Category Archives: EDTC6106

How To Ask Your Administrator For The Professional Development You Need

When it comes to professional development opportunities or technology needed for your classroom, you know best what you need and what will best serve your students. However, it can be difficult to ask for it.  Budgets are tight, you don’t want to seem greedy, you don’t want other teachers to think you are trying to “take” the limited funds, and, likely more than anything, you are just too busy and overwhelmed with the daily tasks of teaching to make time to ask. However, high-quality professional development and useful technology advancements can really transform your classroom. And sometimes you just need to ask. And know how to ask.

For my coursework in my Educational Technology Leadership class we are looking at ISTE Standards for Coaching 4: Professional Development and Program Evaluation. More specifically, performance indicator B which reads “Design, develop, and implement technology rich professional learning programs that model principles of adult learning and promote digital age best practices in teaching, learning, and assessment (ISTE, 2017).” We are guided by questions about what role administration plays in in designing professional development and how to advocate for professional learning opportunities when administrators pursue new educational technology initiatives. While considering these questions, I wanted to focus on how best to communicate teachers needs/wants with administrators as they pertain to professional learning around technology initiatives.  

There are many types of administrators. I have had at least 10 in my 14-year teaching career, so I have seen many different personalities and styles.  But, I think it is important for teachers to keep in mind that administrators have the same goals as teachers…we all want the students in our classrooms to be as successful (academically, socially, and emotionally) as they possible can.  In this age of teacher evaluations it can seem like there is this greater divide between the goals and focuses of teachers and administrators, but I don’t feel that is the case. At least it hasn’t been in my experience. The key is communication, as is the key to most all our relationships in life.  Your administrator is not going to know what you need unless you tell them.

Here are some recommendations for communicating your professional needs to an administrator:

  1. Make a list.

Get organized. Make a list of what you are requesting and why.

  1. Schedule a Meeting

Don’t make your request via email or over a casual conversation in the hallway. Also, don’t have this discussion during a meeting that is scheduled for another purpose. Make your request be the purpose for the meeting.

  1. Ask

Be direct and clear. Ask for what you need. Be specific and get to the point. Caralee Adams wrote a piece I found on the Scholastic website that speaks to this. “Often teachers don’t think through how to ask for what they want, or they’re too busy to even try. That attitude can result in missed opportunities. And grumbling in the faculty lounge, rather than raising the issue with your boss, won’t get you results (Adams).”

  1. Explain what you are doing and how it’s going

Administrators have a lot on their plate and a lot of teachers/grades/subjects to keep track of. Make sure your administrator knows what you are doing in your classroom and how it’s working with the training and tools you currently have access to.

  1. Explain how you will use the PD you are requesting.

Tell your administrator what you will do with the training or tools you are requesting. How will having these help your students more successful?

  1. Have a plan.

Make sure you have done your homework. How much will this training or tech tool cost? How will the administrator go about looking how to obtain your request? The more research you do, the less they might have to do. This might increase the likelihood on it getting approved.

  1. Thank them.

Sure, it’s part of their job. But everyone likes to be thanked and appreciated. Thank your administrator for their time and for listening to your request.

  1. Follow up.

If your request is granted, follow up and tell your administrator what you learned and how you are using the training or tool in your classroom. If your request was denied, follow up and ask if there is anything you can do to help facilitate your request being granted.

So now, start reflecting and researching. What do you need? What will help your students grow and succeed as 21st century learners?  Make a list, have a plan, schedule a meeting, and ask!  


Adams, C. (publication date unknown) Scholastic website. Retrieved on 2019, February 24 from:

Gonzales, Jennifer (2017). Cult of Pedagogy Website (Retrieved on February24, 2019) from: (2017) ISTE Standards for Coaches. (Retrieved on 2019, February 23) from:

Differentiating Teacher PD

When planning curriculum and gathering instructional materials teachers are always looking for ways to differentiate for the diverse learners in their classrooms. As teachers we do this on a daily basis and we do it so often that most of the time we hardly realize we are doing it. It’s just a strategy we use in order to provide all our students the best opportunities for success. But what about when it’s the teachers who are the learners? Is the learning being differentiated for us? Teachers are just as diverse as our students when it comes to what we require as learners if the learning is to be beneficial and effective.

