Category Archives: 02 – Teaching, Learning, & Assessments

Coaching Teachers and Technology: Mindset Matters

ISTE Coaching Standard 1

For module 1 of our EDTC 6105 course, we are focusing on ISTE Coaching Standard 1 indicator’s b and d. The standard focuses on visionary leadership when planning, developing, communicating, implementing, sustaining, and evaluating technology in classrooms, schools and/or at the district level. As I began reflecting on this standard, the first thing that came to my mind was: mindset. 

 

Throughout my 6 years in teaching, I have become aware of the ever-changing landscapes within the educational field. Although not all changes have been in the realm of technology many are. Technology has impacted almost every aspect of our lives today, and education is no exception. How differs from class, school, and district, but regardless comes with benefits and challenges. Some benefits include expanded access to education, global communication and collaboration, enhanced learning environments, and new instructional methodologies, and pedagogies. 

 

Technology is unique in that it is always evolving. In fact, as a teacher, I often hear that we are preparing students for jobs that don’t exist using technologies that haven’t been invented; in order to solve problems that we don’t even know are problems yet. This makes teaching with technology or directly teaching technology to students or teachers even more important but also even more challenging. Just when you think you have masted one technology another has come and replaced it. One take away I’ve had from this reality is that my mindset matters.

Mindset

What do I mean by “mindset”? I am referring to what psychologist Carol Dweck of Stanford University refers to as your beliefs. Dweck’s research on mindsets found that people hold beliefs about the world and the challenges in their lives, and suggests that most people fluctuate between a fixed or growth mindset based on messages in different contexts.  

  • Fixed Mindset: the belief that qualities are inborn, fixed, and unchangeable. 

  • Growth Mindset: the belief that abilities can be developed and strengthened by way of commitment and hard work.

You can see more about Growth Mindset from Carol Dweck’s TED Talk. 

I was just at a district-led training, where k-2 teachers were being taught how to use new iPad and Chromebook devices as well as, how to use an online learning platform that the district adopted. The climate in the room was mainly positive, and most teachers were eager to have devices and a learning platform that amplified student voice and agency. However, this does not mean things were in any way smooth or easy. No, throughout the training there were many times where teachers got lost or confused and encountered problems. One teacher eluded to the learning platform as a new language she had to learn. Even at the end of the 7 hour day, we had just scratched the surface of discovery with the new technologies. Nevertheless, teachers would soon face a new challenge. Going back and teaching or implementing it with students. This was going to require some hard work, planning, problem-solving, persistence, and some patience- all things involved in a growth mindset. 

Coaching a Growth Mindset

When embarking on a new journey it helps to have a coach, mentor or friend to motivate, encourage and help you. My role this quarter is to partner with a teacher and work as a peer coach to help them implement or enhance the learning in their classroom with technology. With the idea of mindset being the first step in tackling technology, I set out to answer the following question: 

 

“What are ways as a technology coach that I could foster and encourage a growth mindset in teachers who are learning new technology?”

 

To answer this question I went back to much of Dweck’s research. Additionally, I was fortunate to participate in a study conducted by Researchers Stephanie Fryberg at the University of Washington, Mary C. Murphy at Indiana University, and Megan Bang at Northwestern University who developed the Culturally Inclusive Growth Mindset curriculum to shape teachers’ beliefs about diverse students and teach them strategies for better engaging students from different racial and socioeconomic backgrounds. As part of the study I participated in 5-days of professional development training that focused on giving teachers the tools they need to promote a growth mindset for all learners. So some ideas were inspired by information learned at the training or through the experience.  

Different Contexts, Different Mindsets

During the week-long training we were introduced to three contexts in which fixed mindsets tend to come up:

o   Evaluative Situations– when given negative feedback people tend to shift to a fixed mindset.

o   High Effort Situations- when praised for the effortless, efficient, and easy ways we “got things done” leads people to quit or stop working when things get hard. 

o   Success of Others- tendencies to hide mistakes and deficiencies, so you avoid challenges. 

 

As a coach, I thought about times when this might be true for a teacher learning or applying new technology. For example, an administrator, teacher or parent questioning the validity or impact of the technology on learning (evaluative situations). When learning new technology and running into problems and questions that require perseverance and/ or asking for help (high effort situations). Or when coworkers or students are proficient with a technology you are novice or beginning with (success of others). 

 

There are many other examples of situations from my own experiences and observations where a fixed mindset has come into play with technology, and I’m sure other contexts. However, I find thinking about these three contexts to be a helpful lens as a coach. As I answer my question above I will use the three contexts to frame growth mindset strategies that may combat the tendency of fixed mindset in teachers when learning or implementing new technology. 

Fostering Growth Mindset as a Coach

Evaluative Situations:

  • Provide constructive feedback 

An important component of cultivating a growth mindset is providing specific feedback (Dweck, 2006). However, when coaching adults it’s important to frame feedback in constructive ways. One way to do this is to start by asking (or providing ideas for) teachers to select the type of feedback they receive. This helps establishes a basis for supportive feedback and helps them feel comfortable taking risks. Additionally, Dweck encourages that when giving feedback to offer strategies on how to overcome difficulties or challenges. 

 

  • Establish trust 

Research suggests that teachers feel more comfortable and are more successful when learning or trying new things when they feel supported by a trusting coach  (Harrison & Killion, 2007; Poglinco & Bach, 2004; Taylor, 2008). When beginning to establish trust work by Bean (2004) suggests that coaches can develop trust with teachers by “initially engaging with teachers in informal, low-intensity settings, like hallway conversations, and slowly working their way up to more intense, formal interactions.” (p 63, Gaely, 2016).  

 

Three ways to sustain trust:

Respect privacy

Refrain from judgment

Honor shared decision making

 

  • Create an environment where mistakes are viewed as learning opportunities

If mistakes are viewed as opportunities to learn, we can use them to reflect, set goals and grow (Dweck, 2006). Although, this can be scary for teachers it’s essential for a growth mindset. Framing new learning as a process can help foster a space where mistakes are valued and learned from (Edutopia, 2015). 

