Follow Up Support after Teacher Professional Development  

ISTE standard: Professional Learning Facilitator 

Coaches plan, provide and evaluate the impact of professional learning for educators and leaders to use technology to advance teaching and learning. Coaches: 

c. Evaluate the impact of professional learning and continually make improvements in order to meet the schoolwide vision for using technology for high-impact teaching and learning. 

Successful implementation of education technologies depends upon extensive, high-quality teacher professional development and ongoing support (Martin et al. 2010). PD opportunities offered in many districts often are traditional one-time workshops that do not provide sufficient time to help teachers effectively use technology in their specific context and teaching practices. How to plan effective professionally learning and provide continuous support to educators in using educational technology?   

The goal of professional development is the effective implementation of skills and strategies that enhance knowledge and transfer of learning (CDC, 2019). According to Trotter (2006), research around adult learning has identified four key principles for high-quality teacher learning activities: 

  • Use of concrete experiences (i.e., coherence): Activities that are explicitly linked to curriculum teachers use, their classroom/school context, and their individual needs and interests. 
  • Continuously available feedback (i.e., sustained duration): Activities that provide teachers with sufficient time to learn and reflect on strategies that improve their practice. 
  • Encouragement of teachers to take on new and complex roles (i.e., active learning): Activities that provide teachers with opportunities to get hands-on experiences in designing and/or trying new instructional strategies. 
  • Collaboration (i.e., collective participation): Activities that give teachers the opportunities to share their ideas, work collaboratively, and help with each other’s learning. 

I find the second key principle, continuously available feedback, has been the missing key for many professional developments for teachers. Effective professional development includes the planning for and provision of one or more follow-up support strategies after a professional development event. Follow-up support is intended to strengthen the transfer of learned strategies or skills so they will be retained and applied effectively. It may take place over time and can be altered as the needs of the participants change. Follow-up support is not the introduction of new information; it is the reinforcement of information provided at the professional development event (CDC, 2019).

The World Bank Blog (2021) also suggested 8 tips to help policymakers structure an effective one-on-one teacher support system: 

  1. Determine whether the system would benefit most from a ‘highly structured” support model or a “low structured” support model. 
  1. Regardless of the support model, ensure pedagogical leaders do not simultaneously support teachers and act as their evaluators. 
  1. Ensure pedagogical leaders are not responsible for too many teachers. 
  1. Ensure pedagogical leaders are visiting teachers at least once per month and for the duration of the school year. 
  1. When conducting classroom observations, ensure pedagogical leaders use a classroom observation tool and observe teachers for the full duration of the lesson. 
  1. Ensure pedagogical leaders provide feedback to teachers following an observation. 
  1. If in-person support is not possible, encourage pedagogical leaders to provide feedback and encouragement through a hybrid model of virtual and on-site support.  
  1. Programs that focus on providing ongoing support to teachers must be embedded within a larger system infrastructure focused on supporting, motivating, and developing teachers throughout their full career cycle. 

Too often technology professional learning is one time event, because it is facilitated by people outside of the school community. Digital Promise (2020) suggested that creating an environment where teachers are supporting one another in learning and implementing new teaching strategies, tools, and frameworks throughout the year will both increase collaboration among teachers and help to spread best practices. This environment can be created and maintained using instructional technology coaches, teams of teacher leaders, or other systems of support within schools. 

Finally, to provide ongoing support to teachers, particularly in learning educational technology, schools should harness the power of instructional technology coaches, leverage the expertise of teacher leaders, and provide opportunities for peer-led professional learning, for example, implement peer demonstration classrooms that allow teachers to use new tools and teaching strategies while being observed by peers who can provide feedback and get ideas about how to use those same tools and strategies in their own classrooms (Digital Promise, 2020).  

Reference  

Martin, W., Strother, S.A., Beglau, M., Bates, L., Reitzes, T., & McMillan Culp, K. (2010). Connecting Instructional Technology Professional Development to Teacher and Student Outcomes. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 43, 53 – 74. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ898528.pdf 

Trotter, Y. D. (2006). Adult Learning Theories: Impacting Professional Development Programs. Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin, 72(2). https://verizon.digitalpromise.org/elements-of-success/provide-ongoing-embedded-professional-learning-opportunities-for-teachers/ 

Provide ongoing, embedded professional learning opportunities for teachers (2020) Digital Promise. https://verizon.digitalpromise.org/elements-of-success/provide-ongoing-embedded-professional-learning-opportunities-for-teachers/ 

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Follow-up Support Tool Kit. (2019) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/tths/followup_toolkit-508.pdf 

8 Tips to Structure Effective One-to-One Support Systems for Teachers. Wilichowski, T. & Popova, A., (2021). World Bank Blog. https://blogs.worldbank.org/education/8-tips-structure-effective-one-one-support-systems-teachers 

How to Measure Effective Coaching?

ISTE-C Standard 2: Connected Learner 

Coaches model the ISTE Standards for Students and the ISTE Standards for Educators and identify ways to improve their coaching practice. Coaches: 

b. Actively participate in professional learning networks to enhance coaching practice and keep current with emerging technology and innovations in pedagogy and the learning sciences.  

c. Establish shared goals with educators, reflect on successes and continually improve coaching and teaching practice. 

Coaching is a job-embedded, individualized, data-driven, and sustained practice. Although approaches to coaching vary in different schools and districts, many assert coaching models share a focus on prioritizing instructional needs, established goal-driven plans of support, modeling, facilitating teacher practice, and providing ongoing regular feedback to promote high-fidelity instructional practices. (Reddy, Glover, Kurz, & Elliott, 2019) As both coach and teacher continually reflect on successes and improvement, how to measure the success and effectiveness of coaching? How do we assess teacher growth as a part of measuring the impact of coaching because sometime impact might be demonstrated after coaching sessions?  

