All posts by Helen S. Gong

EDTC 6105 Module 1-Coach as Leader: Foundations

ISTE Coaching Standard

ISTE-C Standard 1: Visionary Leadership

b. Contribute to the planning, development, communication, implementation, and evaluation of technology-infused strategic plans at the district and school levels

d. Implement strategies for initiating and sustaining technology innovations and manage the change process in schools and classrooms

Inquiry Question:
How can tech coach provide meaningful and effective coaching to engage and empower teachers to integrate technology into classrooms? Especially for those who are behind using technology in teaching.


Step into the digital world, we are facing many changes in education from constantly developing technologies. To foster productive digital citizens, more and more schools invest educational equipment which is supposed to support teaching and learning, and some piloted 1:1 laptop program or initiated BYOD program cross the entire school. While we are having intelligent hardware, we need to use them intelligently to meet the original purpose and reach the big ideas. Technology can be a powerful tool for transforming learning. It can help affirm and advance relationships between educators and students, reinvent our approaches to learning and collaboration, shrink long-standing equity and accessibility gaps, and adapt learning experiences to meet the needs of all learners. However, to be transformative, educators need to have the knowledge and skills to take full advantage of technology-rich learning environments.

Definition of Effective Coaching and The Role of Tech Coach

In order to increase teachers’ willing and passion to utilize technology into classes, professional development on how to integrate technology is going to take an important role. Since most teachers realize that one-shot PD sessions are too simple not meaningful or impactful to satisfy them, the tech coach who can provide consistent, long-term, and content-specific coaching is expected.

Sometimes tech coach is a facilitator who helps support teachers, give them ideas and let them run with it themselves; Sometimes, tech coach is a co-teachers, who collaborates with teachers to co-plan goals, map out a lesson and engage in cycle of classroom; Sometimes, tech coach is a peer-observer, who provides positive feedback via constant conversation to discuss the future lessons without the feeling of evaluation. In a meaningful and effective coaching, the tech coach works with teachers in a partnership-type and collaborative relationship in which the tech coach engages into a sustained professional dialogue aimed to improve teaching by developing teacher’s knowledge and skills. The effective coaching process is content-related and practical which associates teachers and the tech coach with rapport, respect, and trust in a long-term collaboration.

Successful Cases Catalyze Momentum On Technology Integration

Many teachers either do not have time or might even be resistant to bringing technology into their classroom; others may think it’s just about doing the same thing with new tools. These ingrained opinions bring difficulties in implementing technology coaching from the beginning, and it won’t be effective and impactful without an affirmative attitude. A good way is to start tech coaching with those teachers who are excited to work with technology and willing to experimenting with new opportunities and collaborating. As teachers learned about the tech coach’s role, witnessed what improvements the coaching brought and hear the praise others were getting for collaboration, school-wide momentum begins building up. The meaningful and effective coaching which has been accomplished will act as a conduit of best practices to catalyze passions to others on technology integration.

Identify Teacher’s Needs and Have Teachers See the Improvement

In order to provide effective tech coaching, the coach needs to have deep conversations with the teacher to understand his/her needs, situation and instructional goals. Discussing the following key questions will give the tech coach and the teacher the best direction to effective technology integration and also empower teachers.

•    Why do you want to use this technology here?

•    Why hasn’t the approach that you’ve been doing in the past worked?

•    How do you hope the technology will change it?

•    Can the technology make this idea more relevant to students?

•    Can it push the lesson up a notch, or can it enhance things for students by allowing them to do something that they couldn’t do without the technology? For example, does the technology allow students to collaborate beyond the classroom walls?

•    Is the technology making possible a certain level of transparency for the teacher to assess where students are individually?

•    Does the technology provide a platform for students to be creative without overbearing them with gadgets and apps?

The tech coach needs to collect and analyze the implementation and impact data to present the values and influences of coaching to have the teacher see the improvement from technology integration to grow confidence to take more risks on a new teaching approach.

The Coaching Cycle

According to Andrew’s experiences on providing effective coaching, he suggests using BDA coaching cycle with teachers. BDA coach cycle works better especially for those who are behind using technology.

Before meeting with a teacher, the coach needs to touch base with them informally to get a sense of how he/she might be able to help. The tech coach needs to start generating ideas around the teacher’s particular classroom needs and prepare resources for specific lessons or units before formally meeting with the teacher. In the formal meeting, the tech coach will share ideas or useful things that other teachers have done with technology in their classrooms and a plan of redesigning the specific lessons with meaningful technology integration.

During the course of working together, the tech coach will be there as classroom support while the teacher implements a new lesson utilizing technology. The coach needs to lead the class and model for the teacher how to work with a specific technology.

After implementation, follow-up with the coached teacher is important to find out how things went. The coach and the teacher should meet together to evaluate the implementation and discuss the plan for each individual lesson. Following are the assessment questions need to be considered:

•    Do they need to troubleshoot something, so that it’s easier next time around?

•    Did the implementation bring up new questions or needs for the teacher?

•    What was successful and what still could be tweaked for a more refined delivery?

•    What does the teacher still need help with?

A Flexible Schedule to Best Meet Teacher Diverse Needs  

The flexible schedule will allow the tech coach and teachers to have more opportunities for conversations which will help to grow understanding and build trust and rapport relationships between each other to lead meaningful co-planning for the future. The coach will know any barrier the teacher encounters and provide support in time to inspire the coached teacher moving forward. 

Professional Development to Create A Vision For Teachers–Better for The Future Effective Coaching

The tech coaches have the responsibility to provide follow-up PD after coaching. The PDs as the showcase of successful technology integration are aimed to take the burden of technology off the teachers and create a vision that what and how technology can support them to meet different types of needs for diverse learners. 

The effective and meaningful coaching needs the coach and the teacher collaborate closely with trust and understanding in which the coach and the teacher will use their specific expertise to have a purposeful technology integration to meet the goals they set together and ultimately server the students who have grown up with technology.


Ehsanipour, T., Zaccarelli, F . G., & Center to Support Excellence in Teaching – Stanford University. (2017). Exploring Coaching for Powerful Technology Use in Education. Retrieved from

Davis, E. L., Currie, B. (2019). Tech Integration Comes Alive Through Coaching. Retrieved from

Instructional Coaching: Driving Meaningful Tech Integration. (2015). Retrieved from

Making Technology Work. (2015). Retrieved from

6104 Community Engagement Project Reflection


Our school started the 1:1 computer program ten years ago and extended to lower grades after five years of this program and initiated the digital citizenship class in the kindergarten leverage iPad as the digital tool.  I have worked as a tech teacher in kindergarten for three years. In these three years, my students experienced many Apps to create digital stories, innovative videos, and posters in collaborative groups or independence set. Their favorite learning activity is the one related to their routine life in the real world and shares their digital artifacts with parents, teachers, and peers. I started to think about to collaborate with other classrooms teachers when classroom teachers asked me how they can integrate iPad as the innovative learning part and what Apps students have learned in my tech class can be used in their classes. And also, I want to build a connection between the digital world and the real world for students to demonstrate reflections and learning outcomes of the knowledge they learned in different classes using digital tools. 

