Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Weeks 1 and 2 Notes

Unit 1 - Stewarding the Future of Digital Learning & Teaching

  • What is an Instructional Technology Coach?
  • How can an Instructional Technology Coach help me?
  • How do I contact my Instructional Technology Coach?
Coaching is ...
  • ongoing job-embedded support
  • opportunities for practice and reflection

Coaches should not be a part of a teacher’s evaluation process

Build relationships and trust over time

Share expertise

Share competencies in 3 ways ...
  1. tech integration
    1. focus on pedagogy and learning objectives
  2. lesson design
    1. help teachers understand link between technology and learning
    2. help teachers rethink design of their lessons
  3. coaching
    1. effective communication and collaboration
    2. ask good questions
    3. active listening

Instructional Technology Coaches empower and prepare educators to be active, creative, and knowledgeable when planning technology-enhanced learning experiences.

There are two kinds [of innovating questions]. First, the fundamental ones. Why are we doing this? What do people really care about? Second are the crazy questions. What if we did this backward? What if we were to subvert all the assumptions in the field and do something that sounds ridiculous? Interesting ideas can come out of exploring impossible things. There's a place for asking those out-there questions early on, when you are in the most open stage of thinking.

Peer Education Coaching Model

Stage 1: Assess. The first stages in helping teachers develop and implement a coaching project is determining the teacher’s technology skills and instructional strategies. This information helps the coach and teacher to define a lesson or project that the teacher can successfully implement, or to identify the kind of coaching, resources or skills the teacher might need to carry out the project.
Stage 2: Set goals. Setting reasonable and realistic goals that are linked to the school’s educational goals and curricular standards is a critical first step toward establishing a solid coaching relationship and helping teachers integrate information and communication technology into their classroom activities.
Stage 3: Prepare. Participants learn to use a learning activity checklist to evaluate the strength of a proposed lesson, project or unit. Working in teams, coaches use the checklist to assess the lesson design of a series of activities that are often implemented by classroom teachers.

Stage 4: Implement activities. Coaches often find that the teachers they work with benefit from seeing their coach model a technology-rich lesson or team teach a lesson or project with their coach.
Stage 5: Analyze and Debrief. One of the strengths of peer coaching is that it provides for structured opportunities for reflection that help teachers improve their instruction. The peer coaching program provides coaches with a variety of tools to gather input, debrief participants, and analyze results.

Les Foltos Peer Coaching Video
Who is responsible for the ownership?
If the coach comes in as the expert, the teachers might sit back and become disengaged, or worse, might resent you.

Too much reliance on the coach can produce learned helplessness by peers.

Respond with questions that get them to think more deeply.
Make the learner more responsible for their learning to build their capacity.

Strategies - use a coach who is skilled in inquiry
Communication is always a 2-way discussion
Focus on the learners and what we can do to help them
Help teachers develop skills to make teaching and learning more effective

Need an assessment for the coach to see if coaching is being effective
What are the goals of a coach?
Need coaching plan
School leaders need to be a part of the plan - go back to admin and share plan and meet to talk about how coaching is meeting the school goals

Learning Coach FAQ
Have you considered how to get the word out in your school or district staff that instructional technology coaching is available to them? One way might be to create a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about coaching that can be displayed in a website or learning management system (LMS) used in your building or district. You might build the FAQs around one or all of these ideas:
  • What is an Instructional Technology Coach?
  • How can an Instructional Technology Coach help me?
  • How do I contact my Instructional Technology Coach?

Unit 2 - Becoming a Connected Educator

How can you use collaborative tools to help you connect with those you coach and with other educators and resources from around the world?  

Goals for Unit 2
  • Collaboratively share experiences, successes, and challenges with developing a Personal Learning Network.
  • Explore how various social media tools can enhance and expand your current coaching role within your school or district.
  • Engage in a global network of like-minded professionals to broaden your experiences and continuously challenge your thinking.

Your Unit 2 Checklist
  • Read and Review Core Resources
  • Respond to Forum Discussion
  • Complete the Personal Learning Network Activity
  • Complete the Unit 2 section in your Instructional Technology Coaching Action Plan
  • Participate in Connected Educator Corner
  • Review Coaching Tip

PLN workshop - Ask
Who is in your learning network?
Who do you learn from on a regular basis?
Who do you turn to for your own professional development?

Learning to Network and Networking to Learn
1. Connect – The growth engine of your learning network is your willingness to reach out and make connections with new people. Leave a comment on a blog post or podcast, reply to a question on twitter, or +1 a post on Google+ (or like something on Facebook). Merely reading, listening, or watching is not connecting. The more people you connect with online, the more you can take advantage of the strength of weak ties.

2. Contribute – If you have something to share, post it online where it may be accessible and useful to others. Your expertise (and even your struggles) are valuable to others who don’t have your experience. Anything you create for work (or your own schooling) might as well be shared, and might be valuable to someone else. Making contributions is a way to offer something of value to the new people you are connecting with. Sharing online is even considered a moral imperative by many educators; sharing contributes to the greater good. It’s one way we can pay it forward.

3. Converse – Over time the connections and contributions you make online will evolve into conversations as others respond to you as well. These conversations will in turn grow into relationships, if not friendships. Sharing something about your passions (and challenges) outside of work can also enrich your relationships. Someone you’ve connected with about baseball or raising a toddler might be more likely to respond to your questions about work as well.