 

High Effort Situations:

  • Frame new learning challenges

During the growth mindset trainings, I was introduced to the power of framing. When introducing a new task or technology using frames such as:

“We’re going to step out of our comfort zone.”

“This will take time and practice.”

“It’s really important to support each other when we struggle.”

“This is an opportunity for new connections.”

 

  •  Normalize fixed mindset thoughts 

Acknowledging the fixed mindset as normal. We are a mixture of fixed and growth mindset and probably will always be. If we can acknowledge the fixed mindset thoughts and actions that arise we can use them as a reflective tool. In a follow up on Education Week Dweck acknowledged that misinterpretations of mindset lead people towards what she called, “false growth mindsets” and that in order to “help educators adopt a deeper, true growth mindset, one that will show in their classroom practices we should legitimize the fixed mindset.” (Dweck, 2015). Sharing your own learning struggles with teachers and letting them see that you have faced challenges and how you have overcome them can help foster a growth mindset. 

 

  • Give specific praise  

Dweck’s research on mindsets emphasizes that if we praise people on effective strategies or processes they’ve tried or used it conveys that they can develop their abilities and it suggests how this can be done. She refers to this as praising the process not product. Praising teacher’s hard work and commitment promotes a growth mindset if done so in intentional or specific ways.

 

 

Success of Others:

  • Allow time for personalized goal setting and reflection

Facilitating individualized goal setting that applies to teachers’ specific needs can help scaffold new learning and incentive the distance traveled not the end score. Also, providing a chance for teachers to reflect upon their work towards these goals and consider what they learned from the process is equally important (Dweck, 2006). 

References:

Banks, S. (2015, February 4). A Coach’s Toolkit: Three Ways to Build Trust. Retrieved October 13, 2019, from https://www.teachingchannel.org/blog/2015/02/04/coach-toolkit-building-trust.

 

Dweck, Carol S. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. New York: Random House, 2006.

 

Dweck, C. (2015, September 22). Carol Dweck Revisits the ‘Growth Mindset’. Retrieved October 13, 2019, from https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2015/09/23/carol-dweck-revisits-the-growth-mindset.html. 

 

Galey, S. (2016). The Evolving Role of Instructional Coaches in U.S. Policy Contexts. The William & Mary Educational Review, 4(2), 54–70. Retrieved from https://scholarworks.wm.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1044&context=wmer

 

Harrison, C., & Killion, J. (2007). Ten roles for teacher leaders. Educational Leadership, 65(1), 74-77. 

 

Heggart, K. (2015, February 4). Developing a Growth Mindset in Teachers and Staff. Retrieved October 13, 2019, from https://www.edutopia.org/discussion/developing-growth-mindset-teachers-and-staff

 

Mueller, C. M., & Dweck, C. S. (1998). Praise for intelligence can undermine children’s motivation and performance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75(1), 33-52.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.75.1.33

 

Poglinco, S. M., & Bach, A. J. (2004). The heart of the matter: Coaching as a vehicle for professional development. Phi Delta Kappan, 85(5), 398-400. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/fe2a/82b009f322b20c6e0c7446f5910bf44bc233.pdf?_ga=2.213720412.931333409.1571031294-1598136747.1571031294 

 

Taylor, J. E. (2008). Instructional coaching: The state of the art. In M. M. Mangin & S. R. Stoelinga (Eds.), Effective teacher leadership: Using research to inform and reform (pp. 10-35). New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

 

Tales from a Digital Learning Coach 1 month in…

This week, we are taking a look at ISTE Coaching Standard 1: Visionary Leadership. Specifically, I am concentrating on indicator b: Contribute to the planning, development, communication, implementation, and evaluation of technology-infused strategic plans at the district and school levels.

I have a name plate!

Before I became a coach I was a 6th grade teacher that tried to integrate technology as much as I could. Because of my love of all things tech (and makerspaces) the district asked me to apply for the Digital Learning Coach position. I didn’t know exactly what my position would be, and to be honest, I am still learning as I go. I did have the experience of one year of my masters in Digital Ed under my belt… However, knowing about the ISTE standards and actually applying them to a real life position are two entirely different things. My district sent me to a Coaching Workshop put on by the state, where I learned a lot about active listening, paraphrasing, then and only then could I ask a question. And it had to be a probing question.

On the first day of the new job, I got to meet the two other coaches that I would be working with. One used to have this position a few years ago and the other was a librarian for the district and all around tech goddess. So, there I was wondering what I would bring to bring to the table. Luckily, my district believes in life-long learners and they have let me go to as much PD as I have wanted. Not only that, but they encourage us to spend 1-2 hours a week on a genius project. So I have had a lot of time and opportunities to learn about coaching.

Building Relationships

Retrieved from: https://bit.ly/2BaGVnE

I was assigned 15 librarians to work with (yes, I am told that is a lot). The first thing I should tell you is, spend the time to build relationships. A large majority of the librarians that I work with didn’t really want to give up 2 plannings a month to meet with me at first. Also, they might have wished they had the other gal who used to be a librarian. I might also add here that the district also changed their library cataloging system and part of my new job was to help them navigate it. Did I mention the other girl, who was a librarian… I had to win some librarians over that was for sure. I found a friend in my office in charge of the new system and she was gracious enough to answer my questions quickly. But what I noticed is that instead of giving me the answer, she was guiding me to the place to find it. Oh my goodness, I was being coached!

You can’t be the Expert

And that is the second lesson I learned about coaching. You can’t be the expert. You have to build capacity in the person you are working with. Effective coaches need to remember that taking on the role of expert can create learned helplessness. (Foltos, 2014) Because my colleague introduced me to the “teams channels” that librarians were discussing issues, I was able to build my understanding in order to have a conversation with them. I still ask questions, but now I am building my capacity.

What did you say? (No, you can’t say it like that!)

