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Technology coaches, as well as edtech coaches, have to find ways to connect with those they hope to serve. It’s a job uniquely suited to extroverts, eager to connect with others and who derive their energy from being with and around others. Consider this point made by Seth in 2008:
Here’s what I haven’t found: people who charge $100 an hour to hear what you do and how you do it and then show you how to do it better. People who organize data and put it in the right place. People who overhaul the way small groups use technology so they can use it dramatically better. People who use copilot to take over a PC and actually rearrange it so that it works better.
As you can imagine, this is a different perspective for people who have spent time in the classroom and can show others how to facilitate teaching and learning better with technology. It should come as no surprise that these ideas have been around for a LONG time. Why are they just now “catching on” and coming into vogue? (uh, no, I have no idea).
That aside, as school districts consider “edtech coaches” or “digital coaches” or “technology coaches” or plain “instructional coaches,” they may be pondering what implementation model they should follow.
In this dissertation proposal, the literature review shares the following research:
- The ‘outside staff’ model is described as “a formal program of classes” (p .454) “the scope and direction [of which] is organized at the district level” (p. 454).
- The ‘computer class teacher” model relies on a computer class teacher “for at least part of [the] technology integration support” (p. 454).
- The ‘in-house’ model describe by Dexter, Louis and Anderson (2009) is “characterized by a full-time instructional support specialist” (p. 451) or technology coach.
Apparently, the “in-house” model is the preferred method according to the research. These positions are successful when the following criteria are met:
- TIME – “the first is that they have unencumbered time during the day. They set their own schedules and are able to be flexible to meet the needs of teachers as they arise.” “in order to help teachers properly need to have sufficient time, resources, and support in providing training and collaboration” (p. 164)… technology coaches should “have close and frequent contact with most of the teachers in a school building, and are in many classrooms on a daily basis”
- LOCATION – “locating technology support staff members [technology coaches] within a school provides opportunities for these staff members to exert direction and influence through one-on-one help for the schools teachers”
- EXPERIENCE – “teaching experience, familiarity with instructional strategies, and methods for integrating technology in addition to skill in using the technology itself;” effective modeling of technology use, deal effectively with technical issues, and oversee network operations but also includes many administrative skills such as the ability to create and manage budget, to develop policies, and to collect and share information about best practices
This component was also insightful about coaches:
…“while they are neither teachers or administrators, they can ‘lead from the middle’” (p. 176). Wong (Undated) concluded, “Coaching is customized and focused on providing instruction on what needs to be accomplished. Coaches tailor support, assess each teacher’s progress with observation, use, interviews, and surveys, and have follow up visits. Teachers feel more motivated and responsible to act on new skills because coaching makes them personalized and customized on an ongoing basis.”