Category Archives: iste coaching standard 1

Initiating and Sustaining: Two-Part Approach to Successful PD

The good news: teachers desperately want quality technology professional development. The bad news: many still aren’t receiving options for high quality, ongoing professional development. ISTE Coaching Standard 1d asks coaches to “implement strategies for initiating and sustaining technology innovations and manage the change process in schools and classrooms” (, 2017). As I considered this particular substandard, I immediately focused in on the initiating and sustaining wording. The combination of initiating and sustaining is critical to the success of technology PD.


Needs-based PD

Just as students have a wide variety of needs, so do teachers. One way to identify the needs of teachers is by creating technology PD that is customized. Prior to planning PD, surveys can be a valuable tool in determining teacher needs. Using a combination of closed and open-ended questions, “Try to ascertain which members of your teaching staff need training on specific technology tools or techniques and determine which are comfortable using technology but need more help integrating it into instruction” (Roland, 2015). PD sessions can then be targeted based on staff interest and ability. PD sessions can also be “self-contained so that teachers can choose to attend workshops only in the areas where they need extra learning” (Roland, 2013).

The technology coach at my former school did a wonderful job of hosting PD that was teacher-driven and needs-based. Workshops for new tools were leveled for beginner, intermediate, and advanced learners. Other workshops were created after polling staff to identify needs and interests. By avoiding a one-size-fits-all approach, he was able to effectively implement technology innovation in our district.

Constructivist PD

All PD walks a fine line between theoretical and practical.  Quality technology PD should begin with a solid presentation or discussion of WHY this particular tool, device, or method is a good fit for meeting the needs of learners. Once a theoretical basis exists for using the technology, teachers need the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the technology while under the guidance of an experienced peer or coach.

This critical shift in how PD occurs can be described as dissemination versus implementation. Teachers need the opportunity within a PD session to work directly with the new tool or method being introduced. This can be accomplished through a learning environment “where we see demonstrations, engage in simulations, have time to practice new technique with expectations of ongoing support and collaborative reflection and sharing” (Kelly Young as cited in Ferlazzo, 2015).


PD as a Cycle

Similar to the shift from dissemination to implementation is the idea that PD should very much be a cycle of inquiry where teachers are exposed to new ideas, allowed the opportunity to practice the concepts learned at the PD, discuss what worked and what didn’t with an experienced coach or peer, and set new goals based on that conversation. This cycle is necessary because “the process of improving teaching and learning is not often smooth or instantly successful” (Foltos, 2013).

Sean McComb, a National Teacher of the Year, believes that once-and-done PD is rarely effective. McComb advocates a three-part approach to successful PD: give teachers choice, make the content relevant and job-embedded, and don’t limit exposure to a single session. Successful and sustainable change requires that teachers “learn about a way to improve, have the opportunity to plan and implement, and then reflect and adjust, ideally in company and collaboration with colleagues or a coach” (McComb as cited in Ferlazzo, 2015).

Take and Go PD

Best practice when providing PD for teachers is to include take-home resources which can be either digital or paper. These materials might include “online tutorials, help sheets or short videos [which] will allow [teachers] to review the training on their own if they do forget how to do something” (Roland, 2015). It is also best practice to provide contact information so that attendees know how to reach the presenter should they have any questions.

Teacher and technology coach, Craig Badura, has taken the idea of distributing materials to a new level with his gamification-like App Task Challenges.  The Challenges involve short and simple directions to walk teachers through the process of using a new app or aspect of an app. Badura explains, “I have to have teachers get their hands dirty while they’re learning a new tool, so to speak, but they have to have that assurance that I’m going to help them clean up when they get done if they need that help during that time” (as cited in Gonzalez, 2016).


Foltos, L. (2013). Peer coaching (1st ed.). Corwin.

Gonzalez, J. (2016). How to Plan Outstanding Tech Training for Your Teachers | Cult of Pedagogy. Retrieved from (2017). ISTE Standards For Coaches. [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 Oct. 2018].

Roland, J. (2015). Empowering teachers to implement technology-driven educational programs. Retrieved from

Effective Communication & Questioning When Coaching

Coaches motivate, inspire, and encourage their players by asking questions, dispensing advice, encouraging do-overs and repeating skills to achieve excellence, and providing opportunities for growth. How do coaches learn and perfect their own coaching techniques? How do they know the questions to ask and how do they practice their skills? As a peer technology coach, studying the […]

EDTC 6105: ISTE Coaching Standards 1d: Visionary Leadership, 2f: Teaching Learning & Assessment – Learning to Know vs. Learning To Be

ISTE Coaching Standard 1 provides four benchmarks for technology coaches to 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. My focus is on benchmark d: Implement strategies for initiating and sustaining technology

