I’ve just started my first year as an edtech coach at Colegio Inglés. For two years, I worked as a language arts and history teacher in 8th grade. I’ve always been passionate about technology and education, so, to me, when opportunity came, it was only logical to take this new step and venture into the exciting world of technology integration from a coach’s perspective. In this short walk, I have gained a new perspective and made a few observations, which I’m excited to share with you in this post. They are not organized in any particular way.
As an edtech coach:
1. You get to reach out far more students … indirectly, that is.
When I was teaching ELA and history, I had a direct impact and influence over 46 students divided in two groups of 23 each. That was my magic number. However, as an edtech coach I get to reach out to about 390 students. The possibilities are more: possibilities for more projects, larger projects and ambitious goals. More can be achieved: You become like an orchestra director with the possibility of putting together a stunning performance. You may achieve amazing things on your own by directly influencing your students, but you will get farther if other edtech leaders accompany you on the journey.
2. Your efforts must be more focused.
Because you don’t have direct access to your students anymore, it becomes crucial that you find a way to have access to them. The way to do it is through the teachers you coach. Because you’re not exactly their teacher and you can’t just tell them what to do or what to teach, you have to earn the way into their brains and hearts so you can inspire them to get on board with the vision your school is undertaking. I’ve seen and noticed that the best way to achieve this is by inspiring them and showing them the results that they can harvest once they apply your suggestions. Providing concrete examples of projects, initiatives that they can adapt and implement in their teaching practice will help them envision what that could look like in their classrooms.
3. Your growth determines their growth.
According to John Maxwell, this is the leadership law of the lid: If you place a lid on your own professional growth you will be affecting not only yourself, but also your entire faculty. It is very rare that people will do more than you ask them to do and teachers will usually not go beyond the point their Edtech leaders are willing to go themselves. It is imperative that Edtech coaches therefore embrace a culture of expanding their PLNs — personal learning networks — and learning and undertaking risks for the sake of learning. Participating or organizing educational Twitter chats, becoming an active part of EdCamps, blogging and consulting cutting-edge edtech blogs are just a few examples of how you can ensure that you are on the right track for growth. ISTE has also published the NETS for coaches, a fantastic collection of standards specifically dedicated to edtech coaches.
Are you an edtech coach? What other aspects of our job would you add to this? Are you are a teacher reading this article? I just want to say you have a golden opportunity to make amazing things happen in your classroom. Never before had I realized the magnitude of the blessing it is to have a number of kids every day before you.
Isaac Pineda is the technology integration specialist at Colegio Inglés, a private 1:1 school in Monterrey, Mexico. He is an Apple Distinguished Educator and an advocate for technology in education. He also works as a speaker and consultant providing professional development for teachers and administrators at schools in Mexico and overseas. Visit his website. Read his blog. Follow him on Twitter @Kairosedtech.