As I look most closely at ISTE Coaching Standard 4 (Professional Development and Program Evaluation), specifically Performance Indicator B (Design, develop, and implement technology rich professional learning programs that model principles of adult learning and promote digital age best practices in teaching, learning, and assessment.) I wanted to look more closely at how our knowledge of adult learning might impact our planning on professional learning experiences.

5 Ways to Differentiate Professional Learning

for Teachers

Differentiation by grade level

What works in a 4th or 5th grade class isn’t going to necessarily apply to a Kindergarten class. I have been in some very successful professional learning sessions where information is presented whole group and then teachers are divided up by grade levels (or grade level bands…K/1, 2/3, 4/5). This type of differentiation is most applicable to elementary schools.

Differentiation by subject area

This type of differentiation would apply more to middle and high school teachers. The professional learning experience could either be something that applies to most all teachers, for example: a training on Google Classroom, and there is a whole group session at the beginning and then subject area teams split off to discuss further how this particular learning could best apply to their subject area. Another way this type of differentiation could work is just by having teachers of different subject areas be focusing on completely different types of learning experiences based on the needs of their department.

Differentiation by experience

Technology professional development is an example of an area where different learners have different experiences with the tools and programs and also have different comfort levels. Some many want help learning how to print or add bookmarks and others may be ready to create screencasts or help students create blogs.

Differentiation by interest

Teachers are unique individuals and each bring a a part of themselves into their classrooms.  Soe might have interest in incorporating yoga into their classrooms, some might add music to the curriculum, and others might enjoy cooking.  And many teachers get ideas for how to enrich their curriculum from other teachers sharing their strategies and providing training.

Plan for Differentiation Before, During, and After

I found a blog post by Jen Cirillo on the ASCD website about differentiating instruction in professional learning and she mentions some steps to take before, during, and after the learning experience. Here are some of her suggestions:

Before the Experience:

  • Know your audience
  • Plan with flexibility
  • Think about what they need to know as practitioners (Cirillo, 2015)

During the Experience:

  • Model different ways of teaching
  • Remember that how you learn best isn’t always the way everyone else learns
  • Transparent facilitation anc check-ins
  • Consider the whole learner
  • Formative assessments (Cirillo, 2015)

After the Experience:

  • Ongoing learning and differentiation through: coaching/mentoring in the classroom, online learning, access to resources, or reflection logs (Cirillo, 2015).


Cirillo, J. (2015). ASCD website. Retrieved 2019, April 1 from: (2017) ISTE Standards for Coaches. (Retrieved on 2019, March 1) from:

Preparing our Students to Work Collaboratively

In my course, Educational Technology Leadership, we are currently exploring what 21st century learning looks like and how coaches can use this understanding to guide their work. Using the ISTE Standards for Coaches as a framework, for this module we are looking at 3 standards:

ISTE-C Standard 1: Visionary Leadership

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

ISTE-C Standard 2: Teaching, Learning, and Assessment

  1. Coach teachers in and model incorporation of research-based best practices in instructional design when planning technology-enhanced learning experiences

ISTE-C-Standard 6: Content Knowledge and Professional Growth

  1. Engage in continual learning to deepen content and pedagogical knowledge in technology integration and current and emerging technologies necessary to effectively implement the ISTE Student and Educator standards

When I think back on my own education and my current work as a teacher as well as what I am learning in my own program as a student, one of the most significant shifts I see in 21st century learning is a focus on collaboration.  With the technological advances and increased access to both devices and information, it is often viewed that technology has isolated people and taken away face-to-face interactions. While this is true in some ways, I believe that technology has and should be a catalyst to increase, encourage, and make available opportunities for beneficial and meaningful collaboration in the lives of 21st century learners.  However, as educators, we are tasked with helping our students make productive and positive use of these opportunities.