Now that we are a little over a month into school, the librarians have worked out most of the kinks with the new system, they are wanting me to help them bring tech to the library. This is my HAPPY PLACE! Microcontrollers, MakerSpaces, Coding, OH MY! But wait. Coaching is not about me. The job of a coach is to support a colleague’s thinking, problem solving, and goal clarification (Lipton, 2018). This is where my coaching workshop (from the summer) skills come in! I have to actively listen to what the teacher is wanting to do. Did I understand her? Paraphrase. If she doesn’t correct me, then I am on the right track.When I feel that I am understanding the situation, I can ask her a probing question to find out her goals for student learning. Probing questions try to get the teacher to think more deeply and begin to solve the problem. (Grove and Frazer)

Putting it into action

I have a librarian that is being encouraged to teach tech in her library space. Through our conversations, I have found that she is teaching a math intervention group this quarter. Together we have talked about the students levels and what outcomes she would like for the group. She wants to connect library research skills with the math content so that students can build capacity. Students are going to use different media (book, video, internet) to research a topic and become a master. They are going to go a step further and find out real life applications for the concept as well. After they are ready, they are going to use a form of technology to showcase the topic in order to help teach a classmate. I am going to visit during this time and help where I can and model the technology when needed.

So that is where I am at in the Coaching Cycle. I have met with my librarians and slowly I am learning what their needs are and finding out ways that I can support them with student learning. I think that my librarians are not wishing that they had the tech goddess former librarian anymore because they are smiling and reaching out. I have learned it’s not about telling them what to do, its about listening, understanding, and supporting them to improve student learning. And it isn’t all bad! As a Coach, another part of my job is creating and providing Professional Development. This is a place where I get to be the Expert- where I get to bring on the microcontrollers, makerspaces, and Coding! Oh MY, I am enjoying this job!

Sources:

  • Lipton, Laura, and Bruce M. Wellman. Mentoring Matters: a Practical Guide to Learning-Focused Relationships. MiraVia, LCC, 2018.
  • Foltos, Les. “The Secret to Great Coaching: Inquiry Method Helps Teachers Take Ownership of Their Learning.” Journal of Staff Development, vol. 35, June 2014, pp. 28–31. ERIC, https://learningforward.org/docs/default-source/JSD-June-2014/the-secret-to-great-coaching.pdf.
  • Foltos, Les. Peer Coaching: Unlocking the Power of Collaboration. Corwin, 2013.
  • Gann, Kara. “ISTE Standards for Coaches 1: Visionary Leadership.” ISTE, 9 June 2014, https://www.iste.org/explore/ISTE-Standards-in-Action/ISTE-Standards-for-Coaches-1:-Visionary-leadership.
  • Pocket Guide to Probing Questions http://schoolreforminitiative.org/doc/probing_questions_guide.pdf

The First Impression of a Digital Instructional Coach

As an educator I find myself saying “In our jobs, we are never bored”. I mean this as a complement to the profession; it doesn’t matter if I am in a room full of young students, college students, or adult learners, I am never bored and plan on keeping it that way.

Often the cost of this mindset comes in the form of overwhelmed educators who mean well and do not know where to begin when they look at the changes they want to make to the instruction they are providing each day. Add in the extensive needs of students, the chaos of the world we live in and the impact this has on our students and classrooms leads educators to feel overwhelmed.

Many schools and districts are looking to the Instructional Coach to support educators and ease the pressures of the classroom and daily reality. “A Peer Coach is a teacher leader who assists a peer to improve standards-based instruction by supporting the peer’s efforts to actively engage students in 21st-century learning activities. Coaches help colleagues improve teaching and learning by assisting them to develop the necessary lesson-design skills and instructional and technology integration strategies needed to prepare their students for college and careers”(Foltos, 2013, pp. 18). How these coaches begin the relationship can be a ticket to the success of the classroom teacher application; first impressions really do matter.

Often times coaches are put in schools where the needs are so dire that school leaders do not know where to begin. I would argue that good coaching needs to happen in all school settings to set the tone and value the partnerships that are anchored in the intent of student growth and success. Digital literacy coaching is connected to this mindset. Throwing laptops and technology at a problem is not going to solve the problem and magically create 21st-century leaders and creators out of today’s students. Coaching needs to be anchored in a common pedagogical practice to support learning through practice and alignment to a set of goals; coaching is learning for the educator.

I have had the pleasure of coaching educators for several years. As a peer coach, I worked with teachers to anchor learning objectives, course practice, and assessment in a standards-based curriculum to grow students and the school as a whole.  I learned early on that in order for theses relationships to work I had to take time to anticipate what the student and the school leadership was expecting out of the partnership. The most successful coaching relationships in my experience have always been one with trust as a foundation; first impressions really do matter.
Screen Shot 2019-10-13 at 10.08.17 PM

(Hyman, 2013) illustrates how a coach can actively anticipate what the teacher is going to need. In order to support the educator the Instructional Coach must always move the mindset within the following:

Patience: With students, the teacher, the technology, and the curriculum. In short, a coach must look at what is going on in the educators’ world and be willing to make suggestions without judging. This supports the research behind peer coaching to be free of evaluation to maintain peer relationships and trust.

Observation: As humans, we experience our worlds through our lens. The does not turn off when we enter the workplace. It is important for a coach to understand that they are not there to judge a peer but rather support the inquiry needed to get to the goal. “Effective coaches try to emphasize inquiry over advocacy in their coaching work. In other words, they rely on questioning strategies rather than advocating for any particular solution to the issues facing their peers” (Foltos, 2013, pp. 18). The questions coaches can anticipate the peer needing answered should come from observation.

Awareness: I would argue that one cannot anticipate the needs of others if they are not aware of the environment the peer lives in. This mindset extends to the 21st-century skills and technologies graduates will need to master in order to demonstrate success in a rapidly changing world. Park of the trust a peer puts into a coach is to stay relevant and offer a perspective with the same goal in mind.

With digital coaching, we cannot look at the tools as shiny new toys that are to be played with for only a little bit of time before the user gets bored and moves on to something new or more tried and true. Digital coaches must observe the learning environment, while being aware of the realities and patiently allow for the peer to come to a conclusion about how a tool can support learning for students in the educational setting. The tools, apps, and websites are always going to change, but the pedagogy should consistently support the learning of the students who are living and will be working in the present.

Once a peer coaching relationship has been established it is important to plan out the discourse to maximize the growth and keep all parties on track. The Coaching Plan is driven by a SMART Goal but often the coaching needs to take other factors into account.