In many districts, coaches reside within the district or school with supervision from an administrative leader. An ongoing evaluation of key coaching competencies assessments and survey is essential to enhancing effective practices. 

The Instructional Coaching Assessment  

The Instructional Coaching Assessment (Reddy, Glover, Kurz, & Elliott, 2019) is an online, multirater assessment system that provides feedback reports to support the evaluation and development of instructional coaching talent. According to Reddy (2019), the assessment approach involves conducting a 360° assessment, completed by the coach, teachers served by the coach, and/or the coach’s supervisor. A 360° assessment offers a comprehensive assessment of coaching effectiveness and interactions by capturing feedback from key stakeholders involved in the coaching process. Each stakeholder provides unique and complimentary perspectives on the coaching process that is valuable for informing the effectiveness of the coaching process.  

The Instructional Coaching Assessment is an evidence-centered assessment, the measures are designed to generate data-specific performance feedback by using score that assesses coaching skill-focused actions to promote positive coaching outcomes/competencies. The assessment provides a comprehensive evaluation of a coach’s effectiveness at implementing problem-solving actions with teachers. This involves the collection of sources of evidence that support performance feedback from multiple informants. The evidence-centered, action–outcome framework provides a systematic approach to measure and drive continuous improvement for coaching talent and schools. (Reddy, Glover, Kurz, & Elliott, 2019) 

Assessments include four online assessments and feedback reports to inform continuous improvement for coaching for teachers.  

Figures 3 and 4 are the feedback reports which provide valuable information for creating targeted PD for coaches and monitoring coaching improvements over time. In addition, aggregate reporting and graphic performance feedback are available for three descriptive groups/levels: school district, school, and individual coaches. Several utility analyses have been conducted with the Feedback Reports to ensure they communicate efficiently and effectively with users. (Reddy, Glover, Kurz, & Elliott, 2019) 

However, coaches often find themselves in high-stakes, critically important roles expected to lead school reform efforts with little or no professional preparation for successfully performing such tasks. Effectiveness of coaching often depends on many other factors, such as teacher motivation and system support. Kelly and Knight (2019) have identified seven factors that must be in place for coaches to be successful and effective.  

  • Partnership  
  • A Coaching Process. While every coaching situation presents unique challenges, an established process for guiding the coaching experience ensures that instructional coaches have all the tools they need to help teachers set and achieve their goals. 
  • Teaching Strategies. Coach partnering with teachers to modify their instruction to meet student-focused goals. 
  • Gathering Data. Data is important within coaching because it provides a way to identify goals and monitor progress. Goals need to be measured frequently 
  • Communication Beliefs & Habits. Coaches need to be effective communicators and employ effective coaching skills that reflect healthy beliefs about communication. 
  • Leadership. Leadership can be divided into two parts: leading yourself and leading others. To lead yourself, you must know your purpose and principles, how to use your time effectively, and how to take care of yourself. To lead others, a combination of ambition and humility is needed – to be reliable and ambitious for change but at the same time responsive to teachers. 
  • System support. Coaches work in settings where leaders are intentional and disciplined about providing the support that is required for coaching success to occur. Two of the most important are administrative support and time management. 

In conclusion, coaches are leaders in delivering effective coaching practice to meet the complex needs of educators and students. Becoming an effective coach requires problem, data use and interpretation, modeling, facilitative practice, performance feedback, and overall interaction style that, in combination, effectively and efficiently can result in professional growth for educators and school improvement. Thus, an effective coach not only requires specialized training but also ongoing support and accurate feedback that is useful, specific, and immediate (Reddy, Glover, Kurz, & Elliott, 2019).  

References  

Reddy, L., Glover, T., Kurz, A., and Elliott, S., (2019) Assessing the Effectiveness and Interactions of Instructional Coaches: Initial Psychometric Evidence for the Instructional Coaching Assessments–Teacher Forms. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1534508418771739 

Kelly, M., and Knight, J.(2019). Seven Success Factors for Great Instructional Coaching. Instructional Coaching Group. https://www.instructionalcoaching.com/seven-success-factors-for-great-instructional-coaching/ 

Using Technology to Create an Effective Learning Environment

ISTE-C-Standard 4: Learning Designer 

Coaches model and support educators to design learning experiences and environments to meet the needs and interests of all students. Coaches: 

a. Collaborate with educators to develop authentic, active learning experiences that foster student agency, deepen content mastery and allow students to demonstrate their competency. 

d. Model the use of instructional design principles with educators to create effective digital learning environments. 

According to Heick, our classrooms are ‘intellectually active’ places, and teaching and learning should not be considered as a single event. Instead, our classroom should be highly-effective and conducive to student-centered learning. Heick introduced the 10 characteristics of a highly effective learning environment in the chart below for coaches and teachers to use as criteria to measure and reflect on their current practices.  

After learning the indicators of an effective learning environments, I would like to explore how technology can engage students in an effective learning environment and how do teachers assess the effectiveness of digital tools? 

Research shows that engagement is pivotal to improving student achievement and success. According to Howland (2012), in order for students to learn meaningfully and effectively, they must be willfully engaged in a meaningful task. For meaningful learning to occur, the task that students pursue should engage active, constructive, intentional, authentic, and cooperative activities. Howland argued that if technologies are used to foster meaningful learning, then they will not be used as delivery vehicles.  

Technologies should be used as engagers and facilitators of thinking as the following (Howland, 2012, P7-8) 

  • Technology as tools to support knowledge construction for representing learners’ ideas, understandings, and beliefs, and for producing organized, multimedia knowledge bases by learners. 
  • Technology as information vehicle for exploring knowledge to support learning by constructing for accessing needed information and comparing perspectives, beliefs, and worldviews.  
  • Technology as authentic context to support learning by doing for representing and simulating meaningful real-world problems, situations, and contexts, for representing beliefs, perspectives, arguments, and stories of others, and for defining a safe, controllable problem space for student thinking. 
  • Technology as social medium to support learning by conversing for collaborating with others, for discussing, arguing, and building consensus among members of a community, and for supporting discourse among knowledge-building communities. 
  • Technology as intellectual partner to support learning by reflecting for helping learners to articulate and represent what they know, for reflecting on what they have learned and how they came to know it, for supporting learners’ internal negotiations and meaning making, and for constructing personal representations of meaning, and supporting mindful thinking.  

