Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 16

Traits of an Effective Tech Coach

Important Ed Tech Book Reviews

From Now On The Educational Technology Journal


Vol 11|No 4|January|2002 Please feel free to e-mail this article to a friend, a principal, a parent, a colleague, a teacher librarian, a college professor, a poet, a magician, a vendor, an artist, a juggler, a student, a news reporter or anyone you think might enjoy it. Other transmissions not permitted. (see copyright statement below).

The Traits of an Effective Technology Coach and Signs of a Robust Program


2002 by Jamie McKenzie About the Author What are the traits of an effective technology coach and how can schools assess the effectiveness of a coach? Once a district identifies the traits, it should blend that knowledge into the recruitment, preparation and support of technology coaches.

The case for coaching as a prime system to encourage frequent and appropriate use of new technologies by even reluctant teachers has been made in previous FNO articles (see "Coaching for a Change" in the October, 2001 issue of FNO at http://fno.org/Oct01/coaching.html. The short version of this case is that teachers learn new technologies best within an adult learning context that provides great amounts of informal, highly customized support from colleagues who can generate trust while demonstrating skills and partnering in the construction of lessons that make sense.

http://fno.org/jan02/techcoach.html[27-11-2011 03:57:33]

Traits of an Effective Tech Coach

Metaphors for Facilitator of Learning


Those who are assigned the job of supporting the growth of other teachers might quickly acknowledge that the terms "coach" and "mentor" may not adequately describe the broad array of functions and strategies required to achieve success. While coaching is quite apropos in many respects, it assumes that the facilitator will take a superior position to the learner - an assumption that would not match all situations or partnerships, since sometimes the facilitator is an equal partner in an invention or unit building process that is intriguing and challenging for all concerned. At other times the facilitator will profit from the sagacity and experience of the teacher who is supposed to be the recipient of assistance. As a foundation building exercise for determining the traits of effectiveness, it pays to broaden one's conception of the many different roles a facilitator might play over the course of a month or a year in the position. Click on a role below to read how it might apply. When is a technology coach a sidekick? a sage? a composer? an arranger? a conductor? a listener? a judge? a fan? a performer? an ally? a cheerleader? a finder? a matchmaker? a downloader? a good cop? a reporter? an advocate? an ombudsperson? an equal partner? a learner? a go for? a confessor? If the goal of the program is to reach most of the reluctant, skeptical, more traditional teachers, then care must be taken to avoid those roles likely to alienate or anger such teachers. For more on strategies to reach the reluctant teacher, see "Reaching the Reluctant Teacher" at http://fno.org/sum99/reluctant.html.

Signs of Effectiveness
Schools can measure the effectiveness of facilitator programs by tracking evidence of change in the daily practice of participating teachers in comparison with non-participating teachers. Desired Behavior Daily appropriate use . As teachers gain in skill, confidence and inclination, they and their students will begin reporting daily use of new technologies side by side with more traditional technologies such as books, Post-It Notes and Magic Markers.

http://fno.org/jan02/techcoach.html[27-11-2011 03:57:33]

Traits of an Effective Tech Coach

Continued self sustained growth

Participating teachers report sustained acquisition of new technology skills along with an expansion of lesson design capabilities.

Without exception, students in classes of Access for all students participating teachers report sufficient access to tools to manage assignments effectively. Self sustaining community of learners Technology invisible, transparent, natural Participating teachers indicate that adult learning is collaborative, ongoing and informal. Artificial, silly uses of new technologies subside and technology for the sake of technology is no longer evident. Uses of new technologies are comfortable, casual and unexceptional. Classroom strategies and activities move from an emphasis on technologies and technology skills to focus on information literacy, research, questioning and standards-based learning. Students are challenged to analyze, infer, interpret and synthesize with a mixture of classical and digital tools. Students report that they spend an increasing percentage of their time on Engaged Learning tasks - taking responsibility for their learning in a collaborative, strategic and energized mode. Both teachers and students report that teachers devote an increasing proportion of their class time to facilitating and guiding the learning of students as opposed to more Participating teachers gain enough in confidence and discernment to identify technology uses and activities they have discarded or found unsatisfactory. They report movement toward quality and worth. 2002, J. McKenzie, all rights reserved.