Retrieved from

About the Workshop

I have explored some digital platform for collaboration, and I want to introduce Edmodo as the recommendation in my workshop. Within this strategy, classroom teachers can provide opportunities for authentic learning for tech class; Tech class can provide support on digital tools for classroom teachers. They are going to build a reciprocal relationship through Edmodo collaboration platform to share recourses and ideas for seeking the connection between tech class and regular classrooms to help students to lead effective learning. In this workshop, I will introduce Edmodo features to audiences, including groups, small groups, library, and message. Thinking of the limited time, I will implement blended learning in which audiences will receive a concise instruction about how to join my provisional group for this workshop. We will use the group for practicing most of the features in the real-time and keep this group as a small PLN for sharing experiences for the future. At the end of the workshop, I will introduce two digital tools, which are my kindergarten students’ favorite as a reference for audiences. 


In the digital world, classrooms should be not isolated anymore. Teachers need to break the wall to collaborate and build a community to seek opportunities to enhance student motivation and engagement.

For the tech class, it will not be the learning goal for teaching digital tools and skills. Tech teachers need to provide opportunities for the student to leverage digital tools to have deep and authentic learning and gain digital competences for the 21st century needs. 

For the homeroom classes, teachers have a responsibility to provide productive technology environment for young age students to cultivate their digital competences to benefit their future life in the digital world. Teachers have limited time in the class to manage digital tools and also need technical support to encourage them to move on.

Collaboration between tech teachers and classroom teachers can be the reciprocal way to engage and motivate students to leverage the digital skills they learned in the tech class to demonstrate their learning outcomes in their home class. Students can choose different ways to use a digital tool to express themselves to different kinds of audiences to lead student-centered and culturally relevant learning. 


Technology coaches create and support effective digital age learning environments to maximize the learning of all students.

3e – Troubleshoot basic software, hardware, and connectivity problems common in digital learning environments
3g – Use digital communication and collaboration tools to communicate locally and globally with students, parents, peers, and the larger community

Inquiry Question:
What digital tools can support teachers to communicate with parents effectively?
What digital tools can support teachers to collaborate and communicate with peers?

Parent-Teacher Communication–Keep Parents In the Loop with School Learning Activities

Effective communication is essential between parents and educators for helping student learning.  In the digital world, It is a challenging task for teachers to choose the right communication tool to fit different groups of parent preference. It also overwhelmed teachers to get immersed in emails and phone calls from parents to ask about their children’s information while dealing with the full-scheduled work every day. The informative and in-time home-school communication will create a positive loop in which teachers can take more time and energy to focus on classroom learning, and parents can help their kids at home purposely. The more supportive information teachers provide, the fewer questions and concern parents will have. The positive loop will promote student learning and help them to succeed.

Retrieved from SpeakUp Research

In this survey, we can see that the most effective tools for parent communication and engagement are email and text messages. Moreover, there are no differences in parents’ interest in using text messages for communications by demographics or grade of a child in school. This result shows that parents prefer safe, immediate, and informative communications with teachers.

Remind-Provide Safe Mode Communication Between Parents and Teachers

Group set/ Private set Message

After setting up a specific class, Remind will provide default groups (teachers, parents, and students). Teachers can send messages to all parents/ all students /all teachers or the group created by different needs. Also, teachers can have private communication with one parent.

Set Time for Receiving and Sending Messages

Teachers can set work time for receiving messages within which teachers will not get interrupted from messages in personal time. Also, teachers can set a schedule to send a specific message out during the class time.

Productive Learning Evidence

Remind supports various file formats to be learning evidence for sharing with parents. Pictures, videos, or document will be productive and informative for parents to know almost everything they concern in school.

Available from Web and App

Remind is available from the website: remind.comand also can be used as the app on the mobile devices, which is handy and flexible.

 Translation feature

Remind provides translation for messages which is a crucial feature for teachers to communicate with parents whose prefer language is not English. 

Create A Thriving Digital Community From Peer-peer Communication 

Teachers always get significant influence on the profession from peers more than any other ways. “one-size-fits-all” approach of PD cannot satisfy teachers growth and different needs. Digital communities can help teachers to share experiences with peers and break the isolation to seek collaboration to enhance student engagement in learning. Edmodo is a powerful platform which can be used as a digital community for teachers locally and globally. Teachers can have a discussion and sharing resources through groups and small groups and also can communicate in time from the message. More details are provided in this blog:
Edmodo for Collaboration


School-to-Home Communications: Most effective tools for parent communications & engagement[Infographic]. Speak Up Research Project for Digital Learning. Retrieved from

Knutson, J. (2016). 6 Tech Tools That Boost Teacher-Parent Communication. Retrieved from

Journal of Humanities, Language, Culture and Business (HLCB) Vol. 2: No. 10 (December 2018) page 26-36 | | eISSN: 01268147

Miller, A. (2015). Avoiding Learned Helplessness. Retrieved from

ISTE For Coaches 3

Technology coaches create and support effective digital age learning environments to maximize the learning of all students.

3b – Maintain and manage a variety of digital tools and resources for teacher and student use in technology-rich learning environments
3d – Select, evaluate, and facilitate the use of adaptive and assistive technologies to support student learning
3f – 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

Inquiry Question: What kind of digital tools can enhance kindergarten’s student learning? What factors need teacher to be focused when they are looking for the digital tools for younger students?

Retrieved from Gryphon House

First Step into Digital World

Kindergarten is a crucial period for children to develop and form mindset and cognition. Children are growing up in the digital world, and it is educators responsibility to pave the path for them to meet the 21st century’s demands. Preschool teachers are also inspired to strive for exploring appropriate digital tools embedded into pedagogy to meet intrinsic characteristics of younger students to build connections between the real-world and digital world. Younger students develop a sense of initiative and creativity through exploring and using a variety of tools. They use crayons, blocks to create things to build an image of the world. We can use digital tools to make something impossible to be possible for young children, providing colorful,  productive and meaningful ways to scaffold younger children to understand and touch the real world. 

Build a Solid Foundation For Kindergarten Students

Digital tools and recourses should allow younger students to have authentic learning

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the Fred Rogers Center state that “appropriate experiences with technology and media allow children to control the medium and the outcome of the experience, to explore the functionality of these tools, and pretend how they might be used in real life.” Early educators should mindfully determine what digital tools can be used in the classroom based on the Three C’s: the content, the context, and the needs of the individual child. The goal is to extend younger students authentic learning experiences to foster the ability to leverage technology wisely to develop cognition, explore real-world, and present themselves.  

We always need to ensure that digital tools and resources get younger students thinking and questioning.

