop a professional learning plan based on a district assessment and reflection. For example, curriculum specialists may enjoy strong data-analysis techniques that allow them to quickly make sense of data and its implications for staff. On the other hand, instructional technology specialists may offer curriculum-embedded technology strategies that lack the benefit of data-analysis. Both positions would benefit from peer coaching over time differentiated for their specific needs and growth goals.


The proposed needs assessment would include this ISTE-based self-assessment, as well as rely on the Levels of Teaching Innovation (LOTI) assessment, which provides individualized feedback to participants, as well as recommendations that encompass instruction and technology. The self-assessment asks responders to rate themselves on a scale from Novice to Advanced in several areas; view assessment by going to Appendix 4.



Timeline
The timeline for the transition would begin in August, 2015 at Coaches Lead Professional Development. This 2-day session that would be organized by District EdTech Coaches--including all staff who currently serve as District Curriculum Specialists and Instructional Technology Specialists--addressing the 4 aspects of the District Curriculum Coach. Each District Curriculum Coach would meet with the Deputy Superintendent of Curriculum, Curriculum Assistant Superintendent, and Chief Technology Officer as needed to provide initial, ongoing, and ending support throughout the 2015-2016 school year.


Conclusion
While it is tempting to continue as we are, with curriculum in one silo and instructional technology in the other, it is critical to maximize personnel resources in the way this proposal describes. The stakes are too high, the technology investment too costly to consider any other approach that engages in parallel programs that dilute the impact of committed staff.


References
McGrane, M. (2014). What is the role a technology integration coach? Available online at http://www.maggiehosmcgrane.com/2014/11/what-is-role-of-technology-integration.html


Numerous school district documents around the U.S.A.


Wilson, D. & Alaniz, K. (2014). Naturalizing Digital Immigrants. Unpublished manuscript review available online at http://goo.gl/e2gwkx


Appendix 1: Coaching Model for Technology Integration


  1. Establish the need.
    1. Is this a goal shared by only certain members of the administration and faculty or is this something that every school leader earnestly desires? Is the school community seemingly open to change and innovation, or are there those among the administration and faculty that unreservedly (and even loudly) oppose such transformation?
    2. When involved in collegial coaching for technology integration, once the teachers to be coached were identified, the coaches planned to individually meet with these teachers for an initial diagnostic interview. During the interviews, the coaches guided the teachers in exploring their fears, hesitations, insecurities, and overarching goals.
    3. One requirement for coaches was supporting each of their 3 coached teachers through the process of implementing at least 3 new tools.
  2. Create Partnerships.
    1. “We started with what they did in the past, and then talked about how we could tweak their already great lesson or unit to include technology to either deliver content or allow students to demonstrate their learning."
    2. “Frame conversations with ‘We are learning together!’"
  3. Differentiated Technology Projects
    1. Coaches and coached teachers should consider questions such as:
      1. Can this project be completed within a reasonable amount of time?
      2. If not, can this project be divided into smaller, more manageable components?
      3. Once completed, can this project realistically be incorporated into the coached teacher’s professional activities?
    2. When beginning the coaching process with a teacher inexperienced in technology integration, coaches should first focus on goals related to personal productivity.
    3. As an initial integration piece, coaches should seek to focus upon a project that can be accomplished somewhat easily and within a relatively short amount of time. This will assist coached teachers in quickly realizing the benefits of technology integration, and it will most likely provide them with a boost of confidence and increased motivation to take on more challenging projects.
    4. Once coached teachers have achieved small successes, coaches can play an integral role in helping them transition from teacher-centered to student-centered technology use:
      1. “Content is king!"
      2. Focusing on content provides greater purpose and meaning behind the integration process.
      3. Utilize modeling whenever possible.
  4. Assess the Progress
    1. Coaches need to ask these essential questions:
      1. Am I teaching what I intended to teach?
      2. Is my coach achieving the goals and completing the projects upon which we agreed to focus?
      3. Is there a better way to teach this concept, thereby promoting higher achievement by students or more effective integration of technology?
  5. Reflect on the Integration
    1. Reflection “converts action that is merely appetitive, blind and impulsive into intelligent action" (Dewey, 1933).
    2. Questions to ponder:
      1. What parts of this experience went well?
      2. What did not happen as intended?
      3. What should be tried next?
      4. What changes need to be made to the situation?
    3. Questions regarding student learning:
      1. What did the students learn from this activity?
      2. Did they learn any more or less than they have in the past without technology integration?
      3. Was the best tool applied in this particular circumstance and setting?
      4. What should be adapted for next time?
      5. What was the best part about this integration piece?
      6. What was the most challenging element of this integration piece?
      7. How might this same tool/application be applied to another unit/lesson?
      8. Did the students demonstrate higher levels of thinking?
      9. Did the students achieve the levels of knowledge and comprehension required?
      10. Were there any changes in student motivation?

