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The Role Of The Ed Tech Coach And Why You Need One

24 Jul 2014 by Heather Breedlove

Educational technology coach?
Instructional technology coach?
Technology integration specialist?
Technology coordinator?

Whatever the title, finding support for teachers who are making the instructional shifts found in Common Core and revamped state standards is crucial for schools’ success with technology integration.

“You have to make sure consistent, professional development is happening,” said Sidney Bailey, an assistant principal from Center City Public Charter Schools in Washington, D.C., during a panel session at ISTE. “That type of energy must come from the top down. Whatever plan you decide to go with, you need to make sure there is a plan in place for support.”

To assist in a support plan, more districts are choosing an educational technology coach to assist teachers and staff with technology integration. An ed tech coach is the cross section of the curriculum and IT department. They are the liaisons between departments, helping translate IT jargon into teacher language and representing a teacher perspective in the IT department. They provide professional development that is ongoing and relevant for teachers and staff.

What does educational technology support look like?
Provide professional development on technology integration
Design curriculum to support technology-rich classrooms
Promote district technology initiatives like 1:1, BYOD or blended learning
Support focus can be given schoolwide, small groups or one-on-one
Provide blended learning opportunities for teachers through videos or tutorials
Model lessons and give classroom support
Give just-in-time coaching on new tech tools
Curate information for teachers

Types of support models:
Teacher tech leaders- one per school, trained by ed tech coach, IT or Curriculum departments
Instructional coaches- one per school, who also focus on tech integration
Ed tech coach- can be the main contact for 3-4 schools or can have more schools if funds are limited

Types of coaching:
Cognitive- way of working that invites the teacher and others to mold and reshape their thinking
Instructional coaching- small groups, guiding teachers, collaborative planning, modeling instructional practices, provide feedback for teachers
Peer Coaching- teacher’s needs drive the collaboration between teacher and coach, coaching is personalized thus improving teaching and learning

Why do you need one?
“Coaching becomes a more effective model for today’s educator because it builds a distinct level of mutual respect and trust with the individual being coached, translating into a more effective learning environment.”
Technology, Coaching, and Community Power Partners for Improved Professional Development in Primary and Secondary Education, An ISTE White Paper, Special Conference Release, 2011

Change happens through relationships and trust. People are more willing to take risks and try new things when they know they are supported in the classroom and by administration.
With many districts shifting to Common Core or revamping their own curriculum standards, support people like instructional coaches, specialists and ed tech coaches are an integral part of the transition.

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