“The GROW Model is a coaching framework used in conversations, meetings and everyday leadership to unlock potential and possibilities. GROW was first published by our co-founder Sir John Whitmore in 1992. It has become the world’s most popular coaching model for problem-solving, goal setting and performance improvement”(GROW Model | Sir John Whitmore’s GROW Coaching Model Framework – Performance Consultants,” 2019a; Hyman, 2013).

Screen Shot 2019-10-13 at 11.18.19 PM

The realities of today’s educators are often times desperate realities. In order to grow the peer coaching relationship needs to focus on a specific goal, the realities of the environment, the realistic options, and most importantly what the individual is willing to commit towards. The GROW Model supports  ISTE-C Standard 1: Visionary Leadership as it “Contribute(s) to the planning, development, communication, implementation, and evaluation of technology-infused strategic plans at the district and school levels” (ISTE-C 1.b), while implementing “strategies for initiating and sustaining technology innovations and manage the change process in schools and classrooms” (ISTE-C 1.d).

Now the fun can begin, with the intentions of all parties clear, the real learning and growing can start to happen. The coach and peer can explore the models of digital instructional integration, together they can discuss the current state of the learning environment, the standard and assessment realities, what they hope to see from the students while learning together, and how to utilize pedagogy like the SAMR, TPACK and The Four A’s. With the clarity of the intent, the coach can start anticipating the needs of the peer and create a positive lasting impression that will lead to first impressions that really do matter with other peers in the educational setting.

References:

AVID CENTER. (n.d.). AVID’s Digital Learning Framework. Retrieved October 10, 2019, from https://www.avid.org/cms/lib/CA02000374/Centricity/Domain/1070/AVID_4As_framework_1strategy_20180313-2.pdf

Foltos, L. (2013). Peer Coaching : Unlocking the Power of Collaboration. Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin.

GROW Model | Sir John Whitmore’s GROW Coaching Model Framework – Performance Consultants. (2019a, October 11). Retrieved October 11, 2019, from https://www.performanceconsultants.com/grow-model
Hyman, A. (2013, April 25). the-art-of-technology-anticipation [Blog post]. Retrieved October 10, 2019, from http://technologybuzz101.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-art-of-technology-anticipation_5221.html

Hyman, A. (2013, April 25). the-art-of-technology-anticipation [Blog post]. Retrieved October 10, 2019, from http://technologybuzz101.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-art-of-technology-anticipation_5221.html

ISTE | ISTE Standards for Coaches. (n.d.). Retrieved August 12, 2019, from https://www.iste.org/standards/for-coaches

Koehler, M. (2012, September 12). TPACK.ORG. Retrieved October 13, 2019, from http://tpack.org

ProTips. (n.d.). SAMR Model: A Practical Guide for EdTech Integration. Retrieved October 13, 2019, from https://www.schoology.com/blog/samr-model-practical-guide-edtech-integration.

Yourcoach. (n.d.). S.M.A.R.T. goal setting | SMART | Coaching tools | YourCoach Gent. Retrieved October 14, 2019, from https://www.yourcoach.be/en/coaching-tools/smart-goal-setting.php

 

Trust: How to Build a Strong Coaching Relationship

This quarter, as part of my journey through Seattle Pacific University’s Digital Education Leadership program, we are investigating ISTE coaching standards. For this blog post I will be focusing my research on ISTE coaching standard 1: Visionary Leadership.

ITSE Standards for Coaches 1: Visionary Leadership: Technology coaches inspire and participate in the development and implementation of a shared vision for the comprehensive integration of technology to promote excellence and support transformational change throughout the instructional environment.

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

Background

Within my graduate program we have been discussing what it means to be an instructional and/or digital coach in schools. Through these discussions I noticed that many of the aspects of coaching are relative to building a strong relationship with another person. I began thinking of what exactly makes relationships so strong and what determines if the relationship ends up being long lasting? I also thought about myself and my own relationships I have with others and what aspects to the relationship made it a priority in my life. After pondering these questions I believe the answer comes down to one word, trust. I believe the ability to trust others and be trusted by others is a key ingredient to a healthy and strong relationship whether personal or professional.

After establishing that trust is an essential component to building strong relationships, I then had to think about how I would establish trust within an opportunity I will be having this quarter with a fellow colleague. This quarter I will be coaching a fellow peer within my school on how to implement technology into one of her lessons. This peer has had past coaches and has requested help from others before, but has expressed the concern of not wanting someone to simply come in and do it for her as much as she wants a learning experience in order for her to grow her own set of skills. With this knowledge at hand I came up with the following question to lead my investigation for this ISTE standard: What are the best practices and/or strategies to help build trust within a coaching relationship?

Defining Trust & Trustworthy Traits

For this investigation I have chosen to use Stephen M. R. Covey’s definition of trust as being, “the feeling of confidence we have in another’s character and competence.” (Covey, 2008) I think an example of trust would be feeling confident that if you told someone something in confidence that they wouldn’t go and share that information without your consent. Another example of trust would be feeling confident that the employees you hired to fix the plumbing in your home are competent enough to handle the situation within the agreed upon time.

Jim Knight, author of the book, Better Conversations, Coaching Ourselves and Each Other to Be More Credible, Caring, and Connected, goes deeper into analyzing trust by evaluating character traits people have that are either trustworthy or untrustworthy. (Knight, 2015)

Better Conversations, Coaching Ourselves and Each Other to Be More Credible, Caring, and Connected. Chapter 9

As you can see above, Jim provides different traits that help determine the amount of trustworthiness a person shows through their words and/or actions. (Knight, 2015) I felt this was a very powerful chart as it made me reflect on my own personal traits and analyze the traits of others around me.

Laying the Foundation

Within Jim Knight’s book, Better Conversations, Coaching Ourselves and Each Other to Be More Credible, Caring, and Connected, you can also find a diagram he has made that helps introduce you to what he calls the, “five trust factors”. (Knight, 2015)

Better Conversations, Coaching Ourselves and Each Other to Be More Credible, Caring, and Connected. Chapter 9.

