3 goals that ed tech coaches need to achieve

At FETC®, an ed tech coach consultant and spokesperson shares how teacher leaders can improve teaching and learning
By: | January 14, 2020

Attendees at FETC®’s Coaches Summit learned best practices and strategies to improve student success at their districts. Here are some of the many goals that consultant and spokesperson Brianna Hodges for Future Ready Coaches provided during “Coaching Beyond the Tools.”

1. Coach teachers in the development of dynamic learning experiences

Participants learned how frustrated teachers can sometimes feel when learning about a new ed tech tool by watching an instructional video on a difficult shoe-tying method. Attendees practiced on one another.

The goal of the ed tech coach is to show teachers that there are tools that can amplify their curriculum without just teaching them how to use a specific tool, said Hodges. “That’s a really easy thing to fall into. At one point during my career, I realized that my entire team focused too much on: Click on ‘file.’ Click on ‘new.’ Open this. Insert that.”

This created an unwanted effect among educators. “We were being so explicit with our teachers that they felt like the only way they could teach a new software to students was if they themselves were experts,” she said. “Teachers felt that they had to be an expert first.”

Instead, ed tech coaches need to explain “why they are using this technology and then how.”

2. Facilitate teaching and learning enhanced by digital resources

It’s important to articulate to teachers and administration that the role of the ed tech coach is to help educators “learn with learning,” said Hodges. “A challenge many ed tech coaches face is only being seen as a member of the geek squad who fixes a broken printer, for example. I had to push back on this notion with my superintendent that my area is in curriculum and instruction.”

How can we get past this misunderstanding? Communicate the importance of only using technology when it’s appropriate to increase engagement.

3. Ensure high-quality instruction use

Unfortunately, many ed tech coaches only talk to teachers who are interested in adopting new technology. “If teachers don’t want to do it, we just let them do their thing,” said Hodges. “The problem is that there are now kids sitting in that classroom who are not receiving high-quality instruction. They will then fall behind their peers who are receiving high-quality instruction.

To ensure high-quality instruction use, ed tech coaches need to communicate with teachers who are not interested in adopting new technology and having them find the time to learn. “It’s a hard conversation to have and one that’s not easily fixed,” said Hodges. “But we need to make sure we are making strides for that.”

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