The goal of collaboration is that more brains together increase the quality of the end product as well as the experience of the process. This happens because tasks can be shared, members can “specialize” in areas, and each collaborator brings a unique background and set of experiences.  Previously, most collaboration happened in person during real-time. Phone and email increased the options for collaboration but today’s technology allows for collaboration to occur on a much larger scale and can connect people who will likely never be able to meet in person.

Most teachers (and people) recognize that collaboration is an important life skill and something we should be doing in our classrooms, but often we forget that knowing how to collaborate is a skill-set in and of itself.  Just like social skills that we teach (and should continue to teach) in early education, our students need us to teach and model and scaffold collaboration skills. They need to understand the goal of collaboration and how to engage in the process successfully. In an Edutopia article, Mary Burns writes,  “Promoting real collaboration is hard to do well—and it doesn’t just happen on its own. If we want real collaboration, we need to intentionally design it as part of our learning activity (Burns, 2016).”

In Burn’s article, “5 Strategies to Deepen Student Collaboration” (Burns, 2016) she describes some very helpful strategies for teachers when they are using collaboration in their classroom. Below is her list (Burns, 2016) and my summary of her description:

1. Create Learning Activities that are Complex

When activities truly challenge our students, they are motivated to get help from others and need more than one idea or strategy.

2. Prepare Students to be Part of a Team

Students need to understand the goal of their group work. There needs to be some work done as far as expectations and building relationships before the “real” collaboration can begin.

3. Minimize Opportunities For Free-Riding

One of the biggest issues with group work comes when a member isn’t doing his/her share of the work.  By giving meaningful team roles and having students evaluate themselves and their peers (Burns, 2016) the likelihood that a team member will not contribute their share is decreased.

4. Build in Many Opportunities for Discussion and Consensus

As I mentioned earlier, the process is just as (if not more) important than the product in collaborative student projects.  Emphasizing this to the students and providing them time to learn from the experience is key.

5. Focus on Strengthening and Stretching Expertise

Not all students in a group will have the same level of knowledge. The goal really needs to be on what each member can bring to the group and how all members can learn something from each other. Like in all areas of our classroom, the focus should be on growth not solely achievement.


Mary Burns summarizes this all very well when she writes, ““As teachers, we can promote real collaboration by shifting our role from instructor to coach—promoting team autonomy, checking in on students and providing instant feedback, and helping them increasingly learn to work together productively to attain a common goal (Burns, 2016).”

One of my favorite places to go when I am looking for digital tools is Common Sense Media’s Top Lists.  They have list of Student Collaboration Tools which includes 28 resources, K-12.  While I don’t have experience with many of these, I have had good experiences with Google Hangouts, Google Drive, and Padlet both as a student and a teacher.  Since I teach Kindergarten currently there aren’t many on this list that would apply to my classroom, but I am interested in trying out Popplet and PenPal Schools, both of which are free or have a free version.



Burns, M. (2016). 5 Strategies to Deepen Students Collaboration.  (Retrieved on 2018, Oct. 30) from:

Common Sense Media website. Top Picks: Student Collaboration Tools. (Retrieved on 2018, Oct. 30) from: (2017) ISTE Standards for Coaches. (Retrieved on 2018, November 5) from:

Embracing Imperfection in Our Classrooms

In this week’s module for my Educational Technology Leadership course, we are looking at resources, skills, and processes that might help us as we co-plan learning activities with our peers. Using the ISTE Standards for Coaches as a framework, for this module we are looking at these 2 standards:

ISTE-C Standard 1: Visionary Leadership

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

ISTE-C Standard 2: Teaching, Learning, and Assessment

  1. Coach teachers in and model incorporation of research-based best practices in instructional design when planning technology-enhanced learning experiences


