Tuesday, August 14, 2018

6 reasons you need a technology coach

Recently we read a blog post from Corwin Connect entitled “Six Reasons Why You Need an Instructional Coach.” We thought the article was great and began applying the concepts to our teachers. As we thought through the value of our technology coaches, we developed our own reasons why we believe you need your technology coach (TLC).

Technology, including updates to current apps and newly released apps, increases at an amazing rate. With all your time spent on the work of teaching, it is hard to stay on top of the latest technological possibilities. Your TLC may know of just the perfect app to meet your instructional needs.

Coaches are in and out of classrooms all the time. They know the amazing work of your colleagues and can help you imagine the possibilities by looking to your own colleagues for inspiration. Teaching can be an isolated profession and it is hard for teachers to observe one another but coaches have the great privilege of seeing many teachers work to provide learning experiences for students. 

Coaches can anticipate glitches in the technology. Technology coaches have sort of ‘been there, done that’ with lots of technology tools. They can turn their failures into learning opportunities before you even launch an app in your classroom. Consider collaborating with your technology coach to help prevent classroom management issues or glitches with specific instructional tools.

Technology coaches can facilitate your thinking about your technology choices. Sometimes teachers jump to implement a newly learned tech strategy and that can be great! Sometimes it is helpful, though, to slow down your thinking with the use of a technology coach to allow you to really strategically choose the best tool for your need. For example, Kahoot is fun and kids may love it, but should this timed, game-based quiz really replace your weekly formative to ensure students have learned the foundational knowledge? The technology coach may highlight on the nature of some students who may disengage during competitive activities and therefore this activity may not fully inform the teacher of all students’ progress in the learning.

Technology coaches can help you set goals for improving your teacher practice. Whether your goal is specifically focused on a technology tool or a broader instructional strategy, your technology coach can help you develop and implement strategies for reaching your goal. This collaboration also encourages accountability for a teacher’s continuous improvement.

You want personalized PD? You’ve got personalized PD! We know that teachers are often at different places in their professional learning. Using a technology coach allows each specific teacher’s professional learning needs to be met. If whole school professional learning is leaving you wanting more specific support, look to your technology coach to provide just-in-time learning and the opportunity to receive feedback on your progress.

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