One of the best ways
a tech coach can reach teachers is to stop talking about technology.
It may seem counterintuitive, but focusing on technology can be
alienating, especially for the skeptics and reluctant
"Sometimes when tech coaches step in to help, they'll start with the
technology — and they're not speaking the same language teachers speak when they
start talking about technology," said peer coaching expert Les Foltos.
As tech integration specialist Krista Moroder pointed
out, most teachers don't care about
technology — nor should they. Teachers care about creating authentic learning
experiences, and it's up to coaches to show how technology can help them do
brought technology into schools, but there is still a really significant number
of teachers who don't use it. And if they do, they're not integrating it into
the kinds of learning activities that are going to help kids prepare those
skills that are so important," Foltos said.
To encourage more teachers to use technology to its fullest
potential, he recommends allowing pedagogy to drive tech integration within your
school or district. He offered the following tips for taking a pedagogy-based
approach to coaching.
Start by asking questions.
Many tech coaches feel pressured to be the expert in the room,
especially when it comes to technology. However, it's often more effective to
approach teachers as learning partners. By asking questions about specific
learning activities and areas where a teacher might be interested in
collaborating, coaches can provide a more personalized learning
"My experience is that teachers who work with coaches say, 'I don't
want an expert, I want someone I can learn with and from,' " Foltos
Uncover the instructional goal.
Once you pinpoint a specific learning activity to work on, find out
what the teacher hopes to accomplish with the lesson. Then work with the teacher
to identify which tools best meet that goal.
For example, if communication and collaboration are an important part
of the lesson, you might guide the teacher toward a blog or video production
app, Foltos said.
"Coaches need to learn how to peel back the onion to look for the
instructional goal, then pair the technology with that goal," Foltos
Consider how class time will be spent.
Another important factor to address is how the teacher wants students
to spend their time. In the example above, if the teacher opts for video, ask
how much time students should spend focusing on writing versus developing their
technology skills. If the focus is on writing, look for a simple tool that
doesn't require a lot of time or learning to use.
Most coaches naturally find it easier to talk about technology than
pedagogy. But to meet the Common
Core, teachers and coaches need to find the
middle ground between the two.
"Most state standards previously didn't talk about technology,"
Foltos said. "The Common Core at least is explicit about technology, so it opens
the door for that conversation."
Want to learn more about helping fellow educators integrate technology? Take
the self-paced ISTE