For my work this week I want to look out how best to help teachers embrace “mess” in their classrooms. We want to encourage our students to take risks, try the hard stuff, and focus on growth, yet sometimes we don’t model that in our classrooms. I can’t speak for secondary teachers, but as a primary-grade elementary school teacher I know that there are a lot of teachers who want things to look “perfect”…myself included. And we feel pressure (either real or imagined) from families, peers, and ourselves to have our classrooms, bulletin boards, and newsletters looking “good”.  But it goes much further than this. We also want our learning activities to go according to plan and we don’t want things to get “messy”.

I found an article from the Chronicle of Higher Education titled “Pedagogy of Imperfection” by Maha Bali that really dove into this issue that I have been considering.  My favorite quote of the article is, “The problem with this is that we are often presented with polished projects and we start to associate imperfection with unpreparedness. (Bali, 2017)”  This is often how I feel when things don’t go “right” in my class. I fear I was unprepared, but often I don’t think that was the reason. While this article is short, nearly every sentence resonated with me and helped me to better understand how important it is for teachers to embrace and celebrate “imperfection” and the process rather than the product. Our students learn just as much from our behavior and responses to what is happening in the classroom than from our carefully constructed learning experiences. If we want our students to take risks, be ok with “imperfection”, and value the process of getting to the final product then we must model this in our teaching and behavior in the classroom.

In this article Bali talks about how perfection is a self-defined construct and that learning is an imperfect process (Bali, 2017).  Bali has listed 3 areas in which we, as educators, might start when it comes to embracing imperfection in our classrooms.


  1. Keep your pedagogy open.
  2. Take more risks.
  3. Encourage imperfection in student work (Bali, 2017).


I can relate to all three of these.  I’m a planner, so it makes me feel like I have things under control when my plan book (at least the basic structure of my lessons) is filled out weeks in advance and things are going according to schedule.  Doing this, however, can make me feel like I “messed up” if I need to adjust things or if I don’t end up doing thing according to plan. Being prepared and organized are key to being a successful teacher, but not to the point where you fear adjusting your plans and learning experiences when it feels like that it what is best for your students.  Taking risks is one of those things that is important to model for students. When we say one thing, “try new things, don’t be afraid to fail, take risks”, and then model that in our classrooms, it has a much greater impact on our students. They need to see how we react when the technology doesn’t work or the art lesson is a disaster. Because it’s not really about the failure, it’s about how we react to it and how/if we persevere afterwards. Encouraging imperfection in student work is a way we let students know that the process of learning is just as valuable (if not more) as the end result.  In my Kindergarten class, my students are just beginning to write. They know a few sight words and might be able to sound out a few short words. But they have so much they want to say in their writing. I encourage them to try those words that they probably can’t spell. If they want to write about the “gigantic cat”, I want them to try and spell “gigantic” rather than change their story to the “big cat” just because they know how to spell the word “big”.

We want our students to participate, share their thoughts and ideas exactly as they are, and try new things. We want to cultivate classrooms that encourage this and one of the first steps to doing this is to look at our teaching practice.  Are we modeling what we are encouraging our students to do?

“Seeing other people make mistakes, laugh it off, and keep going helps to open doors for others to join in the experimentation. If there is no expectation of perfection, this gives a sense of permission to participate (Bali, 2017).”


Bali, M. (2017). Chronicle for Higher Education: Pedagogy of Imperfection. (Retrieved on 2018, November 12) from: (2017) ISTE Standards for Coaches. (Retrieved on 2018, November 5) from:

A Matter of Time: PD Frequency & Follow-Through

“Time, Time, Time…See What’s Become of Me.” According to a 2015 report by The New Teacher Project (TNTP), teachers spend about 19 days or approximately 10% of their school year on professional development. The financial cost, according to the report is about $18,000 per teacher per year and that totals up to about $8 billion … Continue reading "A Matter of Time: PD Frequency & Follow-Through"

Project Evaluation of Edmodo Certified Trainer Course (ECT) at Edmodo

Project Evaluation of Edmodo Certified Trainer Course (ECT) at Edmodo – 2017-2018

ECT SWOT Analysis.jpg

This project is being conducted by Autumn Ottenad, Community Growth Manager at Edmodo. I am trying to figure out if the new Edmodo Certified Trainer (ECT) program which I recently revamped taking it from six to four weeks is successful because Edmodo wants groundswell, massive growth for the betterment of the community.