Young age students will always having curious and interests to lead deeper learning. Teachers need to make sure the digital tools and resources that can trigger young students to think and question and get them empowered to have independent learning. 

Digital tools allow students to create artifacts

In kindergarten, we always have students who are shy and quiet cannot get engaged in learning activities. But in my iPad class, these students are active when they use digital tools to create artifacts collaboratively (animation, digital story) to demonstrate themselves. They can build confidence from interacting and sharing with peers and parents using digital tools to create.  Use technology in effective and meaningful ways that can make young students be positive creators instead of passive consumers. 

Digital tools allow teacher to track student learning process

It is important to create an environment from young age to experience independent learning with digital tools. The digital tool which has tracking feature can make teachers clearly on every student learning process. It will be possible to implement blended learning or flipped classroom to cultivate independent learning ability with digital tools from younger age. 

Choose the Appropriate Tools

In the digital world, it always has digital tools thriving from time to time, which will overwhelm teachers to look for the right ones from the endless of resources. Common Sense Media provides reliable reviews and rating of digital tools in education sorted by different level of age. Teachers can get great resources as a recommendation from the Best Apps.

Whenever you are using digital tools, look at the elements of motivation for learning. The following characteristics are crucial for obtaining and sustaining interest and extended learning for young children:

Developmentally appropriate content: The content should inspire the young student to keep moving on and help them to connect with real-world

Childish interface: young students can control the functions of the digital tool easily 

Wait time: Young students have limited patience. Don’t drain out their interests on longer loading time or processing time.

Incentives and interactive: can produce digital artifacts to present or share with others

Goal: have to have an innovative part of motivating the student to create

Evaluate Digital Tools

Whenever pilot new digital tools, teachers or tech coaches need to evaluate the effects on learning.

Digital Tool Review
User Experience
Is the content presented in a clear way?
Dose the tool offer easy navigation?
Is the tool childishly pleasing?
Are there many distractive features in the content ?  
Learning Practice
What skills can learners practice? Are these skills meet learning goal?
How much control do learners have over the pace of learning? 
Tracking Learning
Can users set their own learning goals?
Are there self-assessment opportunities?
Can teachers observe learners’ progress?
Social Interaction
What opportunities are there for communication between learners?
What collaborative opportunities are there?
What kind of communities can develop?  
Learning Outcomes
Can learners be motivated to question more?
Can learners connect to real-world and solve real-world problems?
Can learners build right cognition of real-world?
What kind of final product can this tool present?
Technical information
What internet connection does this tool need?
Is this tool compatible on other kinds of devices?


How to choose digital resources and tools for your classroom. Retrieved from

How we nurture children hasn’t changed, even if tools has become digital. Retrieved from

Selected examples of effective classroom practice involving technology tools and interactive media. Retrieved from

Jeffs, T. (2014). Preschoolers in the digital sandbox. Retrieved from

Johnson, K. (2016). Resources to help you choose the digital tools your classroom needs. Retrieved from

Zielezinski, M. (2016). What 7 factors should educators consider when choosing digital tools for underserved students? Retrieved from

ISTE FOR COACHES 3-Digital Age Learning Evironments

Technology coaches create and support effective digital age learning environments to maximize the learning of all students.

3a. 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.

3c. 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.

Inquiry Question:

How can encourage teachers to take risks to use new digital technology into class and motivate student lead meaningful learning with digital tools in technology-rich learning environment? Especially for the younger age students

In the digital world, more and more schools recognize the importance of digital technology, which takes the key role in fostering student digital competences for the 21st century and benefiting their sustainable lifelong learning. Also, digital technology can fulfill differentiated learning to improve student engagement, motivation, and innovation. Since technology has been exerting a significant influence on education, teachers need to explore new teaching strategies to build a productive digital age learning environment for students. 

Changing is always being a tough process in which teachers need to get inspired and build up the confidence to look for appropriate digital technology for appropriate ages and implement effectively to scaffold students to achieve learning outcomes. Facing thousands of digital resources, digital tools, and strategies, teachers need a clear direction to guide them to move on positively rather than stopping without motivation. With a clear direction, technology as the vehicle will take education closer to the destination.

Introducing different kinds of digital tools is not the goal for technology coaches. The goal is to provide explicit guidance for teachers to make up the gap which traditional teaching cannot fill in and then achieve learning outcomes meeting the needs of the 21st century’s. One digital tool cannot fit all teachers needs. So the technology coaches should model teachers seek the meaningful ways to integrate technology seamlessly rather than just using it as the replacement of paper or calculators and also keep teachers up to date with the latest available technological tools. It will be a positive circle created while teachers design classes using technology to support teaching and learning effectively, and both students and teachers will get motivated and ready for making efforts on the integration.  Teachers will have experiences of experimentation and trial-and-error in this adventure, but within the bright light (guidance), they will be motivated to take risks.

The Role of Digital Technology in Education

In the developing digital age learning environment, the highest priority is not to have teachers to use technology for its sake, but rather to embed technology appropriately to lead meaningful learning and apply related technology skills to students to benefit their future lives. Technology should facilitate the learning process but not create or control the learning goals.

As the technology coaches, we need to have teachers know how meaningful use of technology works mighty in the learning process, which will help to meet teachers’ different needs to achieve learning goals through productive ways. And model teachers not focus on the endless digital tools more than thinking over on learning to explore appropriate digital tools for reaching the learning goals.

Which Digital Tools Can Be Adapted?

-Keep learning the latest educational digital tools (From Peers, Coach, Online, PD)

It is vital for teachers to keep gaining the latest knowledge of new technologies. They can learn from PLNs (Twitter, EdSurge) to share their experiences and learn from others. The technology coaches also need to provide professional development courses to introduce useful digital tools and successful integration cases to cheer teachers passions.

-Learn from students

We also need to hear from students’ voices, which is essential for leading meaningful student-centered learning. In my iPad class, my students always told me which apps they want to use for demonstrating their artifacts. It is a secret to tapping into younger students’ intrinsic motivation towards technology to help them learn. You will be surprised by their over-expected achievement and enjoyment. I will always be proud of my Kindergarten students when they introduce their favorite digital tools and collaborate with others to lead student-centered learning. I am glad to design meaningful learning activities with their favorite tools to achieve the learning goals.

How to Embed Digital Technology Effectively

-Create meaningful learning activities from four aspects (understanding, communicating, collaborating, creating)

Technology coaches should encourage teachers to find digital tools to facilitate learning activities from these four facets and help teachers to evaluate the effects of technology to achieve the final goals. Technology coaches need to fill in every step of integration to reduce the potential risk of fails.


Research on multimedia learning has demonstrated more positive outcomes for students who learn from resources that effectively combine words and pictures, rather than those that include words alone (Mayer, 2008). Teachers need to think over a meaningful interaction within digital technology involved in learning activities purposefully to improve understanding, especially for the younger students. 