Connecting Curriculum with 21st Century Learning Standards

We often hear instructional technology leaders and educators say that it’s not about the technology, it’s about the learning. So should be said for the curriculum. Les Foltos said that technology integration is not something separate from content and pedagogy and is only effective when it supports and enhances 21st-century pedagogy and content. This week’s […]

Students as Contributors Adding Value to our Communities

Many years ago, I worked in a school where student learning involved solving real-world problems. One example is when third graders interviewed city transportation officials as well as school district operations managers, parents, and staff to design a new parking lot and traffic pattern for the congested unsafe lot. They used math to design model […]

EDTC 6105: ISTE Coaching Standards 1d: Visionary Leadership, 2f: Teaching Learning & Assessment & 6: Content Knowledge and Professional Growth

ISTE Coaching Standard 1 provides four benchmarks for technology coaches to 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. My focus is on benchmark d: Implement strategies for initiating and sustaining technology

EDTC 6105: ISTE Coaching Standards 1d: Visionary Leadership & 2f: Teaching Learning & Assessment

ISTE Coaching Standard 1 provides four benchmarks for technology coaches to 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. My focus is on benchmark d: Implement strategies for initiating and sustaining technology

Creating Trust in Coaching Relationships



I really like the quote above by Stephen Covey about trust.  It reminds me that in order to be effective in relationships trust must be present.  This week our triggering question was based off of “What role do communication and collaboration skills play in successful coaching?” I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how trust plays a role in relationships….especially in professional ones and as a peer coach.  Therefore, my triggering question for this module is:

What are some of the best practices for building trust in coaching relationships?

There are many reasons why trust is so important in coaching relationships.  In general, in order to maintain any level of communication with someone, you first have to know that you can trust them with the information you are giving them.  This is especially true in a situation where a teacher is allowing themselves to be vulnerable and open themselves up to a coach who is their to help them improve.

ISTE Standard 2

Focusing on building trust can be categorized under ISTE Standard 2: Teaching, Learning, and Assessment

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

In order for coaches to do their job of helping teachers to incorporate researched-based best practices they have to have that foundation of trust before they can move forwards.

While searching for answers to my question there are a few articles and resources that I have discovered that have helped to uncover some of the ways of building trust.

How Can We Build Trust?

In “Peer Coaching: Unlocking the Power of Collaboration,” Foltos talks about building collaboration norms as a way of conducting peer coaching meetings.  These norms help to set expectations and boundaries for each interaction and can help to build trust in the coaching relationship.  An example of this from the book would be “to start and end on time” as well as “stay on agenda.”  In my future meeting with my coaching partner creating norms will be one of the first things that I will focus on and I believe it will be one of the key ways to build trust from the start.

A website I found called “A Coach’s Toolkit: Three Ways to Build Trust” describes three ways to build trust as a coach.  One of the ways is to respect the teacher’s privacy or maintain their confidentiality.  If a teacher is feels that what they are saying is being relayed to an administrator or talked about with other colleagues without permission, than the teacher would be less likely to open up and share how they are feeling which can be a huge barrier to gaining trust.

Another way to build trust is to refrain from judgement.  The author talks about that the teacher needs to feel they can be observed without the coach telling them every thing they are doing wrong.  Instead, the coach should offer suggestions for improvement and also point out the positives in the situation.  Judgement is something that causes me (and I’m sure others) to become defensive and there are more productive ways to approach situations that can allow for more growth.

The third way the author describes how to build trust is to honor shared decision making.  Coaches should trust the teacher to make decisions based on their teaching and should allow them the freedom to make the final say on their next direction.  The coach can help them come up with solutions, but by allowing them to take control of their decisions they can take ownership of it which helps to build trust in themselves as well strengthen that trust with the coach.

Additionally, this quick 1-minute video on building trust with teachers was useful for me. I especially like the idea of having a process of coaching. Giving teachers an idea of what to expect before they go into a meeting with a coach will help them to be less nervous about the situation.

Next Steps

There are many ways to build trust, but I think I have found a few things to focus on for the time being as I have learned that taking baby steps is one of the best ways to create growth and habit changes.  This week I will meet with my coaching partner for the first time.  My goal is create norms for collaboration and actively work on ways to build trust from the beginning of our peer coaching relationship.  I am excited to see how this will work and I am sure with practice improvement will follow.


A Coach’s Toolkit: Three Ways To Build Trust With Teachers. (2015). Retrieved October 24, 2016, from

[Youtube Video]. (2016). In How Do I Build Trust as I Coach Teachers? | One Minute with Jill. Retrieved October 23, 2016, from

(2013). Peer coaching: Unlocking the power of collaboration.