Executive Summary

This evaluation is formative in nature, which means that this information I’ve gathered and which I now present is not intended to determine the overall worth of the program.  Instead, this data will allow me to make some recommendations and comment on perceptions surrounding the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the Edmodo Certified Trainer program at Edmodo.

Important points that will be reviewed in depth in this report:

  • Educators feel comfortable to “train-the-trainer” and present about Edmodo and know that there are staff and peers who support them there.
  • Educators becoming Edmodo Certified Trainers (ECTs) would like to have colleagues and figures to whom they can turn for conversation and advice in their profession. 
  • Educators have high confidence in their ability to succeed in the classroom with Edmodo.
  • Educators who become ECTs have a high opinion of their influence/participation in their community and professional learning network.
  • The Instructional Facilitators and mentors of the cohort have communicated to the cohort that high achievement it is crucial and they are striving to provide it.
  • When these educators become ECTs, they would like more information about how Edmodo functions as a product and company.

Recommended Next Steps

Thinking ahead to future cohorts the decision at hand becomes how do we strike a balance between quality and quantity of the ECTs who graduate from the course? We saw the same drop off after week two of the previous cohort with a number of the participants as we did in the in this current cohort.  Kate B., the instructional facilitator, began to speculate a few different options for the future cohorts. Suggested Option A. Keep the same design of four weeks, producing high caliber, but few ECTs. Suggested Option B. Redesign the course again and trim it down to two or three weeks to create more, but potentially not as high caliber ECTs. Trimming to three weeks is doable, but trimming down to two weeks total may be problematic.  “Other than having to encourage Bobby, one of the mentors, to keep up with the scoring (again, I’m so disappointed in his lack of engagement), this cohort went very smoothly, and I think that the participants enjoyed it. Lidia, the other mentor from Argentina, was wonderfully engaging and the more active the mentors were in the group, the more the participants engaged with us. It would be interesting to reach out to those who did not complete the cohort and ask them to complete a survey about their reasons for lack of completion. I’d be curious to read their responses.  I was very thoughtful in the design of this course, but I also recognize that folks need to be motivated and stay motivated to complete the work.” I did reach out to those who did not finish the course or dropped out early on. My responses from those who dropped out first were mostly that they did not have the time to invest in the class at this moment or that they do not hold the product knowledge at this time to complete the ECT program at the level that they would need to find the course fruitful. For those who it was a wrong time I will reach out again for the next cohort to see if that one is better, and I wonder if the Summer would be better because they will have more free time.  For the few who stated they did not have the right amount of product knowledge I sent them the link to join the Certified Learner course which is our base level of the community and it is a self-paced 12 module course. I think if they went through this course on their own time they would become sufficiently knowledgeable about the product to then become an ECT.

Overall the changes that were made to the ECT program were positive, proactive modifications in my perception but we have to be able to scale the number of graduates without compromising the content and quality of the program.  I come with the educator background, so my guidance is always swayed by the fact that we are asking these educators to represent the company in the world without much supervision after this process and Edmodo needs to trust that the ECTs will serve the product well to any audience.  But I can also see the need for groundswell and the incorporation of a large ground army for the product so that Edmodo can have as many people trained sufficiently on the product as possible.