According to the Triple E Framework by Kolb, engagement is one component of technology integration. Often by putting a piece of technology in front of the students or in their hands, they become interested or “engaged” in the activity.  However, we can look a little more deeply at engagement by considering if the technology is not just capturing the interest of the student, but if it is actually engaging them actively in the content (Kolb, 2015).  

Kolb (2015) argued that when teachers assess the effectiveness of technology, it is important to look for “time on task” engagement.  In addition, engagement should include social or co-use of the technology tool rather than isolated learning with a tool. Students should be working together through the tool during synchronous collaboration or with the tool in pairs or groups with a device. He suggested three questions and check list to use when measuring for engagement in learning goals through a technology tool.  

Engagement Checklist 

  1. Does the technology allow students to focus on the task of the assignment or activity with less distraction?  Students are focused on the task because the software is helping them create the code that represents their content learning goals (characterization, setting, plot..etc).  There are no games or rewards at the end of using the software that distract from the process of learning. 
  1. Does the technology motivate students to start the learning process?  Students are interested to connect their code to their complex novel.  They are not just “swiping through” their iPad, rather they are carefully planning a code that is representative of their goal so they can see the physical results in the programmable ball that moves. 
  1. Does the technology cause a shift in the behavior of the students, where they move from passive to active social learners (co-use)?   Students are working in groups co-using the devices (rather than 1 device per child).  Collaboration and constructing knowledge together. 

In conclusion, students do not learn from technology but that technologies can support productive thinking and meaning making by students. That will happen when students learn with the technology, and technologies are no more effective at teaching students than teachers (Howland, 2012).  

References 

Heick, T. 10 Characteristics Of A Highly Effective Learning Environment, Teachthough, https://www.teachthought.com/learning/10-characteristics-of-a-highly-effective-learning-environment/ 

Howland, J., Jonassen, D., and Marra, R., (2012), Goal of Technology Integrations: Meaningful Learning. Chapter 1. P1-P19. https://www.pearsonhighered.com/assets/samplechapter/0/1/3/2/0132565587.pdf 

 
Kolb, L., (2015), Triple E Framework by https://www.tripleeframework.com/engagement.html 

Community Project – Breakout Rooms in Remote Learning Classrooms

ISTE Coaching Standard 3 – Collaborator

Coaches establish productive relationships with educators in order to improve instructional practice and learning outcomes. Coaches:

3a. Establish trusting and respectful coaching relationships that encourage educators to explore new instructional strategies.

3b. Partner with educators to identify digital learning content that is culturally relevant, developmentally appropriate and aligned to content standards.

3c. Partner with educators to evaluate the efficacy of digital learning content and tools to inform procurement decisions and adoption.

3d. Personalize support for educators by planning and modeling the effective use of technology to improve student learning.

Although teachers and researchers agree that heritage language learners are better served in separate courses specifically designed to address their affective and linguistic needs, in the United States most heritage speakers study their home language in mixed classes, alongside second language learners (Beaudrie 2012, Carreira 2014). Meeting the needs of heritage language learners in these mixed classes represents a major challenge for teachers at all levels. 

In February, I was honored to present as one of the panel speakers in the 2021 Heritage Language Symposium hosted by the STARTALK program from the University of Washington. This professional learning opportunity was designed for all language teachers from Kindergarten to Higher Education. 

This Professional Learning event was hosted online using the Zoom Live event in February. This symposium began with a Keynote Speaker, Olesya Kisselev, PhD who is the Assistant Professor at the University of Texas San Antonio. She addressed the environmental and cognitive processes that shape the nature of Heritage Language learners’  knowledge and discussed how to develop a theoretically-sound and research-based approach to language pedagogy that accounts for specific linguistic and cultural needs of the two populations in the modern language classroom. Her presentation was followed by me and other 3 panel speakers. My 20 minutes presentation mainly focused on the difficulties we have encountered in our mixed classes, particularly while adjusting to remote teaching during Covid-19 and shared the strategies to use breakout rooms in MS Teams to make small group teaching in the online and hybrid model that accommodates  our heritage language learners in online learning contexts. 

Before the presentation, we surveyed all the participants to have them share their questions related to teaching heritage language learners in mixed language class and challenges they encountered during remote learning. We also survey teachers to understand their experience and current challenges using educational tools like MS Teams, Zoom, Flipgrid and others. We had a question board available for participants to submit their questions during the presentation and we dedicated the last 20 minutes as a live interacted FAQ session with all the participants. 

My presentation began by sharing effective digital classroom management practices to create a respectful and responsible online learning culture. Digital classroom management practice related to breakout rooms in remote learning class focus on the digital citizenship agreement in this presentation included the following: 

1. Resource for Digital Citizenship agreement was provided to teachers in one of the slides. Digital Citizenship Primary School Agreement

2. Establish Norms for small groups by practicing good citizenship & “Make sure everyone else gets it!”

3. Assigning Roles for small group to have facilitator, note taker, presenter, checker 

4. Set Goal for each small group activities by having each group provide  evidence of productivity (notes, task result, presentation, report etc. )

5. Use Recording feature in Breakout Room

6. Assign students in the same group for at least twice in a role to build routine and team culture 

My presentation was mainly focusing on using and evaluating Microsoft Teams to create small groups for differentiation in a class to meet the needs of heritage language learners and second language learners. Therefore, Microsoft Teams is the targeted digital tool in this presentation, but all the strategies applied to Zooms, Google Meets or any remote conferencing tools that have the features to create breakout sessions. This presentation was personalized to skip the instruction of using breakout room features in Microsoft Teams because we surveyed all participants and they had  experience using MS Teams or Zooms breakout rooms features.