Supporting Risk Taking and Innovation

Successful coaching is achieved through three sets of skills: collaboration and communication, lesson design, and technology integration (Foltos 2013). Success with lesson design and technology integration depend on effective outcomes of collaboration and communication. Without a strong foundation of collaboration and communications skills, the peer coaching relationship will not facilitate quality lesson design and technology integration.

This week, I explored the essential question of what role communication and collaboration skills play in successful coaching? Through the course reading, I begin to understand the idea that “Collaboration needs to be taught and learned”(Foltos 2013). This was something I had to reflect on. Collaboration, to me, has always seemed like a natural thing that can be more of a strength for some people than others. I knew it could be facilitated and promoted in various effective ways, but it had never been phrased in such a way to me. However, the more I thought about it, teaching and learning communication and collaboration is exactly what I have been doing through my educational journey thus far. I have been experiencing through an authentic and organic delivery that I couldn’t even identify unless I took the time to reflect upon it, and isn’t this exactly how it should be for teachers and students?

Coaches can do several things to develop those vital communication and collaboration skills. They can be intentional about:

After exploring all of these, I felt drawn to investigate strategies on how to model and promote risk taking in a peer coaching relationship.

In an online post from the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning through Indiana University Bloomington, Greg Siering outlines five key things that teachers can do to manage the risk inherent when fostering innovation. He suggests teachers:

Take an incremental approach. Too many big and new changes to instruction can be overwhelming not only to the teacher, but students as well. Small and manageable changes and risks allow the teacher to focus on the details, techniques and implementation of the new components. If the teacher’s new approach should happen to fail, it allows for the proper reflection and adjustment. It becomes a small failure that won’t have a big impact on the students or teachers. Failure should be an understood and welcomed risk. “Peer Coaches model risk taking and recognize that taking risks may occasionally mean failure” (Foltos 2013).

Do their homework. Teachers and coaches should take the time to properly research the innovations being explored. This includes researching the accounts details of real teachers partaking in similar experiences. You can hold a vast amount of knowledge and pedagogy, but  as the article puts it, learning about other teachers’ lesson “headaches,” can more realistically prepare and inform the teacher.

Involve students. Include students in your teaching effort. Inform them when you are trying something new, whether an approach or a piece of technology. Students can provide valuable feedback that can help you adjust changes accordingly.

Involve their chair (or administration). Involve administration early on in the process to build support. Communicate that student progress and outcome may look different while implementing new changes. Share plans of managing the risk and innovation with your admin and what plans are in place to assess the outcomes of the innovations. As the article states, getting your admin on board “may also help you build a stronger reputation as someone committed to the department’s educational mission.”

Document efforts and results. These innovations and changes that a teacher is implementing are created by the coach and teacher in a very purposeful way, which should include documentation and records. Why should teachers take any risk at all, if there is no proof of their process and outcome? Documenting the efforts and results can not only help refine the innovations over time, but can also create evidence of student learning outcomes.

Teachers may relate more strongly to a specific component of supporting risk and innovation. For example, some additional feedback from peers and colleagues in my cohort this week, has especially emphasized the value of having vital support from administration. Many teachers don’t feel comfortable trying much of anything new at all without support from administration. All the components above are vital to keep in mind when promoting risk taking in a peer coaching relationship.


Foltos, L. (2013). Peer coaching: Unlocking the power of collaboration.

Managing Innovation (and Risk) in Your Teaching. (Jan. 2012). Retrieved October 23, 2016, from

Coaching Roles and Responsibilities

What is essential to successful coaching? 

Where do you start? This week has been full of knowledge and enlightenment for me. It has been exciting to finally dive into the coaching side of digital leadership. I have grown to feel competent with the utilization, facilitation and implementation of digital tools and how they relate to teaching and student learning, but I have been craving the knowledge and confidence that will begin to mold me into a coaching role. When I started to explore the question of what is essential to successful coaching, I didn’t know what aspect to begin with. My first thought was relationships. They are vital and important in every aspect of life, and I naturally gravitate to building and maintaining them in my personal and professional life.

My own inquiry began around what components were most essential to creating a successful relationship in a coaching role. Some of them seem obvious to me. I think building any relationship has the same basic components: trust, respect and common ground, and when I started to look for more I was drawn to other aspects of coaching. My thinking evolved into a deeper understanding of what peer coaching really was. Within that I really became interested in the roles and responsibilities and what that entails. Below is an infographic I created on Piktochart that summarizes the most important roles and responsibilities of a coach.



Foltos, L. (2014). The Secret to Great Coaching. Retrieved from

Mentoring and coaching models. (n.d.). Retrieved from