“Technology coaches conduct needs assessments, develop technology-related professional learning programs and evaluate the impact on instructional practice and student learning” (ISTE 2011).
b. Design, develop and implement technology rich professional learning programs that model principles of adult learning and promote digital age best practices in teaching, learning and assessment (ISTE 2011).
A successful school technology program features “professional learning programs that model principles of adult learning and promote digital age best practices in teaching, learning and assessment” (ISTE 2011). Technology coaches can support this effort by “design[ing], develop[ing] and implement[ing] technology rich professional learning programs” (ISTE 2011).
During my coursework in the Seattle Pacific University Digital Education Leadership Master’s Degree program, I examined how adult learning principles can be used to create a system of professional learning about educational technology that meets teachers’ needs. I also investigated how to design professional learning that utilizes technology and that appropriately challenges all learners.
As a Technology Integration Specialist, I worked with members of the Technology Team to apply Knowles’ 4 Principles of Andragogy in order to develop and implement professional learning that involved teachers in planning, incorporated teachers’ previous experiences, and featured problem-centered hands-on activities that were relevant to teachers’ current classroom experience. As a result of teacher survey and focus group data, we engaged with individual teachers who showed an interest in learning about a new technology. When possible, we set up a peer coaching relationship, which involved co-planning sessions and co-teaching opportunities. We identified teacher leaders who piloted new technologies and then shared their classroom experiences during hands-on “Ed Camp”-style professional learning sessions. During these events, teachers were able to choose which session to attend, based on their personal interests and self-assessed learning needs.
We encouraged teachers to use social media tools to build professional learning communities both inside and outside of our school, and provided information about pathways to become certified educators with outside organizations (Microsoft Innovative Educator, Google Certified Educator, Common Sense Certified Educator, Udacity, digital badges, etc.). We created a blog to share professional learning experiences and opportunities, and to provide access to online learning tools that could be used by individual teachers or teams during regular workday prep times and meetings. Whenever possible, we used technology tools to share data with teachers in order to involve them in planning for technology program development and professional learning. Our goal was to create a continuum of professional learning that, through transparency and collaboration, transcended the traditional “sit & get” or “one & done” models.
You can read more about my experiences in my blog posts: “Applying Principles of Adult Learning to Teacher Professional Learning Programs” & “Using Technology in Professional Learning.”
Technology coaches contribute to a technology-enhanced learning environment by applying principles of adult learning theory to develop professional learning that utilizes technology to enhance learning experiences and appropriately challenge all learners.
- Australian Catholic University. (2016). Knowles six principles of adult learning. Retrieved from http://www.acu.edu.au/staff/our_university/faculties/faculty_of_health_sciences/professional_practice_resources_for_supervisors/interprofessional_resource_library/Facilitating_Learning/knowles_principles
- International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE; 2011). Standards for Coaches.