Vygotsky’s (1978) sociocultural theory argues that social interactions can facilitate the development of higher-order functions when they take place in cultural contexts. Students learn when they interact and communicate with other learners in a positive environment.  This theory provides teachers with guidance on integrating technology effectively in classes that should be used to facilitate communication among learners in the class, within a school, between schools, and around the world. Teachers can adapt meaningful technology-embedded communication learning activities, including blogging, presentation, online discussion forums, and emails. 


Technology can provide an online environment of virtual worlds to increase the possibility of collaborative learning’s occurring. Research with students who have used such virtual worlds have demonstrated that students engage deeply with the content and gain teamwork skills that support them in collaboratively and effectively solving the problems presented to them (Barab, Gresalfi &Arici, 2009). Teachers should integrate the appropriate digital tools to design authentic, collaborative learning activities to prepare and extend student deep learning in the technology-rich environment. 


Students are expected to be innovative in the 21st century. When teachers implement digital learning activities, they need to focus on increasing creation and imagination to scaffold student to have brainstorm and demonstrate their learning outcomes through creative ways.

When teachers integrate technology into above four aspects seamlessly through learning activities, they will scaffold students to achieve learning outcomes through productive ways and also enhance engagement and motivation which will also inspire teachers to explore more effective strategies on technology integration to support meaningful learning.

Teachers should think about following questions before implementing technology into classes:

-Does digital technology improve student understandings, help the student to construct long-term memories to have deep understandings of learning content?

-Does digital technology provide more opportunities for communication between peers, schools, and countries?

-Does digital technology create opportunities for collaboration to lead the student to have authentic learning in a group set?

-Does digital technology lead students to have a brainstorm on the learning process?

-Can the embedded digital technology be replaced by other non-technological tools?

-Does digital technology help to reach learning goals and enhance student engagement and motivation?

Evaluation for the Next Moving On

The technology coaches need to model teachers evaluate all kinds of technological tools, digital resources, and strategies that they used for teaching and learning. The evaluation will help teachers to know the potential issues and results of the technology integration. They need to consider the No/Not sure answers and improve the design through the process of identify-adjust-modify-implement. The process will be back and forth, which will weaken teachers confidence and passion. However, when the teachers see the different levels of learning achievement, their inspiration will be built up.

-Is the digital technology appropriate for the age and year level of the students? 

•   Are there links between the content/functions of digital technology and the expectations of the curriculum? 

-Dose the digital resources focus on schema construction directly?

-Dose the digital resources and learning activities not related to schema construction directly?

-Will technology integration help teach the curriculum in new or different ways? 

-Are digital sources reliable? 

-Does digital content encourage higher-order thinking? 

-Does digital content present multiple perspectives? 

-Will students be actively involved in using the digital tool? 

-Is feedback provided? Is the feedback appropriate and meaningful? 

-Are assessment tasks included, or can the teacher develop relevant assessment tasks that link to the use of the digital tool? 

-Can all aspects of the digital tool be integrated easily into classroom activities? 

-Can the digital tool be used for multiple curriculum units? 

-Does digital technology use to support or distract from the learning activity? 

-Is the digital tool easy to use and intuitive? 

-Does the digital tool work consistently? 

-Are there special technical requirements for using the tool? Does the school have access to those requirements? 

-Does the tool have multiple forms of help (manuals, context-sensitive help, and tutorials)? 

-Are teaching support materials or online resources available to help a teacher embed the tool into lessons? 

The technology coaches need to provide clear guidance from why what and how to pilot digital technology in classes to have teachers understand how powerful technology will be if teachers integrate it in effective and meaningful ways. Teachers will meet their learning goals from innovative ways to scaffold student construct new knowledge and also cultivate digital competences for the digital world. Teachers will get inspired to take risks when they see the destination get closer. They will have full passions to pave the path for students to get more engaged and motivated in learning. Any digital tool cannot replace a good teacher, but a good teacher can get support from appropriate digital technology to empower student learning in a digital age.


Eady, M., & Lockyer, L. (2013). Tools for learning: technology and teaching strategies. Retrieved from;Tools

Harris, J., & Hofer, M. (2009). Grounded Tech Integration: An Effective Approach Based on Content, Pedagogy, and Teacher Planning. Retrieved from

What if? Let’s reimagine learning. Technology can help. Retrieved from

Piccolo, L. (2017). How can teachers encourage learning by using technology in the classroom. Retrieved from

Joshson, K. (2016). 5 things teachers want from PD, and how coaching and collaboration can deliver them—if implementation improves. Retrieved from

Rebora, A. (2016). Teachers still struggling to use tech to transform instruction, survey finds. Retrieved from

ISTE For Coach 2-Teaching, Learning and Assessments

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.

  • Coach teachers in and model design and implementation of technology-enhanced learning experiences using differentiation, including adjusting content, process, product and learning environment based on student readiness levels, learning styles, interests and personal goals.
  • 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.

Inquiry Question: How can the technology coach meet the diverse needs of different teachers to use technology to enhance student learning?

Why Teachers Need A Technology Coach?

One survey in 2016 shows that 97% of teachers are impacted and inspired by colleagues on integrating technology into classrooms. They valued their co-workers to share sparkle ideas on creative teaching in the digital age to enhance students digital competence for the 21st century. Teachers need to adjust their teaching practice with the support of technologies to meet diverse needs of all students to provide more opportunities of authentic learning including collaboration, creativity, and innovation, and preparing students to be productive digital-age citizens. Many teachers who are good at using technology, are less so on leadership and strategies to adapt teachers at their individual needs and particular teaching goals as expectations. But the technology coaches can fill in this gap. Technology coaches need to keep learning at the forefront and being equipped by the latest knowledge both on technology and teaching strategies to support and model teachers on multi-facets to benefit student learning more than just introduce some cool new digital technology tools.

The Effective Coaching Cycle

Source: Pierce, 2015, p. 27.

Before Coaching


Observation provides a good chance for technology coaches to know the coached teacher better and sooner. When the technology coach immerses into the learning and teaching environment where they are going to work with the participants, they can gain the useful data and collect and analyze the data to meet the teachers and students diverse needs. Every teacher has their own way to teach and has their own particular goals on specific content, and the technology coach needs to honor teacher’s expertise and don’t make any judgment which is paving the path for partnership rather than hierarchical relationship. The technology coach can start generating ideas and plan around particular needs while monitoring to embed technology into the right place to scaffold student to achieve learning outcomes and reach teacher’s expectation. Moreover, technology should play the supportive rather than starring role, so the technology coaches need to focus on how to integrate technology seamlessly to help teachers to reach the learning goals rather than what technologies can be used.

-Key Questions

The technology coach needs to navigate different technologies to make sure the integration can lead to meaningful learning. Following are the questions the coach should be considered. And also the coach should discuss the critical questions with the coached teacher to provide a clear direction on how best to use technology in the class and get rid of all potential misunderstandings between each other. The technology coach needs to make the teacher understand the goal of coaching and build a solid alliance and willing to work with the coach together to benefit student learning.