Appendix 2: Defining the EdTech Coach's Day
(adapted from a school district outside of Texas - read blog post)


Appendix 3: Job Description
(adapted from a Texas school district and anonymized to protect the innocent)
Summary:
The primary purpose of a Digital Coach is to collaborate with Strategic Planning Partners, Instructional Coaches, and teachers in order to build their capacity as effective educators in a learning platform.


In this role, Digital Coaches will work as a member of a flexible vertical team who will be deployed at the elementary, middle and high school levels to seamlessly integrate technology into the instructional curriculum based on campus needs. They will facilitate change in the areas of aligning teaching and learning with curriculum standards and district curriculum as delineated in the District Vision and Strategic Planning Document.


They will assist in the use of formative and summative assessment data for instructional decision-making. Coaches will support campus administrators, Strategic Planning Partners, and teachers to facilitate job-embedded professional learning as well as assist in the development of district curriculum.
Qualifications/Minimum Education/Certification:
  1. Bachelor’s degree (Masters Degree preferred)
  2. Valid Texas teaching certificate
  3. Minimum of 5 years of instructional experience
  4. Instructional Technologist experience preferred   
  5. Current knowledge and application of educational research on best practices   
  6. Deep understanding of the relationship of Technology, Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment   
  7. Experience with curriculum development   
  8. Ability to disaggregate and analyze student assessment data   
  9. Thorough understanding of Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS)   
  10. Thorough understanding of Technology Application Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TA TEKS)   
  11. Thorough understanding of the Response to Intervention process   
  12. Experience with facilitating quality professional learning   
  13. Evidence of campus/district leadership   
  14. Ability to speak and write effectively, and establish and maintain effective relationships with administrators,  teachers, staff, students, and parents   
  15. Experience/expertise in designing engaging work for students, project-based learning, formative assessment, and the seamless use of instructional technology
Major Responsibilities and Duties:

  1. Resource Provider – To expand teachers’ use of a variety of technology resources to improve instruction.
  2. Expert Resource Provider – To provide expert knowledge of District provided technology hardware and software.
  3. Catalyst for Change – To create disequilibrium with the current state as an impetus to explore alternatives to current practice.
  4. Data Coach – To ensure that student achievement data drives instructional discussions at the classroom and school level.
  5. Curriculum & Technology Specialist – To create, model, and implement instructional practices, which seamlessly incorporate the use of technology into the curriculum.
  6. Learning Facilitator – To design collaborative, job-embedded, standards-based professional learning utilizing technology.
  7. Mentor – To increase instructional technology skills of the novice teacher.
  8. School Leader – To work collaboratively with the school’s formal leadership to design, implement, and assess school change initiatives to ensure alignment and focus on intended results.
  9. Learner – To model continuous learning, to keep current, and to provide leadership in current instructional technology.


