Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Tech Integration Coaches - our first meeting

During our back to school orientation last week we had a meeting with all the new Tech Integration Coaches (10 of them across the Elementary, Middle and High Schools).  We started our meeting with a working lunch - while they ate each of them was given a different reading.  We broke up into small groups of 3s or 4s and jigsawed for 2 minutes each to explain the main message behind each of the readings.  We were able to do 3 rotations of this so that each person shared his/her understanding 3 times and got to hear the understanding of 6 of the other TICs.

We then had a 20 minute meeting with our Data Scientist.  ASB has been collected student artifacts based on the ISTE Standards for Students for the past 2 years, and for the past few months we have employed someone to visualize the data for us.  This allows us to easily track the differences between years, between the different ISTE standards, between the types of artifacts that students are creating and between the various levels of Bloom's Digital Taxonomy.  Visualizing the data allowed the TICs to quickly see areas of strength and areas where we need to grow.  This will be vital information as they start to have their goals meetings with individual teachers.

Following the data presentation we had a quick debrief using the 90-60-30 protocol, again in groups of 3s.  The aim of this was that the first person in the group discussed the implications of the data on the role of the TICs for 90 seconds while the other 2 in the group practiced listening.  Then it was the second person's turn to add in for another 60 seconds and then the final group member could share for 30 seconds.  Through this sharing we managed to confirm our role as:

  • identifying the grade level/ department’s teaching and learning tech integration needs, barriers and areas for growth in order to provide effective professional development
  • facilitating school-based high quality professional development to refine teachers’ tech integration knowledge and skills. Training opportunities could include
    • in-class coaching
    • peer observing and/or modeling of technology integration strategies and multiple and emergent technologies
    • guiding teachers in looking at student work
    • developing lesson plans with teachers
  • equipping our own professional development for this role through online and face-to-face courses and regular meetings with the Director of Ed Tech.

We then went onto a "futures" protocol where we imagined the outcomes at the end of the school year. We did a Think-Pair-Share activity about where we hoped to be. Our outcomes were: 

  • Building capacity in our colleagues through inspiring change and new ideas and providing resources
  • Building capacity in our skills as coaches so that we can be more confident in our role
  • Building a community for coaches
  • Building trust with our colleagues
  • Building a distributed leadership model

We talked about our personalized PD plans. Last year we personalized tech PD for all our teachers and assistants, this year we will be personalizing it for our new TICs as well. We gave them a template and asked them to fill in their strengths and areas for growth, so that we could make recommendations. We also shared the ISTE Coaching Standards rubrics and asked each of the TICs to self-evaluate where s/he currently was (so we could see where they needed to move forward in developing their skills). All this will be discussed at our meeting next week.

We also talked to the TICs about how they wanted to document their own learning and the time they were spending coaching teachers. This isn't to "check up" on them, but simply to ensure that there is a fair distribution of time and responsibility. We don't want to mandate a way of doing this, but asked them to consider different ways that might work for them.

We talked about Professional Development and how great it would be if we could put together a presentation or poster session for ISTE next year. We also talked about meetings. There will probably be 3 types of meetings - individually with the Director of Educational Technology, by division (Elementary, Middle or High) and as a whole TIC team. We sent out a Doodle to try to work out what were the best times for us to meet.

The 2 hours had flown by, already we were at the end of the meeting and needed to move onto other things. We asked for each of the TICs to fill out an exit card of what they had found valuable. Here are some of their responses:
  • Team building/Discussing our role
  • Going over and discussing the readings
  • Data Visualization - it was very powerful to see where we've been and where we need to go
  • Talking with other coaches about our role and getting information about how you can grow as a coach

All in all I felt it was a great way to kick off our new Tech Integration Coaching programme. I can hardly wait for our next meeting when we really get down to talking about and practicing coaching skills.

Photo Credit: garlandcannon via Compfight cc

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