• Why do you want to use this technology here?

• Why hasn’t the approach that you’ve been doing in the past worked?

• How do you hope the technology will change it?

• Can technology make this idea more relevant to students?

• Can it push the lesson up a notch, or can it enhance things for students by allowing them to do something that they couldn’t do without the technology? For example, does the technology allow students to collaborate beyond the classroom walls?

• Is the technology making possible a certain level of transparency for the teacher to assess where students are individual?

• Does the technology provide a platform for students to be creative without overbearing them with gadgets and apps?

During Coaching


When the technology coaches create a suitable plan for a specific lesson or a unit, they need to demonstrate and model how to implement this practice to the coached teacher. They might model the practice out of the class and also in the class. During the coaching process, the coaches need to change the roles to adapt the diverse needs. They will be technology leaders, PD coordinators, co-teachers, and facilitators. They also need to implement formative assessments to collect date from students which can show the outcomes of improvement. The whole coaching process will go back and forth (assess, adjust, revise, redesign, re-implement), the technology coaches should communicate any baby steps with the teacher in time to make sure the whole plan meets the teacher’s particular needs and impact the learners’ performances effectively.

After Coaching

-Effective Feedback

The feedback is the most effective way to inspire teachers’ growth in the profession. After the implementation, the technology coach needs to provide an honest, positive, timely, corrective feedback of the teacher’s teaching practice which should be evidence-based from formal and informal data. The feedback will anchor the new problems and more needs, which will lead to another round of coaching cycle to refine and modify the teaching practice. Coaching is not one-shot technology-focused professional development session, is a long-term collaboration with teachers to provide supports on meaningfully and seamlessly integrating technology. The feedback as a phased reflection is not the end of coaching, but it is a start for another cycle.

Alliance Building Strategies

The best coaching relationship should have a deep understanding and trust built in. Different teachers have different needs and specific goal for specific learning content. As the technology coach, needs to listen to the teacher’s concerns and have an empathetic heart. The coach should meet teachers’ schedule to have effective communication face-to-face or online to understand the teachers’ needs in time without any judgemental and evaluative language and provide support to meet the goals. The coach and teacher need to build trust and partnership to collaborate with each other to enhance learning achievement.

Source: Pierce, 2015, p. 138.


Making Technology Work. Retrieved from

Effective Coaching: Improving Teacher Practice and Outcomes for All Learners. Retrieved from

Sheehy, K., & Ceballos, L (2018, August 21). Technology Use Must, First and Foremost , Be Designed to Support Learning Goals, Not the Other Way Around. Retrieved from

Ehsanipour, T., Zaccarelli, F. G., & Stanford University. (2017, July). Exploring Coaching for Powerful Technology Use in Education. Retrieved from

ISTE 3&6 Citizen and Facilitator

Educators inspire students to positively contribute to and responsibly participate in the digital world.

  • 3a. Create experiences for learners to make positive, socially responsible contributions and exhibit empathetic behavior online that build relationships and community.
  • 3b. Establish a learning culture that promotes curiosity and critical examination of online resources and fosters digital literacy and media fluency.
  • 3c. Mentor students in safe, legal and ethical practices with digital tools and the protection of intellectual rights and property.
  • 3d. Model and promote management of personal data and digital identity and protect student data privacy.

Educators facilitate learning with technology to support student achievement of the ISTE Standards for Students.

  • 6a. Foster a culture where students take ownership of their learning goals and outcomes in both independent and group settings.
  • 6b. Manage the use of technology and student learning strategies in digital platforms, virtual environments, hands-on makerspaces or in the field.
  • 6c. Create learning opportunities that challenge students to use a design process and computational thinking to innovate and solve problems.
  • 6d. Model and nurture creativity and creative expression to communicate ideas, knowledge or connections.

Inquiry Question

How can teachers pass more agency to inspire younger students to lead student-centered learning with digital technology and foster their digital citizenship in the learning process?

To be Warriors without Worries

In our school, we pilot BYOD initiate in K-5. Since we extend this program down to Elementary and Kindergarten, the most concern from both teachers and parents is how to protect students from the negative sides of digital technologies, such as potential harmful online resources, the risks of low self-regulation and low self-efficiency. Instead of worries, we need to seek appropriate approaches to equip younger students with critical thinking, and digital competencies in authentic ways to practice these skills and develop a mature mindset for the 21st century. Teachers should scaffold and motivate younger students to leverage digital technology to lead student-centered learning independently or collaboratively and foster digital citizenship authentically rather than abstractly which will benefit students to be lifelong learners and good citizens in the digital world.

Safe Environment- A Shield in Digital World; Digital Competency- Being Equipped

Mini-Lessons to Teach How to Search Online Through A Safe Engine and Foster Digital Citizenship

How to search online will be the essential skills and the threshold for younger students to lead empowered learning using digital tools and is also a sign for teachers to pass more or less agency depending on whether students master and improve the ability. Teachers can break down the research skills into small acceptable, practical mini-lessons integrated into regular classes to lead authentic learning and build students confidence at the same time. For the younger students, they cannot grasp solid skills until they connect the knowledge with the real world and practice by small steps. The kid-friendly search engine will be the best starting, which is designed for children as a firewall protects students from inappropriate content. Like Kidzsearch, it is powered by Google that emphasizes safety for kids and provides videos, and image sections, which are a handy tool to provide younger students with a safe environment.

Get Ready to Search with Five Steps


This is a brainstorming step which needs students to think what information they want to look for in their searches. Teachers can have students discuss keywords, alternative phrases, and generating questions.


This is a practice step which needs students to transfer their ideas into reality. Students will see different search terms cause different results and find out which are closer to their expectation to foster computational thinking.


In this step, teachers need to have students delve whether the results are reliable or not from the URL. Also, have students to build a good habit to verify the sources before open the links.


The flowchart provided by explains this step.


It always is excited that students find what they need from thousands of results for their work. Now we need to bring up the copyright and plagiarism. This is also an essential step to foster digital citizenship from a young age. Students need to understand and respect the rights of using and sharing others’ work. Kathy Schrock’s PDF document can give ideas on how to progressively teach citation from grades 1 to 6 (and beyond). It provides some clear examples that you could adapt for classroom use.

When the teachers provide mini-lessons on research online, they also can embed Digital Passport into regular classes to foster digital citizenship, which is provided by Common Sense.

The mini-lessons as a win-win mode will help students to build good habits and mature mindset when they explore online information for learning goals and also can be integrated into classes seamlessly. Students will improve the digital skills and digital citizenship from authentic learning by small steps and make connections between the digital world and the real world to develop brain growth to transfer cognition. The mini-lessons are paving the path for teachers to pass more agency to younger students on empowered learning.

