Skip to main content

Learning To Be An Instructional Coach

The roles of EdTech Coaches have evolved. The early generations of EdTech Coaches primarily focused on finding and teaching the tools. This was a need since "educational technology" was not integrated into mainstream education. Our early goals and projects focused on finding a tool and showing teachers how to use it. Sometimes, we even took the easier path and did the work for the teachers instead of teaching them how to do it themselves. The questions we most often answered were “how” questions. “Why” questions were rarely part of our conversations.

In the past, effective  pedagogy and best practices were almost always secondary to the shiny new web resources or devices. Many of us put the carriage before the horse and failed to bring real changes to how we teach and learn. A WebQuest, after all, is really little more than a digital worksheet. Using technology to provide students with worksheets on a computer screen is not listed as innovation in any book about educational innovation.

Times are changing. Technology has invaded the classrooms across the country. Even our job titles are changing. The word Technology is missing from these titles. We are becoming Innovation Coordinators and Instructional Coaches.  Our jobs are about instruction, enhanced by technology. Technology is too integrated into many classrooms for our focus to just be on the tools.  Today's instructional coach cannot just be an expert on how to use different tools. We must become experts on instructional practices supported by technology. We now focus on technology to enhance good teaching. Powerful pedagogy now comes first, and the technology tools are added to enhance the learning environment.

In my school, we've tried to model how technology enhances good teaching and learning practices. Pedagogy comes first. Our planning and support focus on these three principles: 
  • First, we focus on the why before the tool. When a teacher is looking to get something done, we first ask about the essential student skills connected to the task. The 4Cs of education (collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity) take center stage in most of what we do. 
  • Second, we look for tools that can be used for students across content areas. While there are many great subject specific resources, we prefer tools that support students throughout their day. Instead of focusing on tools that only support a specific subject, we instead look first for tools that can support different activities connected to essential skills across the curricula.
  • Finally, we try to always emphasize that technology alone does not have the power make a bad lesson great. Technology at its best only enhances what is already there. Strong teaching and learning practices must be established before the tools are added to the mix. 
As  instructional coaches, we also try to focus on these 5 pillars as we plan support our teachers and students: 
If your staff is still looking for you to teach the tools, or even create something for them using the tools, it is time to flip the switch. Don’t just teach. Instead, learn from the great teachers around you. Maybe even start with a change in your title?

Here are a few resources we use to plan our professional development activities: 

Want to learn more about what we do? 
Contact us: @rechargeedu and @MrsWilsonNV

Popular Posts

Developing a Future Ready Classroom With the 4 Cs - Free Flipped PD Opportunity

The skills connected to collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity are essential for all students. The best classroom activities engage students in content while providing opportunities to practice the 4Cs in learner-centered environments.

The best professional development also models the 4 Cs for staff. We've created a free flipped PD HyperDoc to connect educators to 4 Cs resources and experiences. Let us know what you think in the comments below. 


Developing a Future Ready Classroom with the 4 Cs HyperDoc

Share Your Learning Experience Learn something new? Have a resource to share? Maybe a question? Please engage in the conversation using one or more of these resources.
Padlet - CollaborationPadlet - CommunicationPadlet - CreativityPadlet - Critical ThinkingFlipgrid - Share Your Why

How Will You Welcome Back Students in 2018?

"I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're doing something." Neil Gaiman
I hope everyone is enjoying their breaks and looking forward to reconnecting with your students in 2018?


How will you start the new year with your students?  Will you jump right into the content? Reflect on the break or 2017? Something fun? Something different?

Please share your thoughts and ideas for 2018 in the comments below?
I've decided to do something new to welcome my students back. This year we will be working through a HyperDoc to start 2018. HyperDocs are not new for my students, but most of them are connected to our content. My welcome back HyperDoc will include:

A review of events and stories from 2017.Student creation of an Avatar conne…

HyperDocs - Frameworks for the 4 Cs in Student-Centered Classrooms

HyperDocs are powerful digital activities that shift the focus of learning from the teacher to the students. The best HyperDocs support essential skills connected to collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity.


Source: About HyperDocs HyperDoc Fundamentals
HyperDocs are powerful frameworks to support inquiry-based learning. HyperDocs allow students to explore interactive resources at their own pace. HyperDocs are digital frameworks that can support differentiated learning. HyperDocs don't just present the facts. HyperDocs use questions, problems, and scenarios to help students learn, explore, and create. HyperDocs provide options for student voice and give students choices in how to engage in the content. HyperDocs support individual, small group, and whole class opportunities.HyperDocs connected to Formative Assessments help students know what they know and explore what they don't know.
HyperDoc Resources
Want to learn more about using HyperDocs to support coll…