Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The importance of Tech Coaches

As schools start to migrate from a classroom set of computers to a One on One environment, there are a few things that need to be considered in the transition.  The most important thing is an in-house technology coach who can work with students and staff during and after the implementation.

I have been taking part in several area technology council meetings in the tech coach meeting and I am fascinated by the many things that are coming out of schools when a coach is a part of the mix. Teachers who are rather hesitant in the implementation and are afraid of technology feel more willing to try new things when there is a coach to pat them on the back and guide them in the right direction.

A colleague of mine walked me through her process as a coach and it is impressive.  She starts off meeting a teacher and finding out exactly what is needed in the class.  She spends a little time mastering the program or app being used and then when the time comes to start the project, she goes into the first class of the day and teaches the lesson to the students and the teacher observes.  She goes tot he second class and teaches, but has the teacher help.  For the next class, she sits in back as a resource if needed but the teacher does the lesson.  When the last class rolls around, she is back in her office and only goes to a classroom when needed, which she said isn't very often. I think that is very effecient and a great process to have to get a staff member on board with technology.

Several schools are using the SAMR  (The Substiutution Augmentation Modification Redefinition) Model to help identify the needs of the staff.   The teachers are asked to complete a personal survey about their technology usage and understanding.  The coaches explore the data and make a determination about what professional development needs done, who needs what training.  It helps the staff determine what is critical to the training model and what can be left out.  After all, who wants to go to a staff development when something everyone but two teachers know is being taught again?

I have determined after hearing others talk about the models and the need for coaches that my district will have something like this available soon.

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