Bringing Computational Thinking to Educators Professional Learning

As I begin to wrap up my studies in EDTC 6106 Educational Technology Leadership for the DEL program our last inquiry asked us to explore; what does the ideal technology-rich professional learning program look like? From there I began to contemplate Computational Thinking again which is a common thread throughout my studies in SPU’s DEL program.  As Google for Education defines it computational thinking (ct) is “is a problem-solving process that includes a number of characteristics, such as logically ordering and analyzing data and creating solutions using a series of ordered steps (or algorithms), and dispositions, such as the ability to confidently deal with complexity and open-ended problems. CT is essential to the development of computer applications, but it can also be used to support problem-solving across all disciplines, including math, science, and the humanities. Students who learn CT across the curriculum can begin to see a relationship between subjects as well as between school and life outside of the classroom.” Applying CT to professional learning is an easy leap to make, and therefore my question became; how do we challenge K-12 stakeholders to take on the role of problem solvers in designing solutions for the next generation? I want the responsibility of integrating technology into the educational curriculum to be a shared job between everyone who comes into contact with the students.  It cannot only fall on the shoulders of those who are tech coaches or district tech leads because they are spread so thin.  All stakeholders must take a problem-solving approach to the issue of tech integration. 


Furthermore, in Jennifer Groff’s OECD report Technology-Rich Innovative Learning Environments she explains under the heading of opportunity that, “once thought of as just a part of resources‘, we‘ve come to see how technology can be so much more than that. It can play a key role and at times a leading role, in all elements of the teaching and learning environment. Technology can shape, and reshape, who is the learner and who is the teacher. It can open up knowledge and content that otherwise would be less accessible, through access to open educational resources for example. It obviously is part of resources‘, but it is clearly integral to the 3 organization‘ component insofar as it offers a critical mediating medium for those relationships of pedagogy and assessment inherent in an organization” (2013, pg. 3). Therefore, we establish the crucial element of technology into the classroom and Groff goes as far to say that it should play a key or leading role because of its transformative nature.  If it takes a village to raise a child why is the goal of tech integration into curriculum put on just a few shoulders?  Digital Promise says As we bridge the digital divide in schools and homes across the country, we also should build educator capacity to ask students to take part in new and transformational learning experiences with technology. This will require more than sharing tips in the faculty lounge or after-school professional development for educators.” I think stakeholders who should get into the solution game are teachers, district admin, students, parents, interested companies, and government think tanks. 

Demonstrating the Scale:

The Technology Integration Matrix (TIM) illustrates how teachers can use technology to enhance learning for K-12 students. The TIM incorporates five interdependent characteristics of meaningful learning environments: active, collaborative, constructive, authentic, and goal-directed (Jonassen, Howland, Moore, & Marra, 2003). The TIM is an interactive rubric that shows the scale of integration from Entry level to the Transformation of a school to fully tech-integrated. The entry-level states that it is when “The teacher uses technology to deliver curriculum content to students.” Contrasting the transformation stage is when “The teacher cultivates a rich learning environment, where blending choice of technology tools with student-initiated investigations, discussions, compositions, or projects, across any content area, is promoted.”  If we know the problem and we have a rubric to compare our schools and districts against why then can’t we work towards a solution?

Screen Shot 2018-03-14 at 9.25.58 PM

The matrix is designed to assist schools and districts in evaluating the level of technology integration in classrooms and to provide teachers with models of how technology can be integrated throughout instruction in meaningful ways. While tech companies around the world are getting into the game of helping schools and districts out with tech integration. The Verizon Innovative Learning Schools directed by Digital Promise initiative for example “provides teachers and students in U.S. middle schools with always-available access to technology and empowers them to be content creators, adept problem-solvers, and responsible consumers of digital media and learning resources. We fully document the process so others can learn from the experiences of these schools.” 

