MyNotes: Technology Coach Handbook

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Note: The Technology Coach Handbook by Deborah Lowther, Michael Grant, Eric Marvin, Fran Clark and Blake Burr in 2003 is a readable document! These are my take-aways, my notes on perusing the handbook.

Love this chart! How much have instructional activities REALLY changed? Not much….


  1. Districts or schools considering a technology coach model may use this resource as a roadmap for achieving successful technology integration.
  2. major objectives of this Handbook are to provide technology coaches with the knowledge and skills to: 
  1. Create technology integration environments in which students effectively use computers as tools to enhance learning. 
  2. Assist teachers to integrate effective student use of technology into everyday teaching and learning. 
  3. Facilitate the successful implementation of a school-wide technology integration initiative. 
  • Alas, the techcoach web site listed in the handbook has expired–
  • A technology coach’s particular interactions with specific teachers will undoubtedly vary according to specific needs and levels of experience. 
  • This point is especially relevant when considering the task of reaching reluctant, technologically skeptical teachers. . .they are at the core of individuals a coach would like to reach, despite their resistance to suggestions and input. . .one of the last things a coach wants to do is upset or alienate such reluctant teachers 
  • Traits of an effective coach:
    1. being an effective technology coach requires an ability to help teachers learn new technologies within an adult learning environment by offering them great amounts of “informal, highly customized support”
    2.  an ability to be someone that colleagues trust to help them with the development of necessary technology-related skills and lesson planning
    3. at times a coach must be a cheerleader, encouraging all teachers to move forward; a fan, providing recognition to those doing a good job; and an ally, promoting a path in which implementation can work
    4.  a coach must also at times be a sidekick, allowing teachers to take the lead; a listener, customizing support services to individual needs; and a confessor, admitting when things do not work as planned
  • An easy way to ensure that your students engage in critical thinking activities is to include one or more of the following generative learning strategies in each lesson: recall, integration, organization, and elaboration 
  • Generative learning strategies require students to generate or construct meaningful relationships between their prior knowledge and new information being taught. 
  •   classroom environments can no longer consist of teachers providing factual information through lectures and students “learning” the information through the completion of worksheets and end-of-chapter questions. Instead, students need learning opportunities that equip them with the knowledge and skills to not only to perform well on more demanding standardized tests, but also to meet the challenging requirements of today’s society. Problembased learning (PBL), when well structured, is one way to meet these needs.
  •  how do you create a “well-structured” problem-based learning environment? You begin with four major components: standards-based content, real-world context, student-centered approach, and collaborative teamwork
  • When planning problem-based learning, it is critical to ensure that the “problem” which drives the lesson addresses core content from your curriculum standards 
  • problem-based learning needs to have a real-world context – or as close to one as possible (Checkley, 1997; Barrows & Myers, 1997). This “reality” can be achieved through the structure of the problem itself, as well as the context. When you examine the structure of issues that occur in the “real world,” very seldom is there only one solution achieved by using one source of information. Rather, these problems are ill structured, in that more than one solution is workable and a variety of resources can be used in reaching the different solutions. Therefore, problembased learning needs to reflect this same structure. With regard to achieving a “real-world” context, you can use information directly related to the students or the community. 
  • For PBL to be successful, the learning environment must center on the students (Bridges, 1992; Delisle, 1997). This means that students need to be actively engaged and responsible for completing the tasks necessary to “solve” the problem. The students also need to be provided opportunities for self-reflection/evaluation to assess personal progress and determine areas of needed improvement (Barrows & Myers, 1997). The teacher “sets the scene” by ensuring student ownership of the problem and access to needed resources, and by providing “just-in-time” guidance and support that meets the individual needs of each student
  • The last critical component of PBL is collaborative teamwork (Bridges, 1992; Delisle, 1997). When students are working together to achieve a common goal, many learning opportunities are enhanced. For example, in this type of learning context, students collaboratively define variables of the problem that need to be investigated, determine what resources are needed and where to get them, decide how to use the collected information, and discuss newly gained knowledge with each other, thus helping to identify misconceptions. 
  •  Traditionally, technology use within schools has emphasized and centered on the use of the computer. At first consideration, this focus appears most appropriate. After all, what could possibly be wrong with emphasizing computers? Aren’t they, after all, at the center of the workforce, standards-based, and political expectations for technology use within K-12 schools? Why wouldn’t technology coaches want to lead schools down the path of computer-centered instruction? The danger with this traditional, computer-centered view of instruction is that it fails to place students at the center of learning. Technology, given its very nature, will always continue to be at the cutting-edge of society and learning. However, such new developments should not become a distraction to what is important. That is, educators must always continue to focus on students and their learning needs. They are most important.
  • The iNtegrating Technology for inQuiry (NTeQ, pronounced “in-tech”) approach to technology integration recognizes this underlying philosophy of computer use within K-12 schools (Morrison & Lowther, 2002). It provides a specific role for the important individuals and components involved in K-12 classroom learning — including students, teachers, computers, and lessons. 
  • The role of the teacher with the NTeQ approach is also different than what is found in traditional classroom environments. Underlying this perspective is that teachers must become, if they are not already, technologically competent. Technological competence requires teachers to move beyond a basic understanding of computer skills to more insightful, classroom-relevant knowledge. Specifically, this means that teachers need to: ƒ experience using a computer as a learning tool. ƒ understand how computer functions can assist student learning. ƒ apply their knowledge of technology and learning to design, manage, and facilitate a multidimensional classroom learning environment.
  •  teachers need to understand how computer functions can assist student learning. By understanding how computers can ease the problem-solving aspect of learning, teachers can begin to integrate the use of technology into their classroom with more relevance. Teachers who have an understanding of how computer functions (and software functions, in particular) can assist student learning will be more prepared to use technology effectively within their classroom. Instead of using a computer merely for the sake of using a computer, such teachers will begin to use technology as a tool to facilitate student-centered learning.
  •  One of the easiest ways for teachers to begin integrating technology into their instruction is to begin with lessons that they already teach.
  • Choose an existing lesson plan that involves student collection, generation and/or manipulation of data/information. Multiple examples can be found in the Computer-as-aLearning Tool section that follows. 
  • Prior to lesson implementation, create a sample of the computer product(s) students will generate to make sure everything “works” as planned. The created sample can be shown to students as an example of what they will produce. 
  •  This guide has tons more great examples that remain pertinent today.

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    Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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