The Five Trust Factors

Character

“We trust someone when we know they won’t do us harm. So, to build trust, we must be honest and transparent. When we hold back information or we lie, we demonstrate that we can’t be trusted.” (Knight, 2015)

Reliability

“People trust us when we do what we said we would do when we said we would do it. For that reason, we have to be careful not to over-commit. We can keep enough time to do what we need to do reliably by under-promising and over-delivering, saying no, and using organizational rituals.” (Knight, 2015)

Competence

“Promises don’t mean much unless we can deliver, and trust develops or is diminished depending on how well we do the work that we do. We can increase our competence by developing skills, gaining knowledge, or by being credible.” (Knight, 2015)

Warmth

“Another way to encourage others to feel safe and trust us is through personal warmth. We can show warmth in the authentic way we listen, demonstrate empathy, share positive information, and be vulnerable.” (Knight, 2015)

Stewardship

“The more people are focused on themselves, the less we trust them. However, the more people are committed to serving others, the more we trust them. Stewardship is embodied in a genuine focus on others, the way we communicate, the way we give credit to others, and the simple fact that we care.” (Knight, 2015)

Building Trust

“Without trust there can be no coaching” (Aguilar, 2013)

While reading The Art of Coaching: Effective Strategies for School Transformation written by Elena Aguilar, I found the ten different steps/strategies she provides to build trust very insightful. I provided an overview of the first four steps she provides readers which I found relative to my first meeting with my coachee.

Step 1: Plan and Prepare

Essentially this step is all about being prepared for your first meeting with your coachee. What outcomes are you hoping for and what information do you need to have by the end of the meeting? Do you have questions ready? If not, here are a few from the book that I found helpful:

Background Questions (Aguilar, 2013)

  • What do you enjoy about your position?
  • What is challenging about it?
  • What do you think are your strengths?
  • What do you think are your areas for growth?

Relationship Questions (Aguilar, 2013)

  • How would you describe your relationship with your colleagues?
  • How would you describe your relationship with your students?
  • How would you describe your relationship with your students’ parents?
  • Do you have colleagues (on-site or off-site) that you trust? That you feel good about collaborating with?

Professional Development Questions (Aguilar, 2013)

  • How do you feel that you learn best? Can you tell me about a powerful learning experience you’ve had over your time as an educator?
  • What is your understanding of what coaching is? Of my role?
  • What are your hopes and fears for our work?
  • What do you need from me as a coach?
  • Is there anything I should know that would help me in my work with you? That would make our work together more effective?
  • Is there anything you’d like to know about me that would help make our work more effective?
  • What do you anticipate might be a challenge or get in the way of our working together?
  • How can I support you when those challenges arise?

Advice from Elena Aguilar: “It’s imperative that you feel confident, clear, and prepared. Your client will be watching you and listening to you very, very carefully. She/he will be looking for indicators of your competence, credibility, integrity, and character.”

Step 2: Cautiously Gather Background Information

This step warns us coaches to be careful of the information you gather about your coachee before meeting them. Even though you want to know them better in order to help them, sometimes asking others of their knowledge can lead to unhelpful opinions and impressions of the person you will be working with. It is better to build trust by starting off on a clean slate and getting to know each other by asking questions directly with one another. To sum it up, try not to gather background knowledge unless you know the person you are asking is unbiased and a trusted individual. (Aguilar, 2013)

Step 3: Establish Confidentiality

From the beginning of the relationship you should make sure you are establishing confidentiality with your coachee. You will likely need to remind them of the confidentiality agreement you are providing them with multiple times within your first meetings. One way to phrase this would be, “Before we get started, I want to return to what I shared in my e-mail about the confidentiality of our conversations. Our conversations are absolutely confidential. I will not discuss what we talk about with your supervisor or anyone else. If I ever need to e-mail your principal or supervisor about something we talked about, I will CC you on it. I would speak to him or her in person about you only if you are present.” (Aguilar, 2013)

Some of you may be wondering what happens when a principal or director asks about how the coaching is going and how you provide them with an answer and continue to keep the trust you are establishing within your coaching relationship. Elena Aguilar suggests making the coachee aware that you will only share what she calls the four T’s with their supervisor.

T– The teacher’s name that is receiving the coaching.

T-How much time is spent with the coachee each week or month.

T– The topics that are being worked on. (Example, “Mrs. Brown and I are looking at formative assessment strategies for academic vocabulary.“)

T– The tasks that she is doing with the coachee. (Example, “I am observing Mrs. Brown and offering feedback. We read an article together.”)

Step Four: Listen

Listening is a core component to building trust. Coachees will be watching to see if your engaged and interested in what they have to say. For the first few meetings Elena suggests using active listening where you paraphrase or restate what the coachee just finished saying to ensure you are both on the same page on what is being shared. (Aguilar, 2013) Elena also suggests to make sure you are always using deep listening when working with coachees and not being distracted by what happened before the meeting or what you have going on after the meeting.

Suggestions

To end this blog post I decided to share three personal suggestions that I have learned from my own experience that has helped me build trust with my peers at work. I hope they can also help guide you in your adventures!

  • Remember that actions speak louder than words. Your coachee will be looking for those trustworthy traits I discussed earlier and will be determining how much they share with you based on how you make them feel.
  • Remember that relating to your coachee is a great way to build trust. It is okay to show that you are not perfect, in fact allowing your coachee to hear about stories of your failures may help build the bond and allow them to open up even further.
  • Remember to smile and look approachable to others even when you think they are not watching, because they are. If you look and sound friendly then more people are likely to be willing to ask for your assistance then if you look busy and unapproachable.

Resources

Aguilar, Elena. (2013). The Art of Coaching, Effective Strategies for School Transformation. San Francisco, CA. Jossy-Bass.

Covey, Stephen M. R The Speed of Trust . New York: Free Press, 2008.

Knight, Jim. (2016). Better Conversations, Coaching Ourselves and Each Other to Be More Credible, Caring, and Connected. London, UK. SAGE Publications Ltd.

Coaching for Computer Science Integration

My job is to teach elementary computer science and technology classes and when appropriate, help my students’ classroom teachers integrate tech into their classes. Though I am not a technology coach, many of the skills I need to do my job effectively are the same that are required in coaching: building relationships, listening to teacher’s … Continue reading "Coaching for Computer Science Integration"

Coaching All: Thinking about the whole school community – educators, parents and caregivers.

