Standard 2 is really the heart of a technology coach’s job. Providing staff with the tools, resources, training and support to integrate technology into high quality instruction and helping to create engaging learning experiences for students are tangible outcomes that coaches can achieve and measure. It also allows us the opportunity to teach others, which is what gets most of us out of bed in the morning!
Coaches are in the enviable position of having more time to read, research and plan than the average classroom teacher. It allows us to step back and view a lesson or a classroom with a fresh perspective and with the bigger picture goals of the district or department in mind. Yet at the same time, we have been teachers in a classroom and can understand the time, resource and skill restraints teachers are facing. It allows us to model best practices in ways teachers can relate to without the fear of being “evaluated” like they might with an administrator. We can also communicate back to administrators the messages we are hearing from staff and students about changes or needs and advocate for tools, resources and time needed to make technology integration successful in the classroom.
I believe this standard is one of the biggest leverage points we have as coaches to be change agents in education. In looking at some research on change agents, I came across a study of Information Technology projects in the business world which suggests that failures are often caused by “lack of attention to social factors” and noted that “the cultural problems [in an organization] are much bigger than the technical ones (Gyampoh-Widogah and Moreton, 2006). I think this is equally as true for implementation of anything new in education, including technology. We have to pay attention to the human and cultural elements of our staff in order to approach change in a way that will honor the knowledge and expertise that is present while at the same time moving people forward.
I liked this reminder of one of the challenging parts of being a change agent. “Change agents bring new thinking, mindsets, expertise, and experience in digital to their organizations. They’re also catalysts to driving the bold initiatives that eventually fuel their success. Their path is not straightforward, however. Their passion and determination can challenge, panic or upset those who don’t see the need to challenge the status quo. (Solis, 2018)” In business or education we will have those that actively challenge the need to change. Only good relationships with those people will eventually bring them around and we often need to focus on those that are ready for change first. Teaching the “technologically willing” first builds both human capacity for leading and training around the initiative and it creates a pocket of influential teachers who can model and advocate for the change from within. With support, they will eventually start to influence others until the culture shifts and those that have not changed feel the pressure to catch up or move on.
Click on the links above to view my evidence of learning around Standard 2.
Gyampoh-Vidogah R., Moreton R. (2006) The Role of Change Agents in Technology Adoption Process. In: Nilsson A.G., Gustas R., Wojtkowski W., Wojtkowski W.G., Wrycza S., Zupančič J. (eds) Advances in Information Systems Development. Springer, Boston, MA.
Solis, B. (2018). Change agents: The unsung heroes of digital transformation. Retrieved from https://www.clickz.com/digital-transformation-change-agents/207071/