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ISTE Standards for Coaches 2: Model effective tech integration

By Kara Gann 12/9/2014 Assessment

ISTE Standards for Coaches 2: Teaching, Learning and Assessments
Technology coaches assist teachers in using technology effectively for assessing student learning, differentiating instruction, and providing rigorous, relevant and engaging learning experiences for all students.

“I don’t have time to integrate technology into my classroom.”

“I already have so much to do, I can’t add one more thing into my day.”

“I don’t know what technology integrated into my classroom looks like.”

These types of statements are all very familiar to technology coaches, who might hear some variation of the above multiple times a day. But far from getting tired of such complaints, tech coaches are happy to have the opportunity to impact both established and innovative teaching methods by guiding teachers in the development of rigorous, relevant and engaging learning experiences for all students.

In my post about the first ISTE Standard for Coaches, I shared how coaches provide visionary leadership to school districts and affect teacher pedagogy and student learning. This post focuses on Standard 2 of the ISTE Standards•C: Teaching, Learning & Assessments, which talks a lot about modeling. As an experienced teacher, coach and administrator, I believe modeling is critical to implementing new strategies for instruction, because you often have to see firsthand how a new strategy looks within your own teaching environment before you can grasp its importance and how it should work.

During one staff development day, the coaches at Laramie County School District #1 (LCSD1), where I previously worked, presented a session on the use of animation in content areas. According to research conducted by Tim Hoeffler and Detlev Leutner (2007), animations used for representational purposes have a strong educational effect (effect size = .89) when used as a primary strategy to teach a concept. To convey how this might work in practice, we coaches shared samples of animated clips, modeled how teachers could implement them, and provided the tools and websites we used to create the examples. For the rest of the session, the teachers created their own animations to use in their instructional units over the next few weeks. Without the modeling that occurred during this staff development, those teachers may have missed a valuable opportunity to incorporate meaningful technology into their classes.

ISTE Standards•C 2 also includes language that supports the creation and implementation of engaging differentiated experiences for all students. To provide differentiated experiences, a teacher must use both formative and summative assessment methods. Once teachers have administered an assessment to a student and completed the scoring, the real work of analyzing the data begins. A teacher must know how to interpret results and communicate findings to improve instructional practice. Data collection will be interactive, timely and motivating for students if the teacher uses technology-based data gathering tools.

LCSD1 tech coaches spent numerous hours instructing teachers and modeling ways that interactive response systems can efficiently provide immediate formative assessments to teachers and students. Teachers are now using response systems that were once idle because they discovered how these tools can make assessing student progress timely, meaningful and, most important, engaging to the learner.

Think about how modeling has helped improve your teaching and consider inviting a tech coach to model the wealth of resources available.

Kara Gann holds a M.Ed. in administration and is the strategic integration director for Atomic Learning. She was a member of the ISTE Board of Directors (2008-12) and its Executive Committee. Gann has received a Presidential Volunteer Service award as well as an ISTE Making IT Happen award. 

This article is an updated version of a column that was originally published in the June 2012 issue of Learning & Leading with Technology.

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