“Technology coaches conduct needs assessments, develop technology-related professional learning programs and evaluate the impact on instructional practice and student learning” (ISTE 2011).
c. Evaluate results of professional learning programs to determine the effectiveness on deepening teacher content knowledge, improving teacher pedagogical skills and/or increasing student learning (ISTE 2011).
A successful school technology program “evaluate[s] the results of professional learning programs to determine the effectiveness on deepening teacher content knowledge, improving teacher pedagogical skills and/or increasing student learning” (ISTE 2011). Technology coaches can support this effort by using tools and methods that allow them to engage in ongoing professional learning program evaluation.
During my coursework in the Seattle Pacific University Digital Education Leadership Master’s Degree program, I investigated the use of digital assessment tools to improve the “flexibility, responsiveness, and contextualization” of teacher professional development (U.S. Department of Education 2017).
As a Technology Integration Specialist, I advocated for for the use of digital assessment tools to evaluate and improve our teacher professional learning program. At the end of each professional learning session, we administered a teacher survey in order to gather teachers’ beliefs about the efficacy of the session, as well as ideas for improvements that we could apply to future sessions. I also designed professional learning experiences that allowed for formative assessment, in which continuous assessment of learners is used to adjust or modify instruction, to guide the flow of the session (Moersch 2011). As a result, professional learning sessions were lively events, where learners worked at their own pace, asking for and getting the help they needed from me or other learners when they needed it.
A number of technology-based ongoing program evaluation tools have been developed, such as Learning Forward’s Standards Assessment Inventory (SAI), which promotes “creating a common language” and “teachers own[ing] the data”—elements critical to successful professional learning programs (2017). In future leadership roles, I will advocate for the use of this type of “next level” tool for evaluating professional learning.
You can read more about my learning in my blog post: “Digital Age Best Practices in Teacher Professional Development” & “Using Technology in Professional Learning.”
Technology coaches contribute to a technology-enhanced learning environment by using formative assessments and technology-based tools to collect and share data about the efficacy of professional learning and to drive decision making about the professional learning program.
- International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE; 2011). Standards for Coaches.
- Learning Forward (2017). Standards assessment inventory. Retrieved from https://learningforward.org/consulting/sai
- Moersch, C. (2011). Digital age best practices: Teaching and learning refocused. Retrieved from http://digitalis.nwp.org/sites/default/files/files/94/Digital%20Age%20Best%20Practices.pdf
- U.S. Department of Education (2017). Reimagining the role of technology in education: 2017 national educational technology plan update. Retrieved from https://tech.ed.gov/netp/