Expanding definitions

Support for engaged learning Teacher as facilitator

Discerning use

The EdTech Daily Practice Survey (EDP)


In order to gather evidence of change in the daily practice of teachers and the types of learning enjoyed by students, a school contrasts the responses of participating and non-participating students and teachers to the two surveys below and repeats the survey every 2-3 months to track change. There are two forms of the EDP - one for teachers and one for students.

http://fno.org/jan02/techcoach.html[27-11-2011 03:57:33]

Traits of an Effective Tech Coach

Student EDP
__ never __ monthly __ weekly __ 2-3 times weekly __ daily __ never __ monthly __ weekly __ 2-3 times weekly __ daily __ never __ monthly __ weekly __ 2-3 times weekly __ daily __ never __ monthly __ weekly __ 2-3 times weekly __ daily ___ strongly agree __ agree __ disagree

1. I make use of networked computers to explore important questions and issues arising out of the content of this class.

2. My teacher challenges me to do my own thinking, build my own answers and interpret information, using new technologies only when they might prove helpful.

3. The Internet and e-mail makes it possible for me to communicate with experts, other students and people from around the world to enrich my learning.

4. I organize my thinking using Inspiration and other software programs to make mind maps.

5. I make smart choices about the tools I use to accomplish tasks, using books, a spreadsheet or digital information when each one is the best

http://fno.org/jan02/techcoach.html[27-11-2011 03:57:33]

Traits of an Effective Tech Coach

__ strongly disagree __ never __ monthly __ weekly __ 2-3 times weekly __ daily __ strongly agree __ agree __ disagree __ strongly disagree

6. I work in a group to solve problems, make decisions and explore challenging questions.

7. I have the software skills I need to handle classroom assignments and challenges effectively and efficiently.

__ strongly agree 8. I am getting quite good at recognizing worthy uses __ agree of new technologies while avoiding the silly, trendy __ uses that waste time without delivering much of disagree value. __ strongly disagree __ never __ 9. My teacher presents the class with a challenge or monthly __ issue, points us to a large collection of relevant information resources and expects us to figure things weekly __ 2-3 out. times weekly __ daily __ strongly agree __ agree

10. I am able to make an important contribution to

http://fno.org/jan02/techcoach.html[27-11-2011 03:57:33]

Traits of an Effective Tech Coach

the work of a team considering a curriculum challenge.

__ disagree __ strongly disagree __ strongly agree __ agree __ disagree __ strongly disagree

11. The work we do in class and the tasks we must perform are going to prepare me for my life as an adult - both as a worker and as a community member.

__ strongly agree __ 12. Many of the things we do with technologies in our agree __ class seem kind of flashy and senseless to me. disagree __ strongly disagree __ strongly agree __ agree __ disagree __ strongly disagree

13. We have as much access to technology as we need and we can always get more if we need it.

__ strongly agree __ 14. We don't bother to do much with networked agree information because the network is either too slow or __ is breaking down right in the middle of a lesson. disagree __ strongly disagree strongly agree

http://fno.org/jan02/techcoach.html[27-11-2011 03:57:33]

Traits of an Effective Tech Coach

15. Most days we do not need to make use of new technologies in my classes. They have no real place in this type of course.

__ agree __ disagree __ strongly disagree

__ strongly agree __ 16. If I run into in a new task requiring software or technology skills I do not already possess, I am quite agree __ good at teaching myself the new skills or at finding disagree someone to help me learn them. __ strongly disagree 2002, J. McKenzie, all rights reserved. This form may be used without express permission by schools and non-profit organizations only. All other groups must request express permission for any use. A version in Microsoft Word is available for downloading by clicking here.

Teacher EDP
__ never __ monthly 1. I ask students to use networked computers to __ explore important questions and issues arising out of weekly the content of my class. __ 2-3 times weekly __ daily __ never __ monthly __ weekly __ 2-3 times weekly __ daily __

2. I challenge students to do their own thinking, build their own answers and interpret information.

http://fno.org/jan02/techcoach.html[27-11-2011 03:57:33]

Traits of an Effective Tech Coach

3. I encourage students to use the Internet and email to communicate with experts, other students and people from around the world to enrich their learning.

never __ monthly __ weekly __ 2-3 times weekly __ daily __ never __ monthly __ weekly __ 2-3 times weekly __ daily __ never __ monthly __ weekly __ 2-3 times weekly __ daily

4. I expect students to organize their thinking using Inspiration and other software programs to make mind maps.

5. I encourage and model smart choices about the tools students might use to accomplish tasks, using books, a spreadsheet or digital information when each one is the best.