In this presentation, grouping strategies and samples of breakout session works were provided for educators to make adoption in their own practices. 

The workshop and all materials were recorded and continued to be available in the 2021 HERITAGE LANGUAGE SYMPOSIUM official page for participants to review and use as resources after the workshop.

I am looking forward to delivering this presentation to language teachers in my district. One adjustment I will make depending on the number of participants is to create breakout sessions for teachers who teach in a similar grade level to work on a grouping scenario by using the norms, roles and agreement I demonstrated in the presentation. I believe more interactive online workshops are more effective and engaging for participants. 

Social Media in Teaching and Learning

ISTE Coaching Standard 3 Collaborator

Coaches establish productive relationships with educators in order to improve instructional practice and learning outcomes. Coaches:

b.Partner with educators to identify digital learning content that is culturally relevant, developmentally appropriate and aligned to content standards.

c.Partner with educators to evaluate the efficacy of digital learning content and tools to inform procurement decisions and adoption.

Social media has become ubiquitous. Educators have been using social media in their personal lives and professional teaching. Although research has shown that social media can be used as an effective educational tool for educators to enhance educators’ network of contacts, engage students in important discussions, extend educators’ own learning and even provide a platform for students learning. How to support educators to identify and evaluate the use of social media in teaching and learning to address the concerns of privacy and safety for himself and students? 

A research from the University of Central Florida reported that electronic devices and social media create an opportunity for the students for collaborative learning and also allow the students to share the resource materials to their peers. Social media also allows the students to create, edit and share the course content

s in textual, video or audio forms. These technological innovations give birth to a new kind of learning culture, learning based on the principles of collective exploration and interaction (Ansari & Khan, 2020). While we know the effectiveness of social media in creating opportunities for learners in collaborative learning, creating and engaging the students in various activities, do most teachers agree and incorporate social media in their teaching?

Seaman and Tinti-Kane (2013) conducted a study using a representative sample of teaching faculty from across all of higher education, the study probes their use of social media, as well as what value they see in including social media sites as part of the instructional process. Research points out that ​​educators are much more willing to embrace social media in their personal lives than they are to use it for professional or teaching purposes. Use of social media for teaching purposes has increased every year. However, the number of educators who use social media in the classroom still does not represent a majority, but teaching use continues its steady year-to-year growth. Concerns about privacy, both for themselves and for their students, and about maintaining the class as a private space for free and open discussion, have been at the top of the list of concerns in all of the reports.

The result showed that faculty members have not widely or uncritically embraced social media for teaching purposes because they continue to have many concerns. Faculty with concerns about privacy were asked about five different specific privacy issues for students and faculty.

The study also pointed out that until educators feel that this issue has been addressed, the wide-scale adoption of commercial social media tools in the classroom will remain limited.

There are the Dos and Don’ts of using social media for teachers suggestions from Knoll (2017). 

  • Do stay in contact with your students through the power of texts.
  • Don’t connect directly with students.
  • Do follow colleagues you know, respect and like.
  • Don’t follow colleagues you don’t know, don’t respect or don’t like.
  • Do show what you are proud of.
  • Don’t share personal pictures or tag other teachers.
  • Do encourage students to make the most of their social media accounts.
  • Don’t use social media to tell stories that don’t reflect well on you or your profession.
  • Do talk to your students about the ramifications of their social posting.
  • Don’t post during school hours.

It can be a challenge to incorporate social media into lessons. There are many gray areas for teachers to navigate, like setting guidelines, accessibility at school, and student safety. Here are some helpful resources for four popular networks, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest for teachers (Davis, 2013). 

Guild to Use Twitter in Your Teaching Practice 

Facebook Guide for Teachers 

The Educator’s Guide to Instagram and Other Photo Apps

40 Ways Teachers Can Use Pinterest In The Classroom

According to Magid and Gallagher(2015), social media is part of the world we live in and, even if you don’t use it, chances are that it affects you simply because many of the people around you – including students, colleagues and parents – are using it. When used thoughtfully, social media can enhance educators’ network of contacts, engage students in important discussions, extend educators’ own learning and even provide a platform for class projects. Social media services and apps can also be used as educational tools, but there are important issues to consider including privacy, appropriate content, security and educators’ comfort level with the apps and services.

References

Ansari, J.A.N., Khan, N.A. (2020), Exploring the Role of Social Media in Collaborative Learning the New Domain of Learning. Smart Learn. Retrieved August 14th from https://slejournal.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s40561-020-00118-7#citeas

Seaman, J., Tinti-Kane, H., (2013), Social Media for Teaching and Learning. Retrieved August 14th from file:///Users/vivili/Downloads/social-media-for-teaching-and-learning-2013-report.pdf

Knoll, K., (2017), The Dos and Don’ts of Social Media for Teachers. Retrieved from August 14th from https://www.weareteachers.com/dos-donts-social-media-for-teachers/

Davis, M., (2013), Social Media for Teachers: Guides, Resources, and Ideas. Retrieved from August 14th from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/social-media-resources-educators-matt-davis

Magid, L., and Gallagher, K.(2015), The Educator’s Guide to Social Media. Retrieved from August 14th from https://www.connectsafely.org/eduguide/

Differentiated Technology Integration PD for Educators

ISTE Coaching Standard 3 Collaborator

Coaches establish productive relationships with educators in order to improve instructional practice and learning outcomes. Coaches:

d.Personalize support for educators by planning and modeling the effective use of technology to improve student learning.

