I know we have all had those moments when we see someone and swear we know them but don’t know how we know them. That happened to me in church recently. I was sitting in the congregation, knowing I should be paying attention to the sermon, but noticed someone on my right side sitting very close to the front row. He looked Asian, possibly Thai or Vietnamese, and I started thinking, “I wonder if he has ever lived in China?” “I feel like I have seen him somewhere, and I want to say I saw him in Chengdu (the city I live in China).” Before you accuse me of stereotyping, let me clarify that this person looked familiar, and maybe they happen to look like someone I know in China. I don’t know. I just felt like I knew him somehow. The point, though, is I think we have all done something similar (more later). This brings me to what I want to discuss for this week. I am looking at ISTE standard 3c, which states, “Partner with educators to evaluate the efficacy of digital learning content and tools to inform procurement decisions and adoption” (ISTE). For our schools in particular, the implementation of technology and the ISTE standards is not commonplace. As an ed-tech leader, I would like to help ease the frustration and intimidation I see among colleagues who sometimes feel overwhelmed by the thought of technology and the standards that come along with that.
I cannot give you a figure, but many teachers, in my school, in particular, recognize and know that they should be using technology as well as planning their lessons with the technology standards. To be pretty transparent, though, most of the time, the teachers believe that if they created a slideshow to project onto the board, they used technology. They also think that if they have students using a computer in their classroom to work on an assignment, they also meet the technology standards. While this is somewhat true, to a slight degree, teachers are missing the mark. In their essay, “Technology, Coaching, and Community,” the authors note, “Just giving a teacher a technology tool and expecting them to maximize its learning potential is a strategy destined for failure (2). The authors go on to discuss how most teachers do not know how to “effectively. . . maximize student learning” (2). One of the major points the authors of this essay discuss is how good professional development can help alleviate the frustrations and help teachers better utilize technology in their lessons to maximize student learning. While I tend to think of professional development as a large meeting of teachers who then break into smaller workshops self-chosen, this is not necessarily the case. As an ed-tech coach, I can have one-on-one professional development with a teacher in need and maximize the results by having more personal coaching. Harry Wong is quoted in the essay as saying,” ‘Teachers feel more motivated and responsible to act on new skills because coaching makes them personalized and customized on an ongoing basis'” (7). I can see the importance of working with 1-2 teachers for a more personalized development in our educators.
Through my graduate courses, I am learning the ISTE standards more in-depth to help teachers better understand the technology standards and how to use them alongside their course standards with the ultimate goal of making teaching enjoyable and seeing student learning increase. Although ISTE 3c is probably more about the specific implementation of hardware of software, I’m stretching it into seeing teachers successful in using the standards themselves. I read an article published in the ISTE blog posts entitled, “Put Me in Coach! I’m Ready to Teach with Technology” by Les Foltos. One thing Foltos says is, “If coaches focus on learning first, they can start the conversation on the educators’ home court” “not outside their comfort zone where technology often fails” (Par. 3). In the beginning, I mentioned how I noticed this guy and thought I knew him. It turns out he has been a member of our church for many years, and I worked with him years ago during Vacation Bible School.
Similarly, I felt sure I had heard something close to what Les Foltos also said. It was a “lightbulb” moment for me by helping me realize that I will do better as an ed-tech coach if I meet the teachers where they are and see how technology or technology can best go with what they want students to learn. Just a few months ago, I was able to teach a workshop on the latest software out to help teachers and students. I enjoyed showing examples of things people can do when they use these tools, but after reading the essay and Foltos’ blog, working more personally with educators at their comfort level will be more beneficial to all. It will make teaching and learning better, as well as my coaching more enjoyable!
Beglau, Monica, et al. “Technology, Coaching, and Community: I Power Partners for Improved Professional Development in Primary and Secondary Education.” ISTE.org, ISTE White Paper, 2011, www.ri-iste.org/Resources/Documents/Coaching_Whitepaper_digital.pdf.
Foltos, Les. “Put Me in, Coach! I’m Ready to Teach with Technology.” ISTE, 21 July 2014, www.iste.org/explore/ISTE-Standards-in-Action/Put-me-in%2C-coach%21-I.
“ISTE Standards for Coaches.” ISTE, www.iste.org/standards/iste-standards-for-coaches.