Kidblog-A Safe Platform to Track Students Growth and Build Self-Regulation

Kidblog is a safe digital space for younger students to foster digital citizenship and build confidence in student-centered learning under the teacher’s scaffolding. It allows younger students to blog with various formats such as videos, images, and audios to reflect learning outcomes which will be posted privately only visible by teachers firstly. Students will grow their audience sharing work after get approved by the teacher with classmates, other classes, or across the world and learn from others. It is the same process as the comments with which students will foster digital citizenship and learn how to contribute and give credit to others to build a healthy digital community. The built-in portfolios as the showcase help to track self-regulation and digital citizenship growth for each student to inspire and motivate them to have a high level of self-efficiency on learning with digital tools.

For the younger students, the necessary digital skills and safe environment tools are paving the path for them to achieve learning outcomes through digital technology when they get empowered. But in the process, the teacher’s role as supervisor and facilitator are also crucial for keeping younger students on the track to be good citizens in the digital world and develop digital competencies and cognition. As educators for younger students, we need to seek age-appropriate ways to equip them. Since younger students have limited ability to handle the concept of abstracts, the teacher needs to provide more opportunities and agency to practice digital citizenship and skills in authentic and tangible ways.


Ferlazzo, L. (2016, September 24). Response: ‘Freedom to Fail’ Creates a Positive Learning Environment. Retrieved from

Morris, K. (2018, February 23). 5 Tips For Teaching Students How To Research Online And Filter Information (Free eBook And Posters). Retrieved from

Poth, R. (2018, April 18). A better way to track growth and promote reflection. Retrieved from

Fingal, D. (2017, December 14). Infographic: Citizenship in the digital age. Retrieved from

ISTE 5&7-Designer and Analyst

Educators design authentic, learner-driven activities and environments that recognize and accommodate learner variability.

  • Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.
  • Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.
  • Explore and apply instructional design principles to create innovative digital learning environments that engage and support learning.

Educators understand and use data to drive their instruction and support students in achieving their learning goals.

  • Provide alternative ways for students to demonstrate competency and reflect on their learning using technology.
  • Use technology to design and implement a variety of formative and summative assessments that accommodate learner needs, provide timely feedback to students and inform instruction.
  • Use assessment data to guide progress and communicate with students, parents and education stakeholders to build student self-direction.


Our school has piloted BYOD initiate for several years. We keep seeking appropriate instructional approaches to foster student competence of independent learning leveraging the digital device (iPad) which is critical to gain the emerging knowledge in the flourishing digital world. Learning is the sole activity in schools. How to learn with digital technology and how to cultivate the ability of autonomous learning is the destination for education in the 21st century. In the BYOD context, the digital device drives students to accommodate to use digital technologies to support independent learning; it also makes more chances and paves the way for meaningful learning to meet student diversity. Our school use iPads as the device for BYOD initiate from 3-7. We want to see more and more students changing from consumers to mature producers and contributors who will be self-efficiency and self-discipline while using iPads on learning and influence peers positively. This journey is tough and full of unknown varieties, but when we have a baby step and go further and further, we can see the fantastic scene never been seen-students can use digital tools to explore valuable, reliable resources to support deep learning to solve authentic problems actively and independently.

Flipped Classroom

Flipped Classrooms-Extend School to Home: Open the door to Independent Learning

In the digital world, as technology becomes handy and flexible, the strategy of flipped classrooms is used by more and more educators. Flipped classrooms provide more time for in-depth discussion and activities rather than receiving instructional content passively in the class. In flipped classrooms mode, students are supposed to get equipped with new knowledge using digital tools autonomously at home during the learning process. They need to watch the related videos which are created by the teachers to construct knowledge before the further in-depth learning practices in the class. Flipped classrooms extend the school to home paving the path for the independent learning and increase engagement, get a higher achievement and better attitudes toward learning and school.


Teachers have zero control over what happens at home

When teachers extend the school to home, they gain more time for learning activities in the class, but they also lose control over what happens at home. Teachers cannot guarantee every student keeps the same pace as expected at home and they might spend more time with the student individually who did not finish the flipped learning. Teachers will take more risks and drop confidence when their students have not gotten mature competence of autonomous learning using digital tools yet.

Hardware Requirement

-Stable and compatible digital device

-Consistent and reliable Internet access

-Alternative device or network when something gets broken

-Available VPN access

In-Class Flipped Classrooms Make Up the Challenges and Catalyse Independent Learning in BYOD Context

Considering the challenges and potential risks of traditional flipped classrooms, In-Class Flip bright my eyes which compensates the drawbacks and catalyzes independent learning under teacher’s scaffold. Just like a traditional flip, In-Class Flip is needed the teacher pre-records instruction videos, but instead of having students watch the content at home, the videos will be viewed independently in the class. In the BYOD environment, students will be encouraged to lead individualized learning using their iPads, and they can get support immediately from the teacher to meet diverse needs. It makes it possible for teachers to master each student learning situation in time and control the variabilities to low the risks on flipped learning. Students can review the videos and ask questions without interrupting the entire class and get feedback immediately. In-Class Flip fulfills student differentiae and passes more agency to students to cultivate the manner of independent, meaningful learning and achieve the learning goal eventually. Teachers can use this In-Class Flipped working with other activities to mix independent learning and group learning together to make sure all students understand new concepts from different forms of reflections.

EdPuzzle-Helps to Collect Data from Student Independent Learning and Fulfil the Diversity

EdPuzzle is a tool which can scaffold teachers to modify videos for the flipped classroom to customize the instruction. In the EdPuzzle interface, it provides a searching toolbox which allows teachers to grab videos from many common video sites (YouTube, TED-Ed, etc.) and edit the videos to meet their different teaching goals. Teachers can trim the video, insert audio notes, add voice over and questions in the video for different needs. Students will get a clear understanding from audio notes for emphasized content and have to answer the embedded questions to continue forward. The questions can be Ture/False questions or open-ended response questions. Teachers also can provide feedback for each question after students submitted. EdPuzzle somehow slows the flipped learning by questions which allows students to spend more time to think and build new concepts.  The “Import from Google Classroom” function can save teachers much time on setting up the roster. EdPuzzle has another great function to monitor student learning progress. Teachers can trace and get reports quickly of each student learning status to make sure the independent learning on the track to the destination. EdPuzzle will show teachers if students watched the whole video, and if they re-watched parts of it, and how many time they did so, and their results on the inserted questions. This function is very useful and informative for teachers to analyze their student learning situation and get to know them better. Teachers can emphasize and clear the content in the class which students struggled and confused depending on the reports. Teachers can use the data to enhance their instructional videos to meet diverse needs to promote student learning achievement maximumly. Each student’s report will be different from the beginning to the end of one semester which proves student promotion on independent learning that can be the inspiration to both teachers and students.