While teachers are expected to differentiate their instruction to meet their students’ needs, too often we treat professional learning differently than we treat student learning. Differentiation has not been modeled well in most of the professional developments for educators, especially in technology integration professional developments. How to ensure coaches and leaders differentiate and personalize educators’ training and professional developments in learning technology to meet the needs of educators with different knowledge and backgrounds in technology?

According to Randi and Zeichner (2005), the current emphasis on accountability for student performance on national and state tests has been directing some schools to select particular curriculum interventions and research-based practices they deem most likely to improve instruction and increase student achievement and then design staff development programs around the content of those interventions. In order to “demonstrate immediate results, schools may pay more attention to “what works” in the short term than to research findings about

how best to design and sustain teacher professional learning opportunities for the continuing growth of both teachers and students” (Randi & Zeichner, 2005, p180). 

Randi and Zeichner argued that although focused staff development activities designed to introduce or sustain the implementation of a common curriculum may build organizational capacity and unite teachers around the shared visions of the organization, they provide teachers little choice about their own professional learning and little autonomy in instructional decisions, which limits teachers’ choices about their own learning and limits their access to knowledge and may leave them with an insufficient knowledge (Randi & Zeichner, 2005, p194)

According to the Center for Public Education’s Teaching the Teachers report, almost all teachers participate in PD throughout the year. However, a majority of those teachers find the PD in which they participate ineffective.Therefore, Zdonek(2016) suggested that the following simple but effective strategies to improve teacher professional development sessions through differentiation:

1. Gauge teachers’ readiness by taking a survey of teachers to see what they know about a professional development topic, and how skilled they consider themselves in that area. This information will also allow you to tailor the PD session to meet teacher needs, designing smaller group sessions with flexible groupings to instruct teachers at their varying readiness levels.

2. Utilize teachers’ interests by taking some time to figure out what teachers themselves want to improve upon. When they work on areas of their interest, they’re more likely to be engaged, making the work more productive — just like with students.

3. Get teachers involved by allowing teachers that have skills or experience to run smaller group sessions. It provides leadership opportunities for teachers and develops a sense of ownership over the school improvement process.

4. Provide opportunities for continual assessment by providing time for teachers to discuss and reflect on how they are incorporating the given area of development into their classroom practice. Have opportunities for feedback, allow teachers to set goals, provide continuous support, and assess progress toward the goals they’ve set.

In addition to these general PD strategies, we might also want to look specifically into professional development focusing on technology integration for educators. The goal of successful technology professional development is its integration into teaching to impact student learning. Teachers are participating in technology learning professional development with different readiness and background. 

https://www.nysut.org/~/media/files/nysut/resources/2011/march/educators-voice-4-technology/edvoiceiv_ch7.pdf?la=en

Professional development provides educators the opportunity to understand new advancements and adapt their teaching styles and pedagogy to make effective use of available educational enhancements. How to ensure these PDs are customized to meet educators’ needs? Moynihan (2014) recommended the following 7 tips for integrating technology professional development. 

  • Provide ongoing support by delivering immediately usable solutions to the daily challenges that teachers will face when making major curricular changes in their subject areas.
  • Promote understanding of technology pedagogical practices by providing extensive training in both pedagogy and technology.
  • Encourage teacher participation because teachers who participate in a PD program that includes coaching or mentoring are more likely to implement new instructional methods.
  • Adopt a learner‐centered pedagogy because technology is less effective when used to support traditional “teacher‐centered” pedagogies, which tend to use technology as a supplement rather than as a core element of instruction.
  • Provide access to online information repositories that offer teachers continuous and convenient access to relevant teaching resources.
  • School structure should be “policies, practices, culture, and funding” to facilitate the integration of educational technology.
  • Make use of the technologies that teachers will be using. The ISTE notes that “learning with technology is more important than learning about technology.” Teachers benefit by seeing what and how they can learn through available technological tools.

Mazzella(2011) suggested technology can make a difference in supporting student learning, however, this cannot happen by merely providing classrooms with the latest equipment. Instructional technology integration will occur across all grade levels and in all content areas when it is supported by professional development that is differentiated and sustained over time.

References 

Randi, J. and Zeichner, K. (2005). New Visions of Teacher Professional Development. 

Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education 103(1):180 – 227. Retrieved July, 28th, 2021 from  https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Kenneth-Zeichner/publication/227988786_New_Visions_of_Teacher_Professional_Development/links/573f43e808aea45ee844fb32/New-Visions-of-Teacher-Professional-Development.pdf

Zdonek, P. (2016). Why Don’t We Differentiate Professional Development?. Retrieved July, 28th, 2021 from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/why-dont-we-differentiate-pd-pauline-zdonek

Moynihan, A. (2014) 7 PD tips for your instructional technology integration plan. Retrieved July, 28th, 2021 from https://www.eschoolnews.com/2014/07/10/professional-development-technology-922/

Mazzella, N, (2011). What are We Learning About Technology Integration and Professional Development? Retrieved July, 28th, 2021 from https://www.nysut.org/~/media/files/nysut/resources/2011/march/educators-voice-4-technology/edvoiceiv_ch7.pdf?la=en

Teacher Coach Relationship-Building Alliances with Effective Feedback

ISTE Coaching Standard 3 Collaborator

Coaches establish productive relationships with educators in order to improve instructional practice and learning outcomes.

3a. Establish trusting and respectful coaching relationships that encourage educators to explore new instructional strategies.

Feedback is a critical element in a coaching relationship and it is an important part of respectful relationship building between coaches and teachers. What strategies are most effective to help coaches to provide feedback and build alliances with teachers and lead to improved their teaching instruction and practices? 

According to Hatties and Timperley(2007), feedback is conceptualized as information provided by an agent regarding aspects of one’s performance or understanding, and feedback is one of the most powerful influences on learning and achievement, but this impact can be either positive or negative. They also believed that there is a clear distinction between providing instruction and providing feedback. “Feedback needs to provide information specifically relating to the task or process of learning that fills a gap between what is understood and what is aimed to be understood (P82).” 