ISTE-C Standard 1: Visionary Leadership 

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

My question: What are best practices for establishing trust with teachers and families at our school and guiding our school community towards a positive digital education perspective.  (versus just telling them the positive ways students can use digital tools in the classroom) 

Gaining the trust of the whole school community to implement educational technology in classrooms is tricky because there are many preconceived notions around screen time and a variety of perspectives and backgrounds that everyone (teachers, parents, caregivers) comes to the table with. As I prepare to lead a Digital Education Presentation for the PTA at my school, I have been looking at the ISTE Coaching Standard 1, Visionary Leadership, and more specifically the ISTE Coaching Standard 1d – Implement strategies for initiating and sustaining technology innovations and manage the change process in schools and classrooms to better prepare for this presentation by using a coaching mindset to find best practices for gaining this invaluable trust.  

When it comes to the whole school community, there are 3 main takeaways from my research that I believe will help to alleviate some of the fear or nervousness around using digital education in the classroom. In the article, Engaging Families as Learning Partners Using Digital Tools by Matthew Lynch, there is a breakdown of how to teach families what it means to use technology in the classroom.  These same suggestions apply to fellow teachers, as well. He has 5 suggestions to engage families but the first 3 are what I am focusing on to first build the trust needed for support of digital education implementation. The first suggestion that Lynch makes is to Teach the Parents How to Use the Digital Tool.  If we take the time to give families hands on experiences with the tools and platforms students are learning, they are more likely to see the active role students have in their learning when engaged with digital tools. If teachers take on a coaching role with parents (and invite other teachers to join in on this as learners) then it moves away from the teacher trying to solely make a case for why educational technology is great and instead puts the experience directly in the hands of the adults to see for themselves.  This is more likely to shift perspective because it is a hands on experience for them versus a lecture trying to convince them.     

The second suggestion Lynch makes is to Explain the Importance of Digital Literacy and Digital Citizenship. Students are growing up in a digital age and there is no getting around that. Coming at this reality with a digital citizenship focus in order to better teach how to manage our online and offline lives helps families to see that we have the chance to teach mindfulness and awareness of navigating the digital world AND how we can influence the use of digital tools as a way to enhance learning versus passive consumption.  When a student learns how to create their own digital portfolio highlighting their learning, this is powerful and stays with them as they move through their K-12 education and beyond.  

A third suggestion from Lynch is Using Digital Tools for Communication.  Highlighting the way digital tools and platforms can strengthen home to school connections and making these connections personal and meaningful for parents and students helps teachers to build strong relationships with families. Megan Ryder writes about the importance of not just building relationships with others but also maintaining them in her blog post, Strategies for Building Relationships as an Instructional Coach.  Though she is talking specifically about relationships with staff, this is crucial for families, as well. Communication is what maintains relationships so using easy platforms to keep communication alive, relevant, timely and positive can slowly shift negative perspectives of using digital education in the classroom when parents see a benefit for themselves, as well as for their child. 

Through all of this, there will be hiccups, missteps, technology that doesn’t work like you hoped and a learning curve for how to find and use the best digital education tools and platforms in your school and classroom. Two of my favorite suggestions for building trust with those you are coaching (whole school community) was from Ashley Paschal, 5 ways to Build a Trusting Coaching Relationship.  She speaks to the importance of listening without judgment and to laugh.  Parents and other educators are looking to coaches to feel safe in how the uneasiness they may feel about the fast paced and always changing digital education world.  My own perspective has shifted immensely since staring the SPU Digital Education Leadership program but that has taken a lot of research, conversation, patience and time.  Remembering to accept where parents and educators are at in their journey with digital education and truly listening without judgement to understand where they are at in their journey (and WHY!) is the only way to start forging a pathway of trust that can enable you to guide towards a shift in perspective.  

Here is a great resource from Common Sense Media to start engaging your community! Learn how to make parents and caregivers an integral part of your digital citizenship program 

Resources: 

Cogswell, Ben. (July 11, 2018) Common Sense Media. Retrieved from https://www.commonsense.org/education/articles/engage-your-community-with-parent-digital-citizenship-academies 

Lynch, Matthew. (Feb. 8, 2019). The Tech Advocate. Retrieved from Engaging Families as Learning Partners Using Digital Tools.  

Paschal, Ashley. (Fed. 28, 2018). Education Elements. Retrieved from 5 Ways to Build a Trusting Coaching Relationship. 

Ryder, Megan. (May 8, 2017). TeachBoost. Retrieved from Strategies for Building Relationships as an Instructional Coach. 

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.

Background

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.

References:

Ehsanipour, T., Zaccarelli, F . G., & Center to Support Excellence in Teaching – Stanford University. (2017). Exploring Coaching for Powerful Technology Use in Education. Retrieved from
http://digitalpromise.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Dynamic-Learning-Project-Paper-Final.pdf

Davis, E. L., Currie, B. (2019). Tech Integration Comes Alive Through Coaching. Retrieved from
http://www.ascd.org/ascd-express/vol14/num17/tech-integration-comes-alive-through-coaching.aspx

Instructional Coaching: Driving Meaningful Tech Integration. (2015). Retrieved from
https://www.edutopia.org/video/instructional-coaching-driving-meaningful-tech-integration

Making Technology Work. (2015). Retrieved from
https://www.edutopia.org/practice/instructional-coaching-driving-meaningful-tech-integration

EDTC 6104 Community Engagement Project- Enhancing Student Learning with Seesaw

When I first entered into the DEL masters program I had no idea what I was getting into. Luckily for me, it’s turned out to be a mind-opening and enhancing journey. This summer our EDTC 6104 course continued to shift my perception of technologies role in the classroom. Technology has the opportunity to enhance teaching and students learning when integrated mindfully. For our community engagement project this quarter we were tasked with developing a training or workshop that we could present to a desired audience, or conference. As I began thinking of the possibilities that I could choose from I grounded my work in ISTE coaching standard 3, which revolves around creating and supporting effective digital age learning environments that maximize the learning of all students.  After some thought, I landed on Seesaw a digital learning portfolio platform that empowers students of any age to document what they are learning at school, reflect and learn from others. I felt that Seesaw was just the tool that could maximize learning of all studnets. Better yet, Seesaw was a tool that I had begun to dabble in this past school year and something that I am passionate about implementing in my classroom this year. As I began thinking about the professional development I would design I immediately thought of my school and our students. Seesaw is a supported app of our district but no one at our school is currently using it, nor am I aware of many teachers who know what it is. Thus, my goal for the PD was to educate teachers at our school of Seesaw and it’s potential impact on learning.