__ never __ monthly 6. I ask students to work in groups to solve problems, __ weekly make decisions and explore challenging questions. __ 2-3 times weekly __ daily __ strongly agree __ agree __ disagree __ strongly

7. I have become quite good at adding to my technology skills by asking for help, using the tutorials and teaching myself.

http://fno.org/jan02/techcoach.html[27-11-2011 03:57:33]

Traits of an Effective Tech Coach

disagree __ strongly agree __ agree __ disagree __ strongly disagree __ strongly agree __ agree __ disagree __ strongly disagree __ strongly agree __ agree __ disagree __ strongly disagree

8. I really don't have the time or energy to do much lesson or unit development for new technologies.

9. I take pleasure in learning new approaches alongside of my peers in ways that are informal, casual and low-key.

10. I rely mainly on packaged programs to make sure my students have good technology experiences.

__ strongly agree __ 11. There is so much curriculum content to cover that agree I can rarely take the time to engage students in __ group investigations and problem solving. disagree __ strongly disagree __ strongly agree __ agree __ disagree

12. I am getting quite good at recognizing worthy uses of new technologies while avoiding the silly, trendy uses that waste time without delivering much of value.
http://fno.org/jan02/techcoach.html[27-11-2011 03:57:33]

Traits of an Effective Tech Coach

__ strongly disagree strongly agree __ 13. If I run into in a new task requiring software or agree technology skills I do not already possess, I am quite __ good at teaching myself the new skills or finding disagree someone to help me learn them. __ strongly disagree strongly agree __ agree __ disagree __ strongly disagree strongly agree __ agree __ disagree __ strongly disagree strongly agree __ agree __ disagree __ strongly disagree strongly agree __ agree __ disagree __ strongly disagree

14. The district offers me a wide and rich menu of learning opportunities that allow me to match my preferred learning styles with the activities I select.

15. Not enough time is made available for me to figure out smart ways to use technology and build the lessons and units that would comfortably blend such tools into the work of my classes.

16. I am making more time now than I used to for students to do more of the thinking - analyzing, interpreting, inferring and synthesizing.

17. I would do more with new technologies if it were not for the pressures that are loaded into me by the new state standards and tests.

http://fno.org/jan02/techcoach.html[27-11-2011 03:57:33]

Traits of an Effective Tech Coach

18. If I get stuck or frustrated with something new, whether it be technology or some other aspect of teaching and learning, I know whom to turn to if I want support and assistance.

strongly agree __ agree __ disagree __ strongly disagree

2002, J. McKenzie, all rights reserved. This form may be used without express permission by schools and non-profit organizations only. All other groups must request express permission for any use. A version in Microsoft Word is available for downloading by clicking here.

Scoring the EdTech Daily Practice Survey (EDP)


Certain clusters of questions provide evidence of growth or lack of growth in different aspects and on different program goals. Districts may also add or delete questions to customize data collection to match local goals and interests. Each district or school may devise its own interpretive scoring strategy to create a statistical portrait of change. Items 7, 9, 13 and 18 in the Teacher Survey, for example, all measure the level of commitment to personal and collaborative professional development. A very positive response could be rated as a 4 point response, while a less positive response could be rated as a 2 point response and negatives could be -2 points and -4 points. A fully positive response to all 4 items would result in a score for that cluster of 16. A fully negative response to all 4 items would result in a score for that cluster of -16. Teacher and student responses could then be charted over time for each cluster, showing the number or the percentage of staff members and students at each score at each point in time. For those wishing to employ a more generic approach, a printed 6 page scoring guide to the EdTech Daily Practice Survey is available for shipping in February for $ 25.00 plus shipping. Order online at http://fnopress.stores.yahoo.net//. Prepayment is required. Metaphors for Technology Facilitator
http://fno.org/jan02/techcoach.html[27-11-2011 03:57:33]