How can coaches make feedback effective? According to Finley (2017), most coaches understand that feedback should be timely, actionable, specific, and related to agreed-upon learning outcomes. But even when it meets those criteria, feedback can still backfire when unsuccessfully calibrated to a teacher’s abilities. It is important to determine when to use four main types of feedback and with whom:

1. Diagnostic feedback describes why a lesson has not succeeded and clarifies the teaching principles that will support improvement. Best for teachers lacking key concepts that would help them understand why a lesson hasn’t worked. It helps teachers understand more fully the reason for their struggle and clarifies for them the expectations for their future performance and core principles that should guide their work. 

2. Prescriptive feedback provides specific directions about what to do differently. This kind of feedback helps teachers understand what options they have to improve and what they should do next. Thus, it’s best suited for those who have tried something unsuccessfully and need specific help or direction to improve.

3. Descriptive feedback narrates the teaching performance in detail, including what did and didn’t work. Best for teachers who reflect effectively and deeply understand fundamental elements of instruction. However, this feedback will not be as effective for those who are still struggling to understand or implement the basics or for those who are not reflective.

4. Micro-feedback adjusts or “tweaks” successful lessons. It works best with teachers who have already demonstrated a degree of expertise. Micro-feedback provides small nuances, tweaks, and minor adjustments that will significantly improve an already good performance. This kind of feedback not only adds value to effective teachers’ performance but also keeps those teachers consistently improving and growing.

According to the National Center for Systemic Improvement(2005), after learning how to choose the right kind of feedback to inspire and motivate teachers to improve, coaches should be clear that critical coaching practice includes the development of a trusting and respectful teacher–coach relationship, also referred to as alliance. Strong alliance between teachers and coaches establishes a solid foundation for subsequent work between the dyad. 

Table 1 from Effective Coaching: Improving Teacher Practice and Outcomes for All Learners (2005) summarizes critical coaching practices and offers suggestions for when these practices can be used by coaches and Table 2 summarizes the strategies correspond to three primary factors of alliance that coaches can use to build alliance with teachers. 

Many schools and districts implement coaching as a method for improving teacher practice and learner outcomes. It is important to ensure that coaching consists of effective coaching practices to produce powerful changes in teaching and learning-educators. 

References

Hattie, J., & Timperley, H. (2007). The Power of Feedback. Review of Educational Research, 77(1), 81–112. http://www.columbia.edu/~mvp19/ETF/Feedback.pdf

Finley, T.(2007). Feedback Strategies for Coaches and Administrators. Retrieved from 

https://visiblybetter.cepr.harvard.edu/files/visibly-better/files/instructional-feedback-guidebook.pdf

Effective Coaching: Improving Teacher Practice and Outcomes for All Learners (2005). National Center for Systemic Improvement, Retrieved from https://www.air.org/sites/default/files/NCSI_Effective-Coaching-Brief-508.pdf

Human Social Connection in Digital Age

How Does the Internet Bring People Together? | SWG, Inc.

In order to address the importance of partnering with educators, leaders, students and families to foster a culture of respectful online interactions and a healthy balance in their use of technology, we must understand the impact of technology in human social connections. 

We always know that humans are profoundly social species, we want to connect with others since we were born as we want to have connection with our parents and throughout our lives as adults. When I think of connection, it means the feeling of knowing, belonging, trusting, and respecting. As technology is becoming part of our life , I am reaching for an understanding of what impact technology brings into human social connections and how to ensure social connection in virtual interaction are meaningful? 

In the article of “The Future of Well-Being in a Tech-Saturated World,” Janna and Lee argued that technology has brought more positive impact to human connection than negative impact because “digital life links people to people, knowledge, education and entertainment anywhere globally at any time in an affordable, nearly frictionless manner”. According to the interviewer in their research, Daniel Weitzner who is a principal research scientist and founding director of MIT’s Internet Policy Research Initiative shared his idea that internet is the ultimate connection machine to fulfill the need of connection for human as “internet connect people with meaningful and rewarding information and relationships.”  

Although I personally benefited from technology to stay connected with family and friends in other countries, it seems too ideal that technology only brings positive impact to our social connection. The article “The Digital Age: Are We Losing Human Connection?” argued that virtual connection in the form of cyber bulling, trolls and grooming can result in rejection which leads to a significant effect on individual resilience and perception of self in young children, and it can carry over into adulthood. It listed examples of people feeling rejected in virtual society: 

  • Social media enables and promotes social comparison to others and create a feeling of “I am not good enough”.  
  • The rise of the fear of missing out and lost the membership in a group occurs when people don’t tune in and keep up to date in social media.  
  • People lacking social skills to make friends on-line potentially leading to more isolation  
  • Constant checking, and interrupting ‘in the moment’ social interactions not only perpetuates immediate gratification for the user but can have a negative impact on others present.  

We all understand that digital evolution continues to happen regardless we are positive or denial about it. When we are aware of how our social connection is changing around using technology, we also need to be aware of the relationship between us and our digital devices. As educator and parent, I am reflecting on the suggestions given by Lisa Jones (2018):  

  1. We must be aware of how technology is changing our behavior and think about our relationship to our devices. 
  1. As adults we model our behavior to young people. Let’s be aware of our relationship with technology and model respectful and restrained usage rather than dependence, by promoting positive social skills and body language in our interactions with others, despite the temptation to check our devices. 
  1. Take responsibility for our actions because our actions have implications. Be aware that we can implicitly communicating the message that the device is more important than the person you use deice during face-to-face interaction with others.  
  1. Do not separate technology from well-being and resilience. The connection between digital world and real world is important.  
  1. Encourage parents to read terms and conditions that are associated with online activities including social media to teach the knowledge of privacy and identity in digital use.  
  1. Educators should be aware of how much technology is being consumed in student learning and ask question as “is it essential to use technology in every class? Or can we empower teachers to step away from their white board from time to time?”  