When beginning to plan out a professional development that I could deliver to staff at my school I began to learn like a student. I took a few preofessional development courses provided by Seesaw, called PD in your pj’s. I learned that Seesaw had many PD resources created for teachers to use and make their own. After doing some trainings and looking through many of the resources I came up with the plan to have two 45 minute hands-on blended trainings. I arose with the following objectives: 

 

Training 1 Enhancing Student Learning with Seesaw: Hands-On Teacher Training: 

Learning Objectives:

  1. Develop an understanding of what Seesaw is and how it can be used in the classroom to enhance student learning 

  2. Learn the logistics of Seesaw: how to use the features and navigate the app as students and teachers

  3. Gain and share ideas on how you might use Seesaw in your classroom

 

Training 2 Seesaw: Digging Deeper into Digital Learning Portfolios

Learning Objectives:

  1. Determine a goal or purpose for your class digital portfolios

  2. Reflect on best practices for digital portfolios 

  3. Plan an activity(s) or lesson(s) to bring back and implement in your classroom

 

Materials that I would use to support these objectives are linked below:

Overview Google Slides- presented at a staff meeting or sent out through email

Training 1 Google Slides- presented and sent out to staff at first training  

Training 2 Google Slides- presented and sent out to staff at first training 

Padlet Curated Seesaw Resources- to explore before or after trainings

 

The training’s address ISTE’s coaching standard 3 in the following ways: 

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

 

a. 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. 

  • Addressed in training #1 through modeling Seesaw as a teacher, while participants experience the platform as a student. Also, there are times in training #1 and #2 for teachers to collaborate and explore Seesaw and related resources. 

 

b. Maintain and manage a variety of digital tools and resources for teacher and student use in technology-rich learning environments 

  • Addressed by exploring Seesaw and its features, as well as using Padlet and Google Docs and Slides to curate resources, tutorials, and PD that support technology-rich learning environments.  

 

c. 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 

  • Addressed in training #1 and #2. Training #1 provides materials to do before coming to the training and uses a blended approach during the training to explore and learn about Seesaw. Additionally, between trainings teachers can practice and use Seesaw thus bringing experience, ideas, and questions to training #2 where they dig deeper into digital portfolios and create an intentional plan(s) or lesson(s) they can bring back and implement in their classroom. Both trainings also extend Seesaws professional development options and videos that teachers can use to extend learning. 

 

d. Select, evaluate, and facilitate the use of adaptive and assistive technologies to support student learning 

  • Addressed through training #1 and #2 which highlights how Seesaw supports student learning through:

  • Showcase student learning and voice

  • Provide formative insights

  • Authentic audience: parents, teachers, *peers

  • Family communication

 

e. Troubleshoot basic software, hardware, and connectivity problems common in digital learning environments 

  • Addressed in both trainings as teachers will be working on Seesaw as a student and teacher. 

 

f. 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 

  • Addressed in training #2 where teachers look at evaluating the needs and learning objectives of their digital portfolios and collaborate to create an intentional plan(s) or lesson(s) to bring back and implement in their classroom. 

 

g. Use digital communication and collaboration tools to communicate locally and globally with students, parents, peers, and the larger community

  • Addressed in both trainings where teachers will be using Seesaw, Padlet and Google Docs/ Slides to collaborate and communicate with each other, students and families.

 

Overall, I am really happy with how the training objectives and supporting material turned out and am eager to see which teachers are interested in learning more about using Seesaw to enhance learning in their classrooms. To learn more about my presentations and plans please watch this condensed summary video:

Community Engagement Project: Amplifying Student Voice Through Flipgrid

For my Community Engagement Project this quarter in EDTC 6104, I have chosen to focus on creating a professional development on the power of using Flipgrid in your classroom. Flipgrid is a tool that allows students to respond to prompts by recording themselves and encourages them to interact with fellow students as well as with the teacher. Earlier this year I was asked if I wanted to present on an Ed Tech Tool for my school district’s back to school conference. I had been dabbling with Flipgrid in my class and I saw how powerful it could be as an alternative way to show student thinking.

I applied to present and was accepted to teach a one hour class on Flipgrid for district teachers, librarians and paraprofessionals. I wanted to make sure that my PD was informative as well as interactive, so I decided to give an overview of the tool, showcase some student examples, give the teachers time to peruse the website and have them participate recording themselves. I wasn’t sure how I would fit it all in, but I went in with the idea that having too much is better than not having enough. Last week I presented at the Talk 2019 Conference and I am going to share my presentation with you below and let you know how things went.

This is the agenda that I made to organize my professional development.
This video showcases authentic classroom stories of amplifying student voice through Flipgrid. From highlighting the power of natural voice in elementary students to building relationships in higher education to transforming dialogue in middle school math, Flipgrid is a powerful platform that enables social learning communities in classrooms around the world.

After giving participants some overview information, I wanted to give them a chance to use the tool. I asked them to introduce themselves to our group by using Flipgrid. I gave them a prompt which you will see on the slide and passed out a page to help them navigate the website. The participants were fairly shy in the beginning and I let them know that this would be how their students might feel.

My next two slides are of student example videos. Rather than showing the two slides, I would like to share a video link of how I used Flipgrid in my class. The video will show you two ways that I have used flipgrid in my class. The examples are of students facilitating a math talk using a fraction square and a flipped learning experience on figurative language. I have received permission from the students as well as their parents to share their work on my blog and in my presentation.