Traits of an Effective Tech Coach

Cheerleader (back to top) Encouragement is fundamental. In order for teachers to risk a change in daily classroom practice, they must have the courage to move forward. The facilitator provides emotional support, recognition and relief from isolation and exposure. The teacher can experiment with a partner alongside, reducing the possibility of failure, embarrassment and frustration. Sidekick (back to top) The facilitator does not have to be a lead teacher or an expert in all things technological or pedagogical. Sometimes it is better to tag along, admire, congratulate, offer support and allow the experimenting teacher to take the lead. This contradicts some of the standard definitions of mentoring because the mentor is almost always presumed to hold a superior position. Such power relationships can work to undermine the effectiveness of the position as they might provoke feelings of resentment. Listener (back to top) Clearing the way for growth and change requires an intimate understanding of the needs, preferences and styles of each experimenting teacher so that support services can be customized. If the facilitator presumes to know all the answers without asking lots of questions and listening actively to each partner's unique interests, success is unlikely. Fan (back to top) Teachers who make major strides toward changes in daily practice deserve admiration, applause and recognition. The wise facilitator avoids personal stardom and puts the experimenter in the spotlight. The facilitator exudes enthusiasm and respect like any avid fan. Ally (back to top) Some changes in daily practice might require special adjustments in existing rules and procedures. The facilitator helps the experimenter steer through bureaucratic and organizational challenges, clearing the way so that the innovation stands a chance of thriving. Finder (back to top) Successful change often requires resources that might seem rare or elusive to a teacher hard pressed to manage a full course and student load. The facilitator can help to gather and deliver such resources, whether they be links to curriculum rich Web sites, model lessons or release time to work on unit development. Matchmaker (back to top) Some of the most lasting change happens when teachers partner with colleagues. Because the typical school day allows little time for the creation of teams and coalitions, the facilitator brokers and manages the team building process, putting good people together to invent unit plans and launch projects. Some match making occurs across schools. Good Cop (back to top) In crime shows, one cop often takes a hard line with a prisoner while the partner follows up with gentleness, kindness and lots of support. In the case of schools, recent

http://fno.org/jan02/techcoach.html[27-11-2011 03:57:33]

Traits of an Effective Tech Coach

pressures for change from the state have created a situation in which facilitators can come to the support of teachers hard pressed to manage the new expectations of state standards. Reporter (back to top) Who is doing what? If a teacher makes great strides, will anyone else ever hear about it? The facilitator can make sure these achievements are recorded, reported and broadcast in ways that are motivating and encouraging. If the teacher prefers a low profile, the facilitator respects that preference but makes sure to share quietly the teacher's successes with the administration and others. Advocate (back to top) Experimenting teachers may not have the time or the influence to argue their case for change in whatever forums require attention, but the facilitator can do the presenting and arguing for them. Ombudsperson (back to top) Change can lead to conflict, misunderstandings and hard feelings as teachers step out of behaviors that have endured for many years. Two teachers with conflicting styles and interests may collide as they each try new ventures, finding themselves both wishing the laptop cart in the same week, for example. The facilitator may act to reduce conflict, ease problem-solving and make fair treatment a priority. Equal Partner (back to top) The facilitator may meet with a team of 2-3 teachers to build a new unit. The team is a group of equals. The facilitator may have more unscheduled time available to serve the interests of the invention team, but no one needs to assume a leadership role. Sometimes a "flat" team works better. The savvy facilitator avoids situations that create bad feelings because of perceived inequalities. Learner (back to top) While many facilitators may be selected for their positions because they are seen as experts in curriculum rich integration practices, expertise is fleeting in the technology field. Smart facilitators present themselves as hungry learners rather than stuffy experts. They model adult learning and questioning rather than resting on their laurels. Go For (back to top) Sometimes the experimenting teacher is too hard pressed to launch a new project. Perhaps a few quick errands will get them the special supplies or other resources they need to achieve lift off. The facilitator earns lots of credit for being willing to perform these errands enthusiastically. Confessor (back to top) Things do not always work the first time. The path of experimentation may be littered with sharp edges. Students might complain about the changes and undermine the experimenter's feelings of success. If the facilitator is a good listener, the experimenter can unload feelings of guilt or frustration without fear or embarrassment, moving quickly to thoughts of
http://fno.org/jan02/techcoach.html[27-11-2011 03:57:33]