The urgency of helping our younger children to learn the skills to make connection in the digital world should be addressed. According to the article “3 Strategies to Foster Sociability”, educators should focus on teaching social skills early, creating shared social norms, and engaging students in cooperative learning to prepare students’s skill in social connection. However, it will be my next journey to explore the strategies to transfer or apply these skills into the digital world in young children.

The goal to foster a culture of respectful online interactions should be built upon the foundation of positive social connections in the digital world. While technology truly bring the convenience to connect more people in more places, the social connection we make through technology should always be reflected on its quality.   

References

Janna Anderson and Lee Rainie, “The Future of Well-Being in a Tech-Saturated World,” Pew Research Center, April 17, 2018 

Jones, L. (2018). “The Digital Age: Are We Losing Human Connection?” Retrieved from 

https://thriveglobal.com/stories/the-digital-age-are-we-losing-human-connection/

Price-Mitchell, M. (2015) “3 Strategies to Foster Sociability” Retrieved from

https://www.edutopia.org/blog/8-pathways-strategies-foster-sociability-marilyn-price-mitchell

Accountability of Online Schools

Monday's big online return to Georgia schools needed tech support - Georgia  Recorder

Despite the fear from Merton (2012) that technology was becoming an autonomous and destructive force, technology has implemented a new form of learning in education and online school has become a choice for many districts and students. While families and students make their decision to enroll into online school, accountability has been my concern in this new wave. While my earliest focus about accountability was developed around how students are held accountable for their engagement and participation in digital education, I began to reflect on the accountability of schools in providing and implementing quality online education to students from K-12. Therefore, I decided to investigate  accountability system and measurement of online schools for K-12 students. 

Online learning requires teacher deliver content and instruction through the internet and students learn and demonstrate their academic performance through internet. According to the research from the National Charter School Resource Center, there are 32 states in the U.S offers fully online school which students are not required to attend classes in physical space in 2012-2013 serving an estimated 310,000 students. Some schools offer partial online supplemental program for enrichment purpose or blended-learning model to combine online and face-to-face instruction mixed.  

Watson and Pape (2015) raised the concerns that online schools are held accountable for students learning outcome and being measured based of grade-level proficiency in reading and math and graduation rates in the state accountability system like traditional schools without taking their high mobility student population into account.  

Watson and Pape (2015) argued that online learning and online schools represent as an alternative way for many students due to its flexible nature. Students who chose to attend online schools are accelerated students, at-risk students, students with  extenuating life circumstances, students with medical issue, previously homeschooled students, or students who are seeking additional program with dual enrollment. High percentage of family consider online school as short-term plan. Many students transfer back to traditional school as soon as their life situation get resolved. The belief that “learning by apprenticeship can work only in the nearness of classroom and laboratory; never in cyberspace” (Dreyfus, 2014, p646) plays an important role in many families’ decision to go back to traditional school. These student population contributed a high mobility rate for online schools.  

Why Families Choose Online School

However, state accountability system does not address the reality of situation. For example, students who enrolled in online school but leaves prior to graduating. Watson and Pape (2015) recommended to create a different framework can align with online schools and reflect the students they sever. Measuring online school accountability should focus on student growth during online school enrollment to ensure that schools are held accountable for advancing students during their time at the school, even though it is a very short stop along their educational path. 

The research clearly shows that the current accountability system does not acknowledge or track student mobility nor reflect the quality of student learning experience. While many schools are currently moving to online learning or a blended model with a portion of face to face instruction due to pandemic, should leaders and policy makers review and facilitate change to our current accountability system for schools with remote learning? Without an effective accountability measurement system for schools, it is challenging for educators to set expectation and hold students accountable in online learning.  

Reference  

Albert Borgmann, “Contemplation in a Technological Era: Learning from Thomas Merton,” Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 64:1 (2012): 3-10. Retrieved from  

https://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/2012/PSCF3-12Borgmann.pdf

Locke, G., Ableidinger, J,. Hassel, B., Barrett, S., (2014) “Virtual Schools: Assessing Progress and Accountability Final Report of Study Findings” American Institutes for Research. Retrieved from  

https://charterschoolcenter.ed.gov/sites/default/files/Virtual%20Schools%20Accountability%20Report.pdf

Hubert Dreyfus, “Anonymity versus Commitment: The Dangers of Education on the Internet,” Philosophy of Technology, 641-47. Retrieved from  

https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.ezproxy.spu.edu/lib/spu/reader.action?docID=1565910

Watson, J., Pape, L. (2015). School Accountability in the Digital Age. Retrieved from  

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/59381b9a17bffc68bf625df4/t/593eff1e414fb5ccb8740729/1497300768219/KP-AccountabilityInTheDigitalAge.pdf

Change Agent

1c. Cultivate a supportive coaching culture that encourages educators and leaders to achieve a shared vision and individual goals. 

Coaches are often viewed as support for developing teachers’ knowledge and skills and strengthening teachers’ feelings of efficacy relative to students’ learning. In my post Digital Tools in Problem Solving Coaching Approach,  I suggest that digital technology can be used to enhance coaching interaction to be more flexible and accessible for creating a supportive coaching culture.  

The use of texting, emails, facetime, and recording to increase the consistency and timeliness of coach and teacher interactions. In my post, a video recording tool, Edthena allows teachers to upload videos of themselves teaching and share it with peers and coaches, who then comment on the video. Besides Edthena, Voxer, Google Hangouts, QuickTime, and Screencastify are also effective tools to create interactive, flexible, and feedback based coaching experiences. A more supportive coaching experience can be created using digital technology, which allows for coaches and teachers to think innovatively and creatively about how they meet and work collaboratively.  

