Implement strategies for initiating and sustaining technology innovations and manage the change process in schools and classrooms
In the introduction about the indicators for ISTE-C Standard 1 I write about how coaches can develop a shared vision for the use of technology across an organization. The first three indicators are related to developing and implementing this vision. ISTE-C 1d is about the ways that a vision gets put into practice and how to sustain that change over time. There are many important ways that technology coaches can help to sustain change. One that I think is very important is empathy. I think it is important for us to be in tune to the feelings of the teachers we work with. I write about this briefly in my Mission Statement saying:
another idea I would like to be mindful of is that I don’t oversimplify the use of technology. I recognize that using technology may not be intuitive for all educators and I will be a patient collaborator to help all staff
In being mindful, I want to seek to understand where they are coming from. Change can be difficult for teachers, especially if using technology doesn’t feel natural to them. Patient collaboration with a coach could help to sustain that change. There is one other post where I reference emotional intelligence and I think it could connect to technology innovation and the change process in schools. In my post Collegial Relationships and Instructional Coaching, I write about emotional intelligence and how coaches who understand their own emotions will better understand the teacher they are coaching. I think my point in that same paragraph is relevant to how an instructional technology coach can help to affirm a teacher that might not yet feel comfortable with a certain tool or a shift in teaching that a district technology plan is asking them to make.
This is especially important when working with teachers who might be hesitant to use technology tools, if we can understand their scepticism, concern, or fear and connect that to the emotions they might be feeling it will allow us to be more effective coaches because we will do a better job connecting with and affirming the feelings of those teachers.
These are some ways that coaches can support and sustain change in a school or district. In addition to supporting those who are reluctant or uncomfortable with a technology infused strategic plan, an instructional technology coach also must be a champion for innovation. We can do that by encouraging teachers to use technology in innovative ways and even pushing the school district to continue to innovate. In my post 21st Century Skills to Connect Teachers and Coaches I begin to talk about some ways that teachers can begin to embody some of the skills that students will need in their future work. I also share how a teacher might go about beginning to teach 21st century skills. I define the role of a coach with a quote from Les Foltos.
Foltos, (2013) makes the role of a coach clear when he writes that a “coaches job is to encourage innovation.” He goes on to add that, “without this kind of outside stimulus, drawing on prior learning may only succeed in supporting the status quo,” (Foltos, 2013). As a coach, I’m available to be the outside stimulus that can aid in integrating 21st century learning into the classroom.
I’m certain that supporting the status quo will not help a school or district move forward. Instead instructional technology coaches can support the comprehensive integration of technology by supporting teachers, understanding human emotions and being a sounding board and cheerleader for teachers that want to move forward with their own instruction and essential learning for 21st century students.
For more information see my complete blog posts Vision and Mission as a Digital Education Leader, Collegial Relationships and Instructional Coaching and 21st Century Skills to Connect Teachers and Coaches