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Know the ISTE Standards for Coaches: Visionary Leadership

By Helen Crompton 4/13/2015 Education leadership

ISTE Standards for Coaches 1:Visionary Leadership.Technology coaches inspire and participate in the development and implementation of a shared vision for the comprehensive integration of technology to support excellence and promote transformational change throughout the instructional environment.

Visionary leadership is the first of six goals for technology coaches and arguably the most crucial. A visionary leader is a technology coach who inspires educators to be visionary in their use of technology. And developing a shared vision for positive, transformative technology use is critical for a school to move toward successful tech integration.

Technology coaches can implement multiple strategies and purchase cutting-edge devices, but if they don’t have buy-in from educators and administrators, they will be fighting a losing battle. Of course, getting that buy-in is not always an easy task. The burning question on the lips of technology coaches across the country is: How do I encourage educators and others who are resistant to using technology?

First, begin with the end in mind. Showcase a simple but engaging technology lesson that an educator has already successfully implemented in the classroom. For example, present a novel blog that a language arts class used as a platform to discuss and critically think about teacher-assigned concepts. This example could demonstrate how students express themselves more thoroughly while using technology, are curious about their peers' reactions to their inputs and are willing to change their minds about previous assumptions, thereby growing within a collaborative environment.

Second, chunk the lesson for the educators to explain the importance of front-loading students with parental permissions, information on cyberethics, how and when to blog, and the administration of formative and summative assessments.

Third, demonstrate how to set up a classroom blog and give educators a blog account so they can become familiar with the technology. There are several free, K-12 student blogs, such as Edublogs.org. Ask educators to prepare successes, failures and questions to address at the next meeting, prior to launching the technology lesson. Educators can use blogs for a variety of content areas, not just language arts. As educators become familiar with the technology, they can extend their lessons by collaborating in other content areas. For example, a language arts class can collaborate with science or social studies to immerse students in their learning.

Educators must be willing to vary technology lessons since students are digital natives and quickly become bored with the same technology strategies. Encourage educators to ask their students for help. Often, students are eager to lead a technology lesson. Students greatly benefit from using technology for many reasons. For example, students can develop their technology portfolios throughout their educational career and showcase their best pieces for higher education.

There are four indicators for this standard. The development, communication and implementation of a shared vision for technology is the first indicator. The other three indicators also funnel into making the shared vision happen with:

  • Planning, development, communication, implementation and evaluation of strategic plans.
  • Policies, procedures, programs and funding strategies to implement that shared vision.
  • Strategies for initiating, sustaining and managing technology innovations.

The approaches in the table below show three different ways technology coaches could consider and possibly establish a shared vision in their schools.

Technology coaches 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.

Approach 1. The technology coach is dedicated to the vision that she has for technology and is confident that outside help is unnecessary.

Approach 2. The technology coach is dedicated to the school having a shared vision and actively supports teachers in being part of that shared vision. A school technology committee is formed with relevant stakeholders who connect with other groups in the school.

Approach 3. The technology coach is dedicated to the school having a shared vision and actively supports teachers in being part of that shared vision. The coach is also actively involved in connecting with others at a district, state and global level to keep abreast of current matters in educational technology. A school technology committee is formed with relevant stakeholders who connect with other groups in the school.

a. Contribute to the development, communication and implementation of a shared vision for the comprehensive use of technology to support a digital age education for all students.

Not addressed: There is no evidence of this standard in the approach, as the vision is not shared.

Addressed: The coach is dedicated to a shared vision for the school.

Addressed: The coach is dedicated to a shared vision for the school.

b. Contribute to the planning, development, communication, implementation and evaluation of technology-infused strategic plans at the district and school levels.

Not addressed: There is no evidence of this standard in the approach. The coach does not feel that she/he needs help from others.

Partially addressed: Although this is not specifically described in the approach, the technology committee may do some of this work, and a coach should ensure that this happens.

Addressed: The coach stays abreast of school and district initiatives and connects these back to the work of the technology committee.

c. Advocate for policies, procedures, programs and funding strategies to support implementation of the shared vision represented in the school and district technology plans and guidelines.

Not addressed: There is no evidence of this standard in the approach. There is no shared vision and a lack of connection to others in the school or district.

Not addressed: There is no evidence that the coach stays abreast of district initiatives to connect these back to the work of the technology committee.

Addressed: The coach stays abreast of school and district initiatives and connects these back to the work of the technology committee.

d. Implement strategies for initiating and sustaining technology innovations, and manage change process in schools and classrooms.

Partially addressed: The coach may be doing this within a shared vision, but it will not be sustainable without the teachers and others supporting those plans.

Addressed: The coach would work with the technology committee to implement the strategies and manage the change process.

Addressed: The coach would work with the technology committee to implement the strategies and manage the change process.

In Approach 1, the technology coach has decided that she has a good amount of knowledge about this area and that her vision  for technology will drive the school forward in the use of technology. However, this plan is unlikely to be effective without the support of the teachers and other school staff. In addition, this coach is not connecting with others at the district level and beyond to keep up with the policies and ideas that are being shared. This approach does not meet any of the indicators for this standard.

In Approach 2, the technology coach is dedicated to a shared vision of technology use. This coach is connecting with teachers to find out their wants and needs before making decisions and shows the teachers the importance of those decisions. This coach makes sure everyone’s voice is heard by setting up a technology committee with all the relevant stakeholders, including student members. This technology committee connects to stakeholders throughout the rest of the school to make sure that everyone understands why important decisions have been made about the use of technology and student learning. This approach meets some of the standards but not all.

Approach 3 is similar to Approach 2, except that this technology coach is more explicit about what the technology committee is doing and attends important meetings at the district level and beyond to ensure they keep up to date with advancements in technology and in the policies they implement at the district level.

If a school has a shared vision, it is clear when you walk through the doors of the building. With a shared vision, teachers understand how technologies are chosen for the school, and they have been part of the decision-making process. This school team works with technology to promote excellence and support transformational change throughout the instructional environment.

Learn more about technology coaching in our self-paced online Coaching Academy.

Paula Ross assisted in writing this article. She is a performance analyst for the Coast Guard and is currently working on her doctorate in education at Liberty University.

Helen Crompton is an assistant professor of instructional technology at Old Dominion University in Virginia. She is a researcher and educator in the field of instructional technology, and she earned her Ph.D. in educational technology and mathematics education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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