Change Agent 

1a. Create a shared vision and culture for using technology to learn and accelerate transformation through the coaching process. 

Coaching is often viewed as for addressing problems of practice as intellectual and practical challenges. In my post Digital Tools in Problem Solving Coaching Approach, I focused on the need to use a problem-solving coaching model to support coach and teacher to create a shared vision and culture in the coaching process. The problem- solving coaching model from Toll (2017) from my research has three- phase: (1) identifying a problem; (2) describing it, using careful analysis of student data; and (3) deciding on a course of action to try something different after careful goal setting and brainstorming of solution. Through this model, it enhances reflective conversations between coach and teacher to see and improve instruction more objectively. 

Reference 

Toll, C.A. (2017). A problem- solving model for literacy coaching practice. The Reading Teacher, 70(4), 413–421. https://cehd.gmu.edu/assets/docs/math_literacy/Session%2011%20Problem-solving%20Coaching%20article.pdf 

Change Agent 

1e. Connect leaders, educators, instructional support, technical support, domain experts and solution providers to maximize the potential of technology for learning. 

The source in this project will not be identified for privacy reasons. 

Background 

The Middle School Dual Language Immersion Program in my school district began piloting a program to support Dual Language Immersion students’ literacy development in December of 2021. This program has adapted a digital literacy learning platform called MM. Dual Language Immersion program in our district has been lacking literacy materials and assessment to align curriculum and literacy standards from kindergarten to 8th grade. It has been a challenge for district and school leaders to measure dual language immersion students’ literacy development in the target language since each immersion school is using varied materials and assessment in teaching literacy.  

This digital tool is a customized, cloud-based guided reading platform for second language learners from kindergarten through middle school. Their online classroom offers an integrated range of learning tools that have been designed to be user-friendly and engaging, allowing each student to follow their individual learning journey toward developing knowledge of the language and improving personal proficiency outcomes.  

A survey was conducted in students’ and teachers’ attitude toward this learning platform using Microsoft Forms in February. As reflecting on one of the survey results from both teachers and students, kindergarten and first grade students have experienced challenges logging into the platform independently due to the long username and password. Without being able to log into the platform independently, it resulted in kindergarten and 1st grade teachers spending a significant amount of time helping students login during instruction, and students are not able to use the platform outside of school time. It defeats the purpose of providing students with literacy support at home.  

Learning and Success  

A solution was to integrate this digital tool into the current cloud system called Clever in our district. However, the integration did not go well due to the system requirements and miscommunication among teachers, tech support staff, and vendors. As a teacher leader for our Dual Language teaching team, I believe to maximize the potential of this digital tool for learning, we need to establish a dedicated support network for our teachers and students. Therefore, I worked closely with our international school leaders, district technology support leaders and staff, technology support from vendor, and teachers to identify the integration issue and address and problem solve the issue in the Professional Development workshop. At the end of the workshop, our team of leaders and tech support staff confirmed that the integration cannot be implemented due to the district system requirement. However, the collaboration during this process has demonstrated the following learning and success:  

  • Our current technology support from the district is lacking a follow-up support network and feedback channels for teachers and students to share and request additional support. For example, after a digital tool is approved by the district, this tool is available for teachers and students to use without any further integration support, or the district assumes follow-up support should be provided from vendor.  
  • Our teachers and students rely on getting technology support from the district by filing a “tech ticket”. A method of using a tech ticket to ask for support requires teachers and students to understand the tech issue and the language and terminology used to describe their questions and decode the answer received back from the tech support. While teachers tried to file “tech ticket” and received answers with complicated instructions and tech language, they were less motivated to continue moving forward in using the tool for teaching and learning.
  • Although our team was not able to make the integration happen successfully, teachers in the workshop had opportunities to express their feedback and suggestions in the process. Technology leaders from our district recommended and facilitated other solutions, for example using a different browser to remember username and password. Technology support from vendor also provided accommodation by shortening usernames and passwords for kindergarten and first grade students.  

In conclusion, a support network established by leaders, educators, instructional support, technical support, domain experts and solution providers need to be in place to maximize the potential of technology for learning in schools, and this network should be implemented as a district expectation for all technology learning tools to ensure the confidence in teachers and students.  

Change Agent 

1d. Recognize educators across the organization who use technology effectively to enable high-impact teaching and learning. 

A digital portfolio is a collection of digital works, they can be essays, posters, images, videos, and artwork. Digital portfolios can be used by students to put together portfolios for capstone or research projects. Teachers can use a digital portfolio to create a professional portfolio or gather items around areas they would like to explore or demonstrate their expertise. For this standard, I would like to refer to my post from May 2021, Digital Portfolio for Educators.  

This post addresses educators seeking opportunities for leadership to support student empowerment and success and improve teaching and learning by creating digital portfolio. Digital portfolio creation resulted in increased teacher learning about technology, a reexamination of their pedagogy, better comprehension of their students’ learning, reflective processes, and assessment, and reciprocal learning between teachers and students. Digital portfolios can be used as a tool to highlight and recognize educators across the organization who use technology to enable high-impact teaching and learning by assess student learning and use as self-reflection to demonstrate and improve teaching practices.  

Change Agent

1b: Facilitate equitable use of digital learning tools and content that meet the needs of each learner. 

Technology has implemented a new form of learning in education and digital learning tools and online schools have become a choice for many districts and students. In my post from September 2020, Accountability of Online Schools, I explored the accountability of schools in providing and implementing quality online education to students from K-12. I also investigate accountability system and measurement of online schools to understand if digital learning tools and content meet the needs of students.  

Online learning requires teachers to deliver content and instruction through the internet and students learn and demonstrate their academic performance through the internet. From my post, the result clearly shows that the current accountability system from many online learning does not acknowledge or track student mobility nor reflect the quality of student learning experience. Leaders and policy makers review and facilitate changes to our current accountability system for schools with remote learning.