These are some of the ways that I shared how Flipgrid is accessible to all students.
Conference participants were asked to “check out” the Flipgrid website, specifically the Disco Library. They were asked to search ways that they could use the tool in their classrooms based on standards, grade level, and/or subject.
After the work time, participants were asked to share another Flipgrid with us. My plan is to take these ideas and curate a list to share with our district. I will check in with the teachers and see how it went, or if they needed any additional help.
My last slide had links to all of the pages that I used during the conference as well as to some other resources that would help them to get started using Flipgrid with their students. You will find these links listed below under resources.

Reflection:

I had an amazing time at the conference presenting on the tech tool, Flipgrid. I had about 50 participants and the hour was plenty of time for this talk. I went into the the conference knowing that this was just the beginning. I knew I wanted to have follow up sessions where we could dive into more of Flipgrids features, such as the accessibility piece and inviting experts to flipgrid with the class. Another area that I would like to find out more about is sharing what the students are learning with parents. While the participants were worried about recording themselves in the beginning, they got used to it and learned some tricks like, putting a post-it on the camera if you didn’t want to show your face, or covering it with an emoji sticker. Some educators doubled up and recorded themselves together. Participants left excited with some ideas on how they would like to introduce this tool to their class. This was an exciting and scary experience presenting for other educators (my new boss was one of the participants). I would like to continue planning and providing PD for my district and when I feel more comfortable, I would like to apply for a regional conference.

Resources:

The following are resources that I shared at my presentation.

Tech Etiquette ~ a framework for building classroom community in a technology rich environment

Before students can learn within the digital age learning environment, the environment needs to be one that is community minded, with clear expectations that students have created, agreed upon and are understood in full, with routines that are second nature and where all students have engaged in creating a safe space for all to flourish in. Tech Etiquette is critical for building and maintaining an environment that focuses on respect, learning and connecting with each other, not just the use of devices and technology.  Educators take time to create a positive, supportive and well-mannered environment within our classroom while offline and the same tenets need to apply when devices and technology are being used. This may seem obvious but I have yet to see this focused on as deeply as how students learn to log on to a device, how they carry the device, learn to type, creating digital portfolios or get to an app. Focusing on Tech Etiquette in the classroom will provide the framework needed for technology to enhance learning, collaborative relationships and a creative classroom that uses design thinking. This is important at any age.  I believe diving deeper into Tech Etiquette strongly supports ISTE Coaching Standard 3 for those reasons, at the very least.

For my graduate program, Digital Education Leadership at Seattle Pacific University, I have chosen to focus on creating a presentation about the importance of Tech Etiquette in classrooms. It has been an eye opening experience to think more deeply about what it means to teach students about Tech Etiquette inside and outside of the classroom because this is not an area that I have seen focused on. We often teach students about digital citizenship, how we act online and our digital footprint, but how we act with each other while using devices in the classroom is not focused on as often. There is not one right way when it comes to etiquette which is why it is important for educators to tap into what their classroom needs and what makes sense culturally, is age appropriate and what students want as part of their tech etiquette agreement. Below, is my reflection on what my presentation will look like if accepted into a conference or how I would present it as a Professional Development for other educators.

Length:

The length of my presentation or workshop will depend on the audience and location. If I was accepted to the NCCE, it would be for 10 minutes. If I were doing it as a PD for staff/families at my school, it could be up to 45 – 60 minutes. 

Active and Engaged Learning:

I would like to have role playing or real life scenarios as part of the presentation.  For example, starting with everyone writing down (or using an online platform to gather these thoughts in real time) 1-2 things they notice bothers them about tech etiquette and use in the classroom, workplace or personal life or take a poll using a tool like sli.do to determine if many of the issues are similar. From there, connecting to basic manners that we expect from students (and that we give to them!) and how we need to role model for them when applying these manners in a technology rich environment – looking up from devices when someone is speaking, tone when working together, taking turns, stopping when the activity is over (no sneaking!), how to hold, handle and take care of devices, stamina when things go wrong or get confusing, awareness of surroundings and others when using a device and more. Audience members could role play these scenarios or create solutions to share with the group as a whole with small groups working together.    

Using Prezi as a way to present and interact with audience and then create an action plan using Mural so that everyone will have the ideas and work created to look back to.

Content Knowledge Needs:

Common Misconceptions: Touch on the idea of digital citizenship being not just online behavior but how we interact with those in our physical space when using digital tools and resources

Specific content standards/objectives: 

  • ISTE Coaching Standard 3 – Digital Learning Environment
  • ISTE Student Standard 2 – Digital Citizen and Standard 7 – Global Collaborator 
  • ISTE Educator Standard 3 – Citizen, Standard 5 – Designer and Standard 6 – Facilitator

Address Teacher Needs:

Make the Prezi available to all so educators can look back at it, add to it and create a community to interact with as they implement the ideas into their classroom

Educators leave with clear ideas on how to introduce, implement and maintain tech etiquette within their own classrooms. The Mural tool will keep these ideas in a collaborative space.

Provide a video of in-class examples of teaching students these tools (this would be something done at a later date when I teach my own class, video tape it and provide closed captioning for educators to review and then fine tune for their own classroom)

Anticipated FAQ:

  • Home to school connection with tech etiquette
  • Breaking bad habits that students have already learned
  • How to train student tech mentors
  • What does a tech mentorship program look like, sound like, feel like
  • Dealing with adults and friends who model behaviors that counteract what we are trying to teach them to do with tech etiquette. 
  • Growth – it takes time to learn these skills and to be aware of when we are not having tech etiquette – the point is learning these skills so focus on the skill not the ‘bad behavior’ or ‘wrong way’. Positive reinforcement and helping students learn to be aware and shift is key.

Collaborative participation:

Student input, discussions and collaborative decision making around tech etiquette in their classroom will be critical is making tech etiquette meaningful.

Collaborate with other classrooms who are embarking on this topic and connect via Skype or another platform to see how it is going, what others are doing that is successful, what is not going well, the opportunities and successes. This could be done by connecting with other educators who are a part of the presentation or having a living document that educators can go back to and update each other and reach out for support when needed. 

Students could create images, media, and more around the topic to then use to teach other students which will promote student agency, motivation and pride around being stellar tech etiquette role models for each other and outside of the classroom.  Teaching awareness around how they engage with tech is a huge part of this.