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Jeff Bradbury

How Can Tech Coaches Help Teachers Embrace Technology Integration Challenges?

Helping Teachers Embrace Technology

Hey there Tech Coaches,

I have a question for you. . . Are your teachers struggling with Technology Integration?

If the answer to this question is YES then guess what … you are not alone.  In fact, for many tech coaches, the very thought of doing what they are professionally brought into a district to do is a daunting task.

On one side of the spectrum, you have teachers who are your go-getters and will jump on the latest and greatest even before you do your presentation on it.

For others, the arms are crossed and the eyes are on the watches from the moment you begin to give your favorite PD session.

My friends the struggle is real!

What’s the problem?

Quite often, the problem isn't what you think it to be.  For many teachers, the desire to move to the next level in the SAMR model is often masked by the scarry thought of trying something in front of students and having it fall flat creating an embarrassing moment that they need to quickly recover from.  Even then, the very thought of bringing in a coach, another adult, is something that they are uncomfortable with because they don't want to make any mistakes in front of their coworkers.

Luckily for us, we as Tech Coaches have the understanding and ability to see through most of the teacher struggles and have the keen ability to provide the best answer in a quick and professional manner.

But, let's go beyond the classroom and look at this topic from a much broader perch.

What can we as Tech Coaches do to help teachers embrace their technology challenges?  Is there a simple solution that can be used to help provide constant feedback to both teacher, students, and administration to help move the district (and the teacher) forward in their digital learning journey?

How do Tech Coaches Support Their School Districts

In order for a Technology Coach, or anyone in an educational mentoring position to be effective, there are several steps that should be taken in order to create a proper plan for teacher support.  Some of these steps involve having meaningful conversations with both district and building administrators as well as speaking with teachers about what they think their needs are when it comes to professional learning.

Often after engaging key members of the educational community in these deep conversations, a Tech Coach might find that there is a need, and vision for technology integration, but a lack of direction on how to get there.  This is where your Educational Technology Plan comes into play.

But if you are feeling motivated to move your district forward but are stuck not knowing where to go next there is a simple solution …

All You Have To Do Is “Ask the Tech Coach”

Did you know that TeacherCast produces a podcast called Ask the Tech Coach where we work with and help Tech Coaches just like you to provide professional development and leadership in your district?

Listen to Ask the Tech Coach today and join the TeacherCast Tech Coaches Network:

Simple Ways To Encourage Tech Integration In Your Classrooms

Let’s face it, the role of a Technology Coach isn’t an easy one.  Sometimes the right solution isn't the easiest and sometimes the vision of your school doesn’t exactly match up with your personal visions for what could be happening in the classroom.

There are two simple ways that you can encourage Technology Integration with hesitant teachers.

Clearly Define Your Classroom Goals

Always remember that Technology Integration is ALL about curriculum and NOT about technology.  Your teachers are always more comfortable talking about their curriculum rather than sharing adventure stories about the latest and greatest app they found on Twitter.

Focus on Function … NOT on Application

For those times where you have moved into a conversation about apps that do specific tasks, focus the conversation on the student by asking the question “what do you want your students to be able to do in class” rather than “have you heard of (insert app name here)?

Advice From Other Tech Coaches

Tammy Dunbar (@TammyDunbar)

  • Try one thing at a time – don’t try to do it all once! Pick one technology you find most helpful or intriguing and focus on learning and using that one first!
  • Ask for help! Don’t feel like you need to be the one in your building who must know everything.
  • If you don’t have the tech you want, beg, borrow, or buy! You can write a Donors Choose to fund it, find an older version someone may donate to you, or, ask the company to test drive their products.
  • Technology doesn’t replace the curriculum – it enhances it!
  • Have fun playing with technology FIRST. Then figure out a way to include it into the curriculum.  It’s important to give yourself time to learn it and laugh when you (and your students) make mistakes.

Sean Hackbarth (@mr_hckbrth)

  • Empathize and detail your early struggles.  
  • Show your teachers the potential and benefits for using Technology in the classroom.  
  • Offer small incentives that teachers can use to “cash in” when taking that next step in their lessons.

Dan Kreiness (@DKreiness)

  • When first working with teachers, don’t go too far too fast.  
  • Model your lessons in the early stages and be available to support your teachers when they come to you with questions.

Eric Guise (@GuiseGotteched)

    • Take on the role of a mentor/collaborator.
    • Ask the teacher what lessons are planned.
    • Listen to their teaching methods
    • Suggest edtech tools that will enhance the lesson
    • Collaborate on the integration of the edtech tool
    • Reflect on the lesson and edtech tool… Ask if the lesson/edtech tool should be added as a method of best practice.

Perhaps The Solution Is This Simple

Various challenges arise when helping teachers integrate new technology in the classroom. Often, one of the biggest challenges is not the technology that is implemented, but the devices themselves.

As new technology is being integrated into the classroom, devices often get overlooked as a problem because they are merely the mode of transportation through which learning technologies are made effective. However, it is imperative that Instructional Tech Coaches and Tech Teams be proactive in managing these devices.

For this reason, I’m excited to be partnering up with Dyknow to offer school districts a solution for creating not just a simple classroom management plan, but an entire solution for helping teachers to embrace educational technology in their classrooms.

Embracing a proactive mindset and defeating distractions in the early stages of technology integration is imperative to use learning technology to its full potential in K-12 classrooms.

Dyknow’s classroom management software empowers teachers to teach with technology by enabling real-time visibility of student activity to identify off-task behavior and redirect that behavior with blocking or messaging. 

Additionally, Dyknow enables teachers to create blocking plans, facilitate formative assessments, and view student history after class. 

The Dyknow team understands that as a Tech Coach, the time you dedicate to PD and maximizing instructional minutes is invaluable, so their software helps you empower teachers to use devices in the classroom, ensuring your work as a Tech Coach is maximized. 

Dyknow defeats device distractions so you have the confidence that your time and investment in learning technology is reaching its full potential. Help empower your teachers to embrace technology integration knowing that their students are on-task during class with Dyknow. 

Dyknow is also giving listeners of Ask The Tech Coach Podcast a limited-time free trial offer – claim yours at www.TeacherCast.net/Dyknow

Learn more about Dyknow Today!

Does This Sound All Too Familiar?

If you are a Technology Coach then you are probably nodding your head at many of the suggestions offered today.  Trust me when I say that you are not alone. Many Tech Coaches have visited our online resources at www.AskTheTechCoach.com or have joined our Tech Coach Mastermind Program to learn how to support their schools and provide support and encouragement to their teachers in the classrooms.

Let’s Work Together

We would love to learn about your stories and hear how you are helping your school districts move towards their digital futures. Please reach out to us on Twitter @AskTheTechCoach or leave a comment below.

About the author, Jeffrey

Jeff Bradbury, creator of TeacherCast, and father of the famous @EduTriplets Thanks for checking out TeacherCast today. Please take a moment to find me on all of my Social Media channels!