Digital Tools in Problem Solving Coaching Approach

ISTE Standard:  

Coaches inspire educators and leaders to use technology to create equitable and ongoing access to high-quality learning. Coaches: 

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

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

Coaching often viewed as for addressing problems of practice as intellectual and practical challenges, and coaches are often viewed as support for developing teachers’ knowledge and skills and strengthening teachers’ feelings of efficacy relative to students’ learning (Leighton, 2018). How could coach and teachers make greater use of digital tools to create new and more flexible coaching contexts, and use digital tools maximize professional support by connecting to identify and collaboratively search for solutions to a persistent problem of practice? 

According to Toll (2017), the problem- solving coaching model as occurring in a three- phase process: (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. Within this model, it requires reflective conversations to help teachers see instruction more objectively. Leighton (2018) explained that coach needs to establish a systematic and intentional review of one’s teaching actions to gain insight. Through reflection, teachers not only identify what is working but also acknowledge aspects of instruction where small changes might lead to greater gains in students’ literacy learning. However, engaging in this type of thoughtful, recursive process of coaching as problem solving takes time and dedicated effort. Digital technology can be the answer to enhance the coaching interaction to be more flexible and accessible. The blow graph demonstrates the use of texting, emails, facetime, and recording to increase the consistency and timeliness of coach and teacher interactions. 

Social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter have been effective in helping teachers forge peer networks that enabled them to share content and pedagogical experience. The most common digital technology is using video as a tool for teachers to examine their own practice and reflect. Video has been shown to anchor teachers’ abilities to critically and objectively examine their own instruction and to consider refinements. In addition, recorded video can also ease the logistical challenges coaches face when they try to observe in-person enough of the right lessons to help teachers improve. In this blog post, I will be exploring the video coaching tool Edthena to understand the effectiveness of maximize professional support by using the problem solution approach in coaching.  

Edthena allows teachers to upload videos of themselves teaching and share it with peers and coaches, who then comment on the video. The product is designed so that reviewers can quickly jump to specific comments or moments in the video, and to facilitate conversation about a video, rather than one-off comments. The product requires a paid license to use. 

Introduction to Edthena 

According to Edsurge’s review on this video coaching tool, the prerequisite for using the core features of Edthena is a video of a teacher teaching. Videos can be recorded from any device with a video camera (computer, smartphone, standalone video camera, etc.) and uploaded to Edthena. Once a video is uploaded, teachers add additional contextual information and can share their videos with other Edthena users; by default, videos uploaded to Edthena are private and can only be seen by the uploader. Videos can be shared with individual educators or coaches, or with pre-determined groups. The core of the Edthena tool is the ability to watch and comment on teacher videos. Users watching a video click a button to pause the video and add time-stamped comments. These comments are categorized as questions, suggestions, strengths or notes. Comments can also be tagged with a standardized framework. After a comment is completed, a bright mark remains on the timeline of the video, allowing the video’s uploader (or other users) to jump quickly to comments in the video. A feed at the bottom of the page also summarizes these comments and allows a user to jump to them.

Teachers and coaches can also use these features to have a conversation about teaching practice, rather than to specifically review a fellow teacher. For example, through Edthena users can access thousands of recorded lessons from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Measures of Effective Teaching Project. Users can watch and comment on these videos as they would one that they have uploaded themselves.

Coaches can also use Edthena to design “Explorations” for educators, custom learning plans in which educators can also share non-video evidence of their learning. Within Explorations, Coaches can set rubrics for teacher evaluation and assess their progress on the rubric over time. Edthena allows coaches and teachers to track growth on the rubric over time.

Karen who is the Professional Learning Coach in St Vrain Valley Schoo District, Colorado shared her feedback in this product that it has had a tremendous impact on shaping teacher behavior and inevitably affecting student achievement. Teachers who use Edthena in her district are gifted with the opportunity to refine their craft by focusing on elements of their instruction, soliciting feedback from coaches or colleagues on that instruction and then making adjustments based on feedback.

Besides Edthena, Voxer, Google Hangouts, QuickTime, and Screencastify are also effective tools to create interactive, flexible, and feedback based coaching experiences. Productive coaching interactions are often constrained by limitations of time, the structure of the school day, and available resources. The wide array of digital tools now readily available through technology devices allows for coaches and teachers to think innovatively and creatively about how they meet and work collaboratively search for solutions to a persistent problem of practice. (Leighton, 2018)

References

Leighton, C., et al., (2018), “Let’s FaceTime Tonight”: Using Digital Tools to Enhance Coaching. The Reading Teacher P1-11 file:///Users/vivili/Desktop/2018-Leighton_et_al-Reading_Teacher-with-cover-page-v2.pdf

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

Review of Edthena. Edsurge. https://www.edsurge.com/product-reviews/edthena

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