In the BYOD (iPad) context, every student has a digital device. Teachers don’t have to consider more about the digital divide in the class which provides more chances for teachers to seek an appropriate approach to scaffold students to leverage device to foster independent learning. The journey to independent learning will be tough and back and forth. So teachers need enough patience and brave to take risks to benefit student lifelong learning for the 21st century. Before students reach maturity phase of autonomous learning, teachers can adopt In-Class Flipped strategy and contribute class time to students on watching videos to learn some certain content or a feature of a digital tool. In this process, teachers can provide immediate support to build student confidence on independent learning with iPads. Students will reflect their understanding in learning activities or a project. While student’s capability is growing up, teachers can pass more agency to students to have them watch videos within more and more new concepts in the class. Teachers can use EdPuzzle to custom-build instructions and design-adjust-modify-redesign the best way to meet diverse needs and cultivate student independence. While students are all making progress and getting closer to the destination, they will need less and less reliance and gain more and more autonomy. Ideally, teachers will transfer In-Class Flipped to the real flipped classroom which happens at home to lead personalized learning with digital technology’s support.


Watson, T. (2017, July 6). Flipping the Flipped Classroom. Retrieved March 19, 2018, from

Kleij, F. V., Adie, L., & Cumming, J. (2016). Using video technology to enable student voice in assessment feedback. British Journal of Educational Technology,48(5), 1092-1105. doi:10.1111/bjet.12536

Walsh, K. (2016). Add Questions to Videos and Monitor Student Progress, for Free, with EdPuzzle. Retrieved from

Gonnalez, J. (2014). Modifying the Flipped Classroom: The “In-Class” Version. Retrieved from

Carter, N. (2014, August 4).Genius Hour and the 6 Essentials of Personalized Education. Retrieved from

Young, J. R. (2017, March 17). For Online Class Discussions, Instructors Move From Text to Video – EdSurge News. Retrieved March 19, 2018, from

ISTE 1&2 Learner and Leader

Learner : Educators continually improve their practice by learning from and with others and exploring proven and promising practices that leverage technology to improve student learning. Educators:

1a. Set professional learning goals to explore and apply pedagogical approaches made possible by technology and reflect on their effectiveness.

1b. Pursue professional interests by creating and actively participating in local and global learning networks.

1c. Stay current with research that supports improved student learning outcomes, including findings from the learning sciences.

Leader: Educators seek out opportunities for leadership to support student empowerment and success and to improve teaching and learning. Educators:

2a. Shape, advance and accelerate a shared vision for empowered learning with technology by engaging with education stakeholders.

2b. Advocate for equitable access to educational technology, digital content and learning opportunities to meet the diverse needs of all students.

2c. Model for colleagues the identification, exploration, evaluation, curation and adoption of new digital resources and tools for learning.

Teacher as a creative profession, need to seek lifelong learning to catch up with the current trend of education. Emerging digital technology brings educational transformation which indicates the significant changes in teaching and learning. Facing the changes, teachers need to be inspired to take the risk to have a deep dive in seeking new ways suitable for the 21st century’s needs to prepare our students for the digital era. In my last blog, I discussed social media as a powerful tool can build a broad network (PLN) connecting worldwide educators to enhance collaboration and inspiration among them. Educators can create their PLN or join PLNs to learn from and learn with others to make the network stronger and more influential. Teachers will always act actively and feel satisfaction when they get empowered in PD relevant to their interests and specific classroom context. Social media and PLNs also provide an alternative platform that provokes them to take the lead in the digital world to contribute their experiences and expertise. Also, enable teachers to spend majority time in informal sustained PD to gain growth and flame their passion on the profession but still have some challenges that need to be focused on.

The Obstacle of Starting out
We always talked about the power of social media and PLNs. However, it always being the pain for some teachers who might ask the questions “What is the next step I can do after creating a twitter account? ”, “How can I find like-minded educators in the PLNs?”. For some reason, these teachers are too nervous about using technologies and will get overwhelmed soon if they cannot gain positive energy from other technology enthusiasts. The percentage of this group of teachers should be high. They need more help and direction to reduce the daunting of technologies before they integrate any technology tools into their classes effectively to benefit student learning.

Being Mindful of the Reliability Online
Because of the few gatekeepers and the low costs of participation of social media, anyone can share experiences regardless of qualification or motive. When the educators join a PLN to seek help and collaboration, they will not know the reliability of the members and the resources which needs to be mindful. Some who are holding extreme partisan attitude on educational technologies may or may not have real experiences in teaching practice.

Edcamp is Like the Soil Nourished Teacher-Powered PD to be Stronger and Healthier
Edcamp is recognized as one model of effective PDs which subverts traditional top-down form, supports teachers openly exchange ideas and provides opportunities for collaboration and leadership. It is a grass-roots approach gathering educators together who are holding enthusiasm on teaching and learning in the digital world to pursue new instruction methods to foster student’s skills suitable for the 21st century and the ability to deal with the potential ambiguities and varieties for the future. It has a teacher-driven, inquiry-based structure with which teachers get totally empowered, their ideas are matter, and their voices are heard. In the Edcamp, every teacher will be considered as an equal collaborator to learn from and learn with other educators who have rich experiences or have similar interests and needs. Because of the voluntary nature and face-to-face unconference form of Edcamp, every participant is welcoming and willing to help which shapes a healthy and reliable platform for global educators to interact and inspire each other. Edcamp provides a seedbed for the effective and invigorated PLNs created and shone on teacher’s professional growth. Social media can be used to highlight and continue the work to extend the influence of Edcamp among teachers.

Policymaker’s Support
As the Edcamps can provide a reliable and healthy platform for teacher’s growth, policymakers should consider how to encourage and harness teacher-powered learning instead of setting constrainers on the shapes of PD. If the policymakers can embrace teacher-driven and self-identified PD, teachers will be more active and seek more opportunities for leadership to lead development and revolution in education.

As we always talk about the new requirements for students for the 21st century, who need to foster abilities to leverage technology to support their autonomous learning, facilitate the issues of technology, and select and use digital tools to plan and manage meaningful learning. As educators in the digital era, we always are the learners while getting professional growth. While we are paving the way for cultivating abilities for our students, the abilities also are necessary for us, the life-long learners.


Wake, D., & Mills, M. (2018). Edcamp: Listening to the Voices of Teachers. Issues in Teacher Education, 27(3), 90–106. Retrieved from

Carpenter, J. P. (2016). Teachers at the Wheel. Educational Leadership, 73(8), 30–35. Retrieved from

The EdCamp Experience: Guest Post. (2019). Retrieved from

Buteau, C. (2019). My Experience at Edcamp – ESL Blogs. Retrieved from

Carpenter, J. P., & Linton, J. N. (2016). Edcamp unconferences: Educators perspectives on an untraditional professional learning experience. Teaching and Teacher Education,57, 97-108. doi:10.1016/j.tate.2016.03.004

ISTE 4 – Collaborator – for Educators

Educators dedicate time to collaborate with both colleagues and students to improve practice, discover and share resources and ideas, and solve problems. Educators:

4a. Dedicate planning time to collaborate with colleagues to create authentic learning experiences that leverage technology

4b. Collaborate and co-learn with students to discover and use new digital resources and diagnose and troubleshoot technology issues.