Professional Learning Goals for Faculty now

  • Teachers should know how to leverage the device to increase student engagement, increase STEAM engagement/opportunities, increase tech proficiency (student/teacher)
  • Implement PBL model
  • Implement school-wide literacy strategies
  • Implement AVID strategies

Eventually, educators should know and be able to…

  • To utilize and demonstrate/model the use of schoolwide tech applications.
  • Identify additional tech applications that will enhance our practice and student learning.
  • Champion the integration of technology into student learning tasks.
  • Synthesize the school-wide initiatives into a comprehensive program.
  • Collaborate with other team members to develop schoolwide plans for improvement and accomplishment of goals.

So students feel empowered and be able to:

  • Create products and applications to demonstrate learning.
  • Lead learning around the use of technology.
  • Solve real-world challenges while demonstrating knowledge of content and skills that are required at each grade level.
  • Identify and explore careers that are applicable to STEAM topics/activities.

What are the next steps for developments of tech integration?

As we all know by now technology changes at a rapid pace. It is my idea is that if everyone involved takes a problem-solving approach to the issue and understands that they all share responsibility then the process can be a living process.  Continually updated lesson plans and videos added months and years from now will look completely different than they do at this moment. Districts and schools will be encouraged to use tech integration in professional learning and in the context of goal development and associated professional development planning. As we engage learners, technology needs to be woven throughout the curriculum so it becomes an integral part of the daily learning. Through regular classroom observation and targeted professional development activities, it is our hope that over time teachers will be able to effectively monitor their progress through a continuum of technology integration levels.


Groff, J. (2013, February). TECHNOLOGY-RICH INNOVATIVE LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS. Retrieved March 14, 2018, from

Office of Educational Technology, Conclusion. (n.d.). Retrieved March 06, 2018, from
Verizon Innovative Learning Schools. (n.d.). Retrieved March 06, 2018, from

Paying it Forward: Admins as Brokers of Innovation

Here’s how it starts… This module’s blog post revolves around the role of administration in professional learning programs and how that relates to digital education. The prompt is based in ISTE coaching standard 4, indicator B, which calls for digital ed leaders to “Design, develop and implement technology-rich professional learning programs that model principles of … Continue reading "Paying it Forward: Admins as Brokers of Innovation"

Changing the Mindset of School Leaders Through the Empowerment of Instructional Coaches

I have recently explored ISTE Coaching Standarto try to understand how professional learning impacts explicitly the use of education technology. This week specifically I looked at the influence of school leadership or administration and how they influence the professional learning and educational technology adoption process of the staff.

Taking advantage of technology in the classroom makes the support of a proScreen Shot 2018-02-28 at 10.34.37 PMactive school administrator who should help facilitate, and organize along with the district instructional technology task force. Within chapter three of the Project Evaluation Report Transforming Professional Learning in Washington State entitled Professional Learning Requires Attention to School and District Culture Attending it states that “the “culture” of a school or district organization requires careful attention to a variety of indicators. Desimone (2009) articulates that professional development is not one-size-fits-all that can universally be applied across contexts.  As school leadership is examining how they approach professional learning they need to keep in mind that adults learn need to have the opportunity to approach the content in a variety of contexts.  Moreover, as administrators must take on several roles in the building they can’t always be focused on these different approaches to learning.  Therefore, how can district instructional coaches (or whatever you call them in your district) be seen by administrators to hold more of a leadershiprole. Renewed+Vision+for+Leadership_+Leadership+for+Learning

When I was perusing my latest installment of English Leadership Quarterly that is a part of my NCTE membership I found an article entitled “Toward Online Participation as Teacher Leadership” by Luke Rodesiler, Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne.  This piece had a few gems in it regarding the thought process of leadership.  I know it mainly pertains to English teachers, but I think it can be applied to all educators Pre K thru Higher Education. Here is a quote “ I recognize leadership not as the product of a formal appointment in a top-down, authority-driven model but, like Lambert and colleagues (2002), as a reciprocal process embraced by those who see the need or the opportunity. This vision of leadership is not about rigid and unchanging hierarchies; instead, it promotes the boundaries of leadership as porous and flexible, allowing teachers to carry out acts of leadership as they see fit and as they are able. Additionally, for the purposes of this article, I recognize English teachers’ online participation as the creation of new content on the Web in an exploration of issues at the center of an English teacher’s work: teaching, learning, and literacy” (Rodesiler, 2018, p. 3).