Traits of an Effective Tech Coach

strategy and change rather than bogging down in paralyzing emotions. Sage (back to top) When the facilitator has seen others crash and burn using certain strategies, that knowledge helps to protect others from repeating the same mistakes. The collection of such history and understanding is akin to sagacity - wisdom forged in the fire of experience. Sagacity is different from expertise - kinder, gentler, softer and less haughty. "Been there. Done that." Judge (back to top) While judgment can bruise and intimidate, the sharp edge of evaluation is an essential aspect of invention. The creation of new lessons, new programs and new initiatives works best when ineffectual aspects and elements are shed in favor of those which ring true and meet standards. If the standards are generated by participants, then the facilitator can avoid accusations of arbitrary or capricious judgments. Performer (back to top) The facilitator should be able to walk the talk, but should also avoid hotshot maneuvers or flash dancing. Star behavior is likely to undermine trust and receptivity. Downloader (back to top) It is rarely appropriate to drop ship or unload what the facilitator knows onto the experimenting teachers. Even if the experimenters say "Tell us everything you know about templates," the smart facilitator resists the temptation to step into such a feeding, filling or fueling role. In the long run, expertise is likely to undermine the relationship by feeding anxieties, uncertainties and discomfort about hierarchy. Arranger (back to top) If a major goal of the program is the development of reasonably autonomous teachers - educators capable of developing and launching effective lessons without strong partners nearby, then the facilitator must take care to introduce the most powerful roles to the experimenters in the hope that they will take these roles onto themselves. If the facilitator does too much arranging, there is some danger that the experimenters may never take up the challenge. In the case of lesson building, arranging refers to the modification and adjustment of early efforts, as a musical arranger might alter the tempo and instrumentation of a particular song, bringing in unusual instruments or an entirely new bass line. If the facilitator re-arranges the first efforts of experimenters, they may resent the changes and the presumption that the facilitator (or father?) knows best. Conductor (back to top) The facilitator hopes the experimenters will become effective conductors of student learning experiences, but unlike the conductor of an orchestra, the effective teacher will often provoke and manage student learning without standing up in front of the room waving arms. The facilitator might be tempted to try to orchestrate the efforts of the experimenters but will generally find conducting to be a role best passed along to the teachers.
http://fno.org/jan02/techcoach.html[27-11-2011 03:57:33]

Traits of an Effective Tech Coach

Coach (back to top) The coach tends to call from the sidelines, but partnership may be more important (and effective) rather than superiority and expertise. The culture of schools is remarkably resistant to systems that aggravate perceptions of inequality. Guide (back to top) How will teachers ever learn to find their own ways if they have a tour guide or museum guide always pointing out the main attractions, telling them what to think and feel and explaining things in great detail? The role sounds innocent enough, but guidance can develop dependencies rather than autonomy. "Leave the driving to us!" The facilitator shows the experimenters how to create effective guidance systems of their own. Composer (back to top) The facilitator expects that teachers will show students how to make their own music, create their own melodies and invent their own ideas. Teachers will grown in their capacity compose effective unit and lesson plans but they will also see the importance of nurturing the growth of student composing skills. Mentor (back to top) Mentor relationships work best when the person being mentored has requested assistance, has identified a trusted person as a potential mentor and has invited advice and support. A substantial difference in either age or experience is often an underpinning of such relationships. Such relationships rarely succeed when imposed or directed by others. In the case of educational technology, districts often select relatively young, technology savvy teachers to serve as mentors for teachers who may have more than twenty years of classroom experience. While the veteran teacher might feel like a novice when it comes to technologies, those feelings might not translate into a welcoming mat for a young mentor. Issues of pride and self concept can block learning rapidly. Back to January Cover Credits: The photographs were shot by Jamie McKenzie. Copyright Policy: 2002, Jamie McKenzie, all rights reserved. Materials published in From Now On may be duplicated in hard copy format if unchanged in format and content for educational, nonprofit school district and university use only and may also be sent from person to person by e-mail. This copyright statement must be included. All other uses, transmissions and duplications are prohibited unless permission is granted expressly. Showing these pages remotely through frames is not permitted. FNO is applying for formal copyright registration for articles.

From Now On Index Page


http://fno.org/jan02/techcoach.html[27-11-2011 03:57:33]

Traits of an Effective Tech Coach

http://fno.org/jan02/techcoach.html[27-11-2011 03:57:33]