Instructional Technology Coaches Shape Their Future During a MOOC-Ed
By: Lisa Hervey
In March of 2014, the Friday Institute’s Digital Learning Collaborative launched its inaugural Massive Open Online Course for Educators (MOOC-Ed) for instructional technology coaches – Cultivating a Culture of Change – “just as surgeons see coaching as vital to improving their craft, so should teachers” (Grimm, Kaufman, & Doty, 2014, p. 24). As such, the overarching goal for this MOOC-Ed was to expand participants’ expertise in peer coaching, and take it one step further to unlock the power of collaboration among a niche of educators tasked with building capacity for digital learning and teaching within their local schools and districts.
Instructional technology coaches are in the unique position to help their peers and understand that they cannot take on the role of the expert. Instead, coaches respond with questions and suggestions that get their peers to think more deeply about the opportunities and challenges when partnering with technology during instruction. In an effort to help meet this important obligation, MOOC-Ed participants were invited to complete an Instructional Technology Coaching Action Plan (ITCAP) aimed at helping them delve deeper into the practice of peer coaching, and included specific steps they would take to help their colleagues develop and grow when using digital resources to support and enhance student learning. Based on context and role, participants used the ITCAP template to create their personal coaching vision and goals, along with specific activities and steps extrapolated from the weekly MOOC-Ed content and their experiences.
One participant put it this way, “The Coaching Action Plan forced me to consider how I was going to apply what I was learning in this course to my own practice. I liked that we had to apply take-aways from each week’s content.”
One participant shared “The IT Coaching Action Plan has been one of my most valuable resources. It helped guide me through a process of planning for the next few years of our digital transformation and the role of our peer tech coaches.”
Many participants reported that “The most beneficial part of this course is the personal reflection when keeping the IT Coaching Plan.” In fact, almost 13% of the 661 folks who started the CDL MOOC-Ed, submitted a completed ITCAP to receive CEUs.
Of course, there is a downside. ITCAPs are not a “one size fits all” concept. They can be overwhelming for educational technology coaches just moving into their new role. We did hear a “call to action” in our evaluation data for more “encouragement” around completing the ITCAP in collaborative teams from a more “macro” standpoint. In fact, one participant shared, “We as a team are developing a district as well as a personal action plan for library/technology and instructional coaching.” The MOOC-Ed development team will continue to adjust the ITCAP template based on MOOC-Ed participant feedback. New for the fall offering, CDL MOOC-Ed participants will be able to choose from a personal or team ITCAP template to work on. This choice will give educators opportunity to make self-directed learning choices that best suit their current context and needs: a personal or team ITCAP. Those folks who participate in the MOOC-Ed with other colleagues or their coaching team, will now have the option to create a ITCAP that is inclusive of all of their voices in an effort to unify their vision and future actions toward providing comprehensive support to those in their school and/or district charged with implementing digital learning and teaching.
As a community of coaches we need to think of our role as guiding and connecting our colleagues with concepts, dispositions and tools to effectively teach with technology. Just remember what was so heavily retweeted at the recent Reform Symposium Free Online Conference (RSCON) – “Pedagogy is the driver, technology is accelerator, & passion is the gas!”
Share your thoughts…what would you want to be a part of your Instructional Technology Coaching Action Plan?
Keep being an #edtech ‘superhero’ ~ Lisa Hervey
Grimm, E., Kaufman, T. & Doty, D. (2014). Rethinking classroo observation.Educational Leadership, 71(8), 24-29.
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