Appendix 4 - Self-Assessment

ISTE-C Survey


Rate yourself for each of the ISTE-C for Digital Age Coaches.
* Required
  • What is your name? *
  • What is your email? *
  • Contribute to the development, communication, and implementation of a shared vision for the comprehensive use of technology to support a digital-age education for all students.
  • Technology Coaches inspire and participate in the development and implementation of a shared vision for the comprehensive integration of technology to promote excellence and support transformational change throughout the instructional environment.
    • Novice
    • Advanced Beginner
    • Competent
    • Proficient
    • Advanced
  • Contribute to the planning, development, communication, implementation, and evaluation of technology-infused strategic plans at the district and school levels
  • Technology Coaches inspire and participate in the development and implementation of a shared vision for the comprehensive integration of technology to promote excellence and support transformational change throughout the instructional environment.
    • Novice
    • Advanced Beginner
    • Competent
    • Proficient
    • Advanced
  • Advocate for policies, procedures, programs, and funding strategies to support implementation of the shared vision represented in the school and district technology plans and guidelines
  • Technology Coaches inspire and participate in the development and implementation of a shared vision for the comprehensive integration of technology to promote excellence and support transformational change throughout the instructional environment.
    • Novice
    • Advanced Beginner
    • Competent
    • Proficient
    • Advanced
  • Implement strategies for initiating and sustaining technology innovations and manage the change process in schools and classrooms
  • Technology Coaches inspire and participate in the development and implementation of a shared vision for the comprehensive integration of technology to promote excellence and support transformational change throughout the instructional environment.
    • Novice
    • Advanced Beginner
    • Competent
    • Proficient
    • Advanced
  • Coach teachers in and model design and implementation of technology-enhanced learning experiences addressing content standards and student technology standards
  • 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.
    • Novice
    • Advanced Beginner
    • Competent
    • Proficient
    • Advanced
  • Coach teachers in and model design and implementation of technology-enhanced learning experiences using a variety of research-based, learner-centered instructional strategies and assessment tools to address the diverse needs and interests of all students
  • 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.
    • Novice
    • Advanced Beginner
    • Competent
    • Proficient
    • Advanced
  • Coach teachers in and model engagement of students in local and global interdisciplinary units in which technology helps students assume professional roles, research real-world problems, collaborate with others, and produce products that are meaningful and useful to a wide audience
  • 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.
    • Novice
    • Advanced Beginner
    • Competent
    • Proficient
    • Advanced
  • Coach teachers in and model design and implementation of technology-enhanced learning experiences emphasizing creativity, higher-order thinking skills and processes, and mental habits of mind (e.g., critical thinking, meta-cognition, and self-regulation)
  • 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.
    • Novice
    • Advanced Beginner
    • Competent
    • Proficient
    • Advanced
  • Coach teachers in and model design and implementation of technology-enhanced learning experiences using differentiation, including adjusting content, process, product, and learning environment based upon student readiness levels, learning styles, interests, and personal goals
  • 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.
    • Novice
    • Advanced Beginner
    • Competent
    • Proficient
    • Advanced
  • Coach teachers in and model incorporation of research-based best practices in instructional design when planning technology-enhanced learning experiences
  • 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.
    • Novice
    • Advanced Beginner
    • Competent
    • Proficient
    • Advanced
  • Coach teachers in and model effective use of technology tools and resources to continuously assess student learning and technology literacy by applying a rich variety of formative and summative assessments aligned with content and student technology standards
  • 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.
    • Novice
    • Advanced Beginner
    • Competent
    • Proficient
    • Advanced
  • 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
  • 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.
    • Novice
    • Advanced Beginner
    • Competent
    • Proficient
    • Advanced
  • Model effective classroom management and collaborative learning strategies to maximize teacher and student use of digital tools and resources and access to technology-rich learning environments
  • Technology coaches create and support effective digital-age learning environments to maximize the learning of all students.
    • Novice
    • Advanced Beginner
    • Competent
    • Proficient
    • Advanced
  • Maintain and manage a variety of digital tools and resources for teacher and student use in technology-rich learning environments
  • Technology coaches create and support effective digital-age learning environments to maximize the learning of all students.
    • Novice
    • Advanced Beginner
    • Competent
    • Proficient
    • Advanced