Admins – Let Instructional Coaches Be your Marketing Team

Leaders who believe they can delegate the articulation of a vision for how technology can support their organization’s learning goals are those who will be the most successful in this reciprocal process. As district officials and school administrators do not have press relations managers nor do they employee marketing directors, they still need to communicate the districts message and brand.  It is important that those looking to move to the neighborhood understand who the school’s leaders are and how they will help their children. Rodesiler goes on to explain that when leadership is delegated one can “draw(n) from a content analysis of collected artifacts to document three acts of leadership embedded in the routine online participation of [English] teachers in the study: (a) making teaching practices public; (b) speaking out on topical issues in education; and (c) creating platforms for others” (2018, p. 4).  I think these three acts of leadership can lead to better job satisfaction for the administration, better community advocacy and involvement, and in the end teacher retention. 

Making teaching practices public

Before I started the DEL program at SPU, I was in need of finding people who were public about the teaching practice.  As an educator, it became crucial for me to communicate with people who were like-minded and I could find mentorship for my future.  This task required me to go online and seek these people out myself.  As I got more and more involved with Twitter and other public practices I witnessed how teachers “participated online, teachers in the study spoke out about topics tied closely to their work as educators, including curriculum decision-making, professional development, and the de-professionalization of teaching. In doing so, they took on the responsibility of adding their voices to conversations that all too often seem to be dominated by those outside the field of education” (Rodesiler, 2018, p. 3). As documented, the Web offers teachers multiple and varied avenues for exercising their influence and inviting others to do the same.  This evidence of influence can only help administrators and district officials make a case for the power of their school and their vision. 

Speaking out on topical issues in education

Although leadership in technology is needed across all levels of the education system, the need in PK–12 public schools is acute. Getting technology in schools is a multi-layer systematic change that takes budges and board members approval.  But it needs to begin to move quicker because as of 2017, twenty percent of school-aged children media consumption comes from mobile devices. Children’s use of electronic media is increasing, resulting in significant part from tech transformations, easy access to mobile devices, especially cell phones. Which meansThe majority of students may not be able to stop by the classroom after school but could interact with school while using some sort of technology. This can allow for real-time access to resources, due dates, and feedback.  On top of that  Did you also know…Only 58% of parents of school-aged children carried smartphones in 2010. Now 94% of parents of are smartphone users.  This means that the topical issues and the information being shared are happening online and on mobile devices. 

Creating platforms for others

Whichever tools the administrators condones for the educators to spread the great news of the district in school be it Twitter, Edmodo School Pages,  Facebook, Linkedin, or perhaps something like WordPress or another blog system like Medium. Demonstrating how administrators have used some of these platforms for positive career development should help persuade reluctant educators of their importance.  I believe that instructional coaches could take on the role of also demonstrating how educators can become their own advocates, self-promoters, and networking gurus if they are only willing to make their practice a bit more public.

Student Communication Tools


Bishop, D, Lumpe, A., Henrikson, R, & Crane, C. (2016). Transforming Professional Learning in Washington State – Project Evaluation Report. Seattle Pacific University: Seattle, WA.

Rodesiler, L. (2018). Toward Online Participation as Teacher Leadership. English Leadership Quarterly, 40(3), feb, 3-6. Retrieved February 25, 2018, from

A PD Makeover for the Digital Age

Professional PD, Content Area PD & Digital Age Best Practices We’ve been dealing quite a bit with professional development this quarter in Digital Education Leadership and several of our prompts have focused on how we deal with adult learners. In last week’s post, I railed against the lack of respect that is often shown to … Continue reading "A PD Makeover for the Digital Age"