4. Request – If you’ve made connections, offered contributions, and cultivated relationships over time… then when you make requests, they are more likely to fall on fertile soil. In circles of educators who connect online, making a request is acceptable and welcome. You’ll find that you’ll receive much higher quality answers and support by asking your network, than you will by simply searching online.
Networking Tools and Anecdotes
The four tips above are the core activities of building a personal learning network, and they can be applied using various tools to connect with others online. Although many other tools, such as wikis, podcasts, instant messages, streaming video, and more can used for connecting this way, the following tools are particularly valuable for building a personal learning network.

5. Blog – Though there will never be another 2004, blogs are still a powerful way for educators (and learners) to connect. Within my first six months of blogging (posting things I had written for work or school anyway), I received comments from six of the authors I had cited in my posts! Over the course of my doctoral research, my blog connected me with more researchers and practitioners than my university ever could have. These trends have continued to this day. If you read many blogs, an RSS aggregator (like Google Reader) can be an essential tool for helping you spend 25% of your time reading and writing blogs for professional development.

6. Tweet – Among educators (and much of the world), Twitter is the most popular social microblogging tool. The posts are short and easy to skim, and because following someone on Twitter is not a reciprocal relationship (unlike friending on Facebook), it is easy to create a custom group of people to follow – and to manage the flow of incoming information. Twitter has been the most powerful tool in the growth of my personal learning network from a half-dozen teachers in the English department lounge to thousands of educators around the globe. Twitter is at least as valuable to me for moral support as it is for technical support. The #lateworkcrew has helped me through many long nights of whittling down my critical tasks.

7. Join Classroom 2.0 – Maintaining a blog and posting regularly to Twitter can feel like significant commitments, and failure to post can generate feelings of guilt. Social networks such as Classroom 2.0, however, are a great place to start with an exiting network (no need to follow, friend, or circle anyone) and with very little pressure to produce. With over 60,000 members, if everyone contributes even a small fraction of what they read, the site is rich with content. For many educators, it is a great starting point for experiencing a personal learning network, not to mention learning more about how these tools are impacting the future of education.

8. Use Google+Google’s new social network allows educators to group the people they follow into circles, such as personal and professional (keeping these circles safely separate in a way that is more difficult on other networks such as Facebook). Or, more specifically, users can organize the people they follow into circles for specific subject areas, grade levels, or or even collaborative projects. Additional features are particularly valuable to educators, especially “hangouts” – video calls for up to 10 people, including screen sharing and Google Docs integration. Google+ is also a great tool for expanding your horizons beyond education. There are rich communities of technologists, photographers, and thought leaders sharing on Google+.
Final Thoughts
These final two tips will help keep your initial frustrations in perspective, and help you avoid the temptation to focus on unimportant metrics as you grow your network.

9. Be Patient – Many educators get frustrated when they first experiment with these tools, but building a personal learning network doesn’t happen quickly, and it isn’t a trivial commitment. It takes time to make connections and build relationships. It’s takes perseverance to continue when you receive no replies to your requests, and it requires patience to build up social capitol over the months that may be necessary before you begin to feel part of a community. But it is well worth the investment to one day have a 24/7 global network to tap into whenever you’re in need – or simply want to learn something new.

10. Be Authentic – As Tommy Spaulding says, It’s Not Just Who You Know… it’s how you know them. Despite the appeal of seeing your number of followers grow, or trying to post something you know will generate comments or re-tweets, it is more important to be authentic in your online connections. Don’t try to game the system, worry to much about your online “brand,” or in any way cajole people into following you or responding to you (with contests or incentives for instance). The more you reveal your humanity the more people will trust you, identify with you, and respond to your reflections and appeals. More importantly, the more you seek out the humanity in others, the more they will want to connect with you – and share with you.

The coach also needs to know how to develop the capacity of team members so that at some point they'll be able to take over the facilitation of their work together and the coach can leave.

My job as a coach is to meet people where they are and help them move forward.

A coach can work with an educator to form assessments of the past and current reality that support emotional resilience, a coach can help a client form positive views of the future, connect with his/her personal values, develop a strong sense of personal efficacy, and develop the courage to act on convictions.

Coach sees the big picture

How does role-play work?

The choice of the role-play relies on the learning agenda and has to have clear aims and objectives. There are various ways role-play can work.
a) Observation : learning through observation and reflection happens when a group of learners watch a specifically constructed role-play using actors, simulators or even played by the tutors.
b) Modelling: Helps to learn a concept or an idea through participation. For example children can learn about history and historical figures by acting out scenes. While adults can participate in a constructed scenario- like an angry customer, worried patients etc.
c) Contemplation: It helps to stimulate analysis through exploring complex concepts and debating issues- usually ethical problems where there is no clear right or wrong.
d) Skills development: The participant can practice and develop skills such as breaking bad news, calming down an angry client, negotiating with customers etc.
e)Self-reflection: through participating in role-play the learners are bring many of their hidden attitudes to the surface and it helps them understand their own prejudices biases and assumptions. It helps to see the world through the other persons eyes and understand methods of communicating.
f) Re-enaction: By re-enacting a past experience it helps to bring recall, catharsis and also helps to identify creative solutions to a problem that could have previously difficult due to emotional distress.

Constructing a role-play

Role-plays can be simple or complex, short or long and can be adapted to suit the needs of what is being taught or explored. If it is a simple skills being practiced we can set the scene quickly and let the participants practice.
The key steps in constructing a role-play are:
a) Define Aims and Objectives (is it to practice skills, explore concepts etc.)
b) Define setting/placement
c) Define clear role descriptors and what they will say (at least an outline)
d) Define time limit
e) Define observer tasks (if any)
f) Define ground rules of safety and feedback
g) Define debrief agenda
h) Define facilitator tasks

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