  • Coach teachers in and model use of online and blended learning, digital content, and collaborative learning networks to support and extend student learning as well as expand opportunities and choices for online professional development for teachers and administrators
  • Technology coaches create and support effective digital-age learning environments to maximize the learning of all students.
    • Novice
    • Advanced Beginner
    • Competent
    • Proficient
    • Advanced
  • Select, evaluate, and facilitate the use of adaptive and assistive technologies to support student learning
  • Technology coaches create and support effective digital-age learning environments to maximize the learning of all students.
    • Novice
    • Advanced Beginner
    • Competent
    • Proficient
    • Advanced
  • Troubleshoot basic software, hardware, and connectivity problems common in digital learning environments
  • Technology coaches create and support effective digital-age learning environments to maximize the learning of all students.
    • Novice
    • Advanced Beginner
    • Competent
    • Proficient
    • Advanced
  • Collaborate with teachers and administrators to select and evaluate digital tools and resources that enhance teaching and learning and are compatible with the school technology infrastructure
  • Technology coaches create and support effective digital-age learning environments to maximize the learning of all students.
    • Novice
    • Advanced Beginner
    • Competent
    • Proficient
    • Advanced
  • Use digital communication and collaboration tools to communicate locally and globally with students, parents, peers, and the larger community
  • Technology coaches create and support effective digital-age learning environments to maximize the learning of all students.
    • Novice
    • Advanced Beginner
    • Competent
    • Proficient
    • Advanced
  • Conduct needs assessments to inform the content and delivery of technology-related professional learning programs that result in a positive impact on student learning
  • Technology coaches conduct needs assessments, develop technology-related professional learning programs, and evaluate the impact on instructional practice and student learning.
    • Novice
    • Advanced Beginner
    • Competent
    • Proficient
    • Advanced
  • Design, develop, and implement technology-rich professional learning programs that model principles of adult learning and promote digital-age best practices in teaching, learning, and assessment
  • Technology coaches conduct needs assessments, develop technology-related professional learning programs, and evaluate the impact on instructional practice and student learning.
    • Novice
    • Advanced Beginner
    • Competent
    • Proficient
    • Advanced
  • Evaluate results of professional learning programs to determine the effectiveness on deepening teacher content knowledge, improving teacher pedagogical skills and/or increasing student learning
  • Technology coaches conduct needs assessments, develop technology-related professional learning programs, and evaluate the impact on instructional practice and student learning.
    • Novice
    • Advanced Beginner
    • Competent
    • Proficient
    • Advanced
  • Model and promote strategies for achieving equitable access to digital tools and resources and technology-related best practices for all students and teachers
  • Technology coaches model and promote digital citizenship.
    • Novice
    • Advanced Beginner
    • Competent
    • Proficient
    • Advanced
  • Model and facilitate safe, healthy, legal, and ethical uses of digital information and technologies
  • Technology coaches model and promote digital citizenship.
    • Novice
    • Advanced Beginner
    • Competent
    • Proficient
    • Advanced
  • Model and promote diversity, cultural understanding, and global awareness by using digital-age communication and collaboration tools to interact locally and globally with students, peers, parents, and the larger community
  • Technology coaches model and promote digital citizenship.
    • Novice
    • Advanced Beginner
    • Competent
    • Proficient
    • Advanced
  • Engage in continual learning to deepen content and pedagogical knowledge in technology integration and current and emerging technologies necessary to effectively implement the NETS-S and NETS-T
  • Technology coaches demonstrate professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions in content, pedagogical, and technological areas as well as adult learning and leadership and are continuously deepening their knowledge and expertise.
    • Novice
    • Advanced Beginner
    • Competent
    • Proficient
    • Advanced
  • Engage in continuous learning to deepen professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions in organizational change and leadership, project management, and adult learning to improve professional practice
  • Technology coaches demonstrate professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions in content, pedagogical, and technological areas as well as adult learning and leadership and are continuously deepening their knowledge and expertise.
    • Novice
    • Advanced Beginner
    • Competent
    • Proficient
    • Advanced
  • Regularly evaluate and reflect on their professional practice and dispositions to improve and strengthen their ability to effectively model and facilitate technology-enhanced learning experiences
  • Technology coaches demonstrate professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions in content, pedagogical, and technological areas as well as adult learning and leadership and are continuously deepening their knowledge and expertise.
    • Novice
    • Advanced Beginner
    • Competent
    • Proficient
    • Advanced

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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Disclaimer

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure