Peer Coaching – A Community Engagement Project

For our community engagement project this quarter in EDTC 6105, my cohort members and I were worked with coaching partners to develop peer coaching relationships. Through these peer coaching relationships, the goal was to collaborate with a coaching partner to improve a lesson of their choice. In order for this coaching partnership to be successful,…

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Partnerships to Incorporate 21st Century Learning Skills into the Classroom

I can’t remember a time in my life when school wasn’t something that I was involved in. I went from watching my older sister go to school when I was just a youngin’ and yearning to participate. Then the day came when I began preschool and eventually headed off to elementary school. I always loved going to school! I remember going into middle school and the excitement of having more responsibility and the opportunity to learn in multiple classes, and that only grew as I went into high school. Then came college and as a true education junky, I was called to be a teacher… bringing me right back to the beginning. While my love for continual learning was a constant in my life, so was my questioning. Throughout my educational career I always wondered the one question that most other students can resonate with… “how am I going to use this in the real world?”. Sometimes this question came a little snarkier than others, but often I genuinely was interested in how I would possibly use my experiences in The Oregon Trail simulation once I grew up. Fast forward a decade or two and I am finally finding out some significance to more than the question of how the content I was learning would help me in the future… but to why the methods of how I learned the content would help me in the future.   Nicole Krueger writes in her article, Preparing students for jobs that don’t exist yet, “The massive shifts technology and globalization that are expected to transform the workplace have already begun. In many industries and countries, some of the most in-demand jobs didn’t even exist five or 10 years ago – and the pace of change will only accelerate.” So why should we be teaching the exact same things now as we did years and years ago… if it isn’t getting our students ready for jobs that will be in high demand when they are older?   Krueger also references an incredibly insightful TedTalk by Aspen Meineke, on how it’s educators responsibility to spark the imagination of their students. You can watch it here.  Both Meineke and Krueger speak to the importance of HOW content is taught and not only WHAT content is taught. But how can we focus on the how instead of the what? Here is where collaboration and 21st century learning skills come into play.   21st Century Learning Skills:   The Ed Glossary defines 21st century skills as: “a broad set of knowledge, skills, work habits, and character traits that are believed—by educators, school reformers, college professors, employers, and others—to be critically important to success in today’s world, particularly in collegiate programs and contemporary careers and workplaces.” Instead of just teaching our students the “what” content such as mathematics, ELA, science, social studies and other tradition subjects, we need to start infusing our classrooms with these “hows” of learning.   First off, educators cannot remain in a bubble and hope to be launched into the future. Peer coaching and collaboration are key for teachers to get practice with these skills first hand, and to also share their knowledge with peers. This brings me to my research question for this module:   “How can coaches help their learning partners to understand and incorporate 21st century learning skills into their teaching?”  As a newbie to the term “21st century learning skills”, I started my research by searching for examples of what some of these special skills were. This led me to a wealth of knowledge from the group “Battelle for Kids”. They have created a fantastic model that represents 21st century skills.   Each of these overarching aspects to the overall 21st century skills came with a list of skills that fall below them:   Learning and Innovation Skills:  These skills help students to become more fluent at adapting to complex situations and environments. They include:  Creativity and Innovation  Critical Thinking and Problem Solving  Communication  Collaboration  Information, Media, and Technology Skills: These skills assist in the ability of citizens to adapt in a world of constant information, technological, and contribution changes. These “functional and critical thinking skills” include:  Information Literacy  Media Literacy  ICT (Information, Communications, and Technology) Literacy  Life and Career Skills: These skills will help students to work effectively in their future careers. They include social emotional skills along with contextual knowledge. They are:  Flexibility and Adaptability  Initiative and Self-Direction  Social and Cross-Cultural Skills  Productivity and Accountability  You can find more depth information regarding this model here.   While this list gives an incredible insight to some of the skills that can help students be more adaptable and future-ready, it does not all need to be done at once. As Foltos states in his book “Peer Coaching: Unlocking the Power of Collaboration”, start small and start positive.   So how can coaches help their learning partners focus on the how of teaching instead of the what? Begin incorporating activities that encourage the acquisition of one of the 4 C’s. Encourage educators to become familiar with the ISTE student standards to help promote the “Information, Media, and Technology Skills”  branch. Become versed in the SEL teachings that encourage the skills that fall under “Life and Career Skills”.   What do you do in your coaching/classroom to promote 21st century skills? What do you do in your own practice to stay fresh with these skills? Comment below!  Resources  21st Century Skills Definition. (2016, August 25). The Glossary of Education Reform. https://www.edglossary.org/21st-century-skills/  Aspen Meineke. (2020, January 9). Help Students Find Their Spark [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCkfprNWV7M&feature=youtu.be  ISTE Standards for Coaches | ISTE. (n.d.). ISTE. Retrieved November 5, 2020, from https://www.iste.org/standards/for-coaches  Krueger, N. (2019, November 22). Preparing students for jobs that don’t exist. ISTE. https://www.iste.org/explore/ISTE-blog/Preparing-students-for-jobs-that-don%27t-exist  Partnership for 21st Century Learning. (2019). Battelle for Kids. https://www.battelleforkids.org/networks/p21 

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Integrating Technology through the lens of a Learning Designer

In the last research module of this quarter, “Co-Planning 21st Century Learning Activities”, I decided to focus on the idea of integrating technology through a learning designer lens. As I read through my weekly reading of Les Foltos’ book “Peer Coaching: Unlocking the Power of Collaboration”, I learned more about the Learning Design Matrix and how coaches had inadvertently achieved the fourth quadrant of integrating technology just by focusing on the other three quadrants. This prompted me to question how coaches can help their learning partners to work through other ways to integrate technology in their classes, purposefully.   What is technology integration?  As I began my research on technology integration, I came across an article “What is Successful Technology Integration” that cited a great definition written by the International Society for Technology in Education of what technology integration is: “Effective integration of technology is achieved when students are able to select technology tools to help them obtain information in a timely manner, analyze and synthesize the information, and present it professionally.”   But how can begin to integrate technology into our classrooms? And how will we reflect on our integration? Dr. Ruben R. Puentedura has created a reflection model intended exactly for this purpose.   This model, named “SAMR” (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition) represents the different levels that technology can be integrated into a lesson. This model shows the lowest level of enhancement being substitution and reaches a level of transformation in which technology has breached redefinition of a learning activity.   Here is another model for how educators can begin to understand the necessary knowledge to begin integrating technology. This model known as the TPACK framework (Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge) shows the need to have technological knowledge, content knowledge, and pedagogical knowledge before you can reach a level of understanding needed for integration of the three.   Designing learning based on technology integration  Now that we have looked at technology integration and some frameworks that help us to reflect on the basic levels of integration, we can look at designing learning based with technology integration.   Throughout my current Graduate program, I have learned about the Six “A”s of Project Design. I believe that a great start to designing learning through a technology integration lens could be to take-a-peek at how technology can help to achieve Steinberg’s the Six “A”s.   Here is a printable version of the Six “A”s along with a Project Examination Tool: HERE.   Let’s go through the different key aspects of the Six “A”s to see how technology can be integrated to achieve the criteria. (Each figure is found from https://newtechnetwork.org/resources/six-pbl-project-design/ and gives prompting questions to guide in the reflection of that aspect of project design).   Thinking of a project you have used or are planning, how can technology help to increase the authenticity of the problem or question? How can students become in the know about the authenticity? Can students reach out to others to see if this is a topic that others in the world value? How can students use technology to create or produce something that is personally valuable or socially valuable?  How can technology substitute or augment the type of engagement or application that students are participating in with this project? Can technology assist in the activation of higher order thinking skills? Can students use technology to assist in relating the content to a separate discipline or subject?  How can technology bring learning outside of the general classroom atmosphere? How can students use technology to assist in their personal organization of information and resources? How can technology help students to develop social emotional skills such as collaboration, problem solving, communication, etc.?   What technology is available to push students into the real-world? How can students interact with technology to reach into the world and push their learning to what is happening around the community or the world? How can technology help students to demonstrate what they are learning?  How can technology help in the gathering of students with experts in the fields surrounding the project? What technology is available to help link students with adults to collaborate on design and assessment?   What technology allows students to self-assess? How can technology be used for students to access and understand clear project criteria? What technology is available for students to present and be assessed both inside and outside the classroom?  There is currently a world of opportunities for technology integration in the classroom… and with each day that passes the number of options grows and grows.   In “Peer Coaching: Unlocking the Power of Collaboration”, Les Foltos states, “I remember listening to nationally recognized leaders in the early 1990s telling us that technology was like a steamroller headed down the street, aimed right at educators. Educators had two choices: jump on the steamroller or become part of the pavement. Apparently, they overlooked a third option; educators could step aside. And they did.” It is time for us to choose the option of jumping on the steamroller.   How do you integrate technology into your classroom? What learning design framework have you found useful in the journey of becoming a “techy” classroom?  Resources  ISTE Standards for Coaches | ISTE. (n.d.-b). ISTE. Retrieved November 5, 2020, from https://www.iste.org/standards/for-coaches  Larson, A. (2016, August 31). The Six “A”s of PBL Project Design. New Tech Network. https://newtechnetwork.org/resources/six-pbl-project-design/  Miller, A. (2011, September 26). Game-Based Learning Units for the Everyday Teacher. Edutopia. https://www.edutopia.org/blog/video-game-model-unit-andrew-miller  Puentedura, R. R. (2014, December 11). SAMR and TPCK: A Hands-On Approach to Classroom Practice [Workshop]. 21C Learning Conference, Wan Chai, Hong Kong.  What Is Successful Technology Integration? (2007, November 6). Edutopia. https://www.edutopia.org/technology-integration-guide-description 

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Mission Statement

As a digital citizenship advocate, it is my mission to help school leaders, educators, students, and their families recognize the opportunities and responsibilities intrinsic to digital technologies in education. For this, I need to recognize my own responsibilities, embrace ethical values, and strive to exercise and model excellent digital citizenship. The core ethical principles that […]

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Peer Coaching: Four Essential Tools for Any Toolbox

Becoming a coach during a pandemic has been interesting! While several strategies seem to apply better in person, here are four insights that have become an essential part of my coaching toolbox: building a connection, …

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My First Attempt at Coaching

This semester for our big project we worked with a teacher from our schools to create a coaching relationship. The goal was for us to […]

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The Glue Guy, or, Making the Most of Not Being the Best at Anything

When I was a child, I played at least one sport every year. From kindergarten through the end of high school, I participated in some mix of gymnastics, baseball, basketball, flag football, lacrosse, and mountain biking. Unfortunately, despite years of athletic training and experience, I never developed the competitive spirit needed to become great. I…

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Digital Ethics Audit

To the extent that is observable, the intent and actions of staff at Marcus Whitman Middle School adheres to the ethical values outlined in this ethics audit.

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