4c.  Use collaborative tools to expand students’ authentic, real-world learning experiences by engaging virtually with experts, teams, and students, locally and globally.

4d.  Demonstrate cultural competency when communicating with students, parents, and colleagues and interact with them as co-collaborators in student learning.

Teachers as the most important factor determine students’ success in learning. As digital technology getting involved in education, teachers are facing significant changes in learning and teaching. They need to equip themselves with the latest knowledge and skills to get ongoing professional growth to adapt to the digital world. Since the traditional PD has many drawbacks which cannot satisfy every individual teacher’s needs and interests, seek more collaboration with colleagues is the key to provoke growth of the whole teachers’ needs. Digital tools make collaboration easier and wider which can provide more opportunities to create tight connections among educators to pave a creative path for students to gain the competencies for the 21st century. Moreover, at the same time, teachers can sustain their professional growth on cognition and emotion by supporting, influencing, and inspiring each other to leave the comfort zone to get ready for the future educational journey.

Integrate Social Media to get more collaboration- provoke informal PD andsave the traditional PD from the Death Valley

A failed PD experience

Our school started PD on technology integration one year ago. As the Ed tech person and the teacher for the iPad class, I was asked to lead a workshop to introduce some good iPad Apps which have potential benefits to improve students’ innovative learning. In the two hours of the workshop, I tried to give more time to teachers to pilot these Apps and ask questions. I shared some creative artifacts using these Apps which can inspire teachers to have a brainstorm on their instruction. I can see their enthusiasm and positive attitude on the transformation from technology. I thought this was a successful PD as I extended the time of discussion and brainstorm. However, after the PD, I got feedback from teachers about the obstacles and issues that occurred when they piloted these Apps with students from many different facets. Because of the limitation of time, no continually in-time support, lack of expert’s support, isolated by classrooms, they finally gave up.

The isolation is the key factor caused the failure which brings the traditional PD into a death valley: teachers cannot get ongoing support to meet individual’s needs; they cannot get in-time inspiration when they had a tough journey; they cannot get valuable advice and feedback from who has rich knowledge on different facets. We need collaboration to water the death valley to bring the PD back to the flourishing life. The effective PD is crucial to teachers’ professional growth which needs to be an integral, ongoing part of teachers lives and meet diverse interests and needs in various domains. The digital tools are powerful to make collaboration meaningful and more comprehensive that enable teachers to get worldwide perspectives and support sustainably; Teachers will not be isolated by classrooms, towns, and countries anymore. They are connected to build a robust ecosystem with a positive attitude, professional passion, and inspiration.

PLNs-Make global collaboration possible and provoke informal PD

Teaching is a creative profession which should not be set many constrainers to limit its development. PLNs are transforming PD and teachers’ mindset of PD. With PLNs, PD will change to informal learning driven by teachers without constrainer of time and location. Teachers will get empowered to hold the ownership of their PD to seek helpful resources and collaboration met individual needs and interests related to teaching and learning rather than being a passive receiver. PLNs help to flatten walls among nations to build the connection to thousands of educators from every corner of the world sharing perspectives, discussing and solving problems together. Teachers collaborating with others with the same profession and same needs through PLNs will influence each other on affective, social and cognitive aspects to gain the holistic growth of teachers’ needs. PLNs create a flexible platform through which educators can dedicate time to collaborate with others by real-time interaction or asynchronous discussions to improve teaching practice and share resources and ideas.

Edmodo-the widely used PLN with special features to provide more collaboration

Collaboration among a certain group of teachers

Extend one-shot PD by creating a collaborative group

Although the traditional PD has many drawbacks, we cannot ignore the power it brings to teachers’ professional growth. It can strength teachers’ sense of presence and be taken care of. Edmodo can help to compensate for the shortcomings of traditional PD and sustain ongoing discussion and sharing among teachers. With the Group feature, teachers can build collaboration with a certain group of teachers after the PD for exchanging perspectives, sharing obstacles and transferring energy when they attempt to implement new skills into their teaching practices without the constrainer of time. Teachers can create their digital portfolio for sharing helpful resources, implementing process and experiences in the library to contribute to help others. Through the posting notes and comments, teachers can seek or provide quick or in-time support. With creating collaborative groups, teachers will extend their communication and collaboration without limited by the form of one-shot PD. They are building PLNs while using Edmodo and strengthen connections with the group members to gain more confidence to take risks on changes and also create an active climate for a school or a district to encourage teachers to leave their comfort zone to take challenges which will potentially benefit students’ future learning for the 21st century. While these dynamic groups are getting stronger, the valuable experiences will contribute to the growth of the global healthy educational ecosystem which can light the spark of other educators’ similar journey.

Collaboration between students and teachers

In the Edmodo teachers are allowed to invite students into different classes. These classes can be divided by different topics or projects, as a space for students and teachers to work collaboratively to share ideas and resources to solve authentic problems which can motivate students’ engagement and enhance the skill of communication. With collaboration, teachers will get professional growth from learning with students through discovering and using digital resources and getting through difficulties.

Get global collaboration based on interests and needs

Edmodo provides many topics allowed teachers to follow. Teachers can choose different topics based on interests and needs to join the global collaboration and conversation to seek instant supports or light a spark of ideas from veterans. From the posts, teachers can get more relevant resources, and latest news contributed by other educators from the world. Since teachers get the freedom to choose the topic they are interested in, they will hold much enthusiasm to be immersed in further collaboration to get a bigger leap on professional growth. Everyone’s experiences and artifacts will scaffold the worldwide PLN getting stronger and broader to lead a healthy climate for every educator’s growth.

In the digital world, one teacher’s pace can never catch up the speeding of emerging technologies. So teachers need to break up isolation to build connection and collaboration with the scaffold of digital tools and strategies. For the 21st century’s educators, need to dedicate time to collaborate with colleagues to benefit the whole teachers’ needs ; learn with students collaboratively to get growth together; and build a powerful system strength teachers confidence and the sense of responsibility to take risks to explore new forms of instruction meet the needs of 21st century.


Alberth, Mursalim, Siam, Suardika, I. K., & Ino, L. (2018). Social Media as a Conduit for Teacher Professional Development in the Digital Era: Myths, Promises or Realities? TEFLIN Journal: A Publication on the Teaching and Learning of English, 29(2), 293–306. Retrieved from

Trust, T. (2012). Professional Learning Networks Designed for Teacher Learning. Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education, 28(4), 133–138. Retrieved from

Requard, A. (2018, February 12). #ObserveMe: Improving Our Practice as Professionals. Retrieved from

Office of Educational Technology. Future Ready: Establishing a Professional Learning Ecosystem. (2016, April 05). Retrieved from

Trust, T., Krutka, D., & Carpenter, J. (2016). “Together we are better”: Professional learning networks for teachers. Computers & Education, 102, 15-34. doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2016.06.007