When I talk to people about the Digital Education Leadership program through Seattle Pacific University, I often end up saying, “Well, there’s homework, but it’s not really homework. I do work, but it’s directly related to my responsibilities as a librarian and an educator. So, it’s homework but it’s not really homework. It’s bigger than that. It has more significance than ‘homework.'” While this has been proven throughout the duration of the program, it couldn’t have been more true than when I was offered the opportunity to redesign a Library Media Endorsement certification program… As part of my “homework.”
My classmates and I were recently tasked with conducting a program evaluation. Students learned “how to conduct needs assessments, develop technology-related professional learning programs, evaluate the impact on instructional practice and student learning, and communicate findings to the institution” (Course syllabus). Dr. David Wicks, Chair of the Digital Education Leadership program, came to me with a wonderful opportunity to redesign a university’s Library Media Endorsement (LME) certification program. Because the program is not yet finalized, I am omitting the name of the institution and it will henceforth be identified as “University.”
While the entire Digital Education Leadership program at Seattle Pacific University is designed to be a hands-on experience which embeds learning opportunities into students’ current workplace, this course, in particular, provided students with a meaningful opportunity to practice our newfound skills in a professional environment. Under the tutelage of Dr. David Wicks, Associate Professor and Chair of the Digital Education Leadership program and Dr. Les Foltos, Director of Educational Innovation at Peer-Ed and author of Peer Coaching: Unlocking the Power of Collaboration, students were trained as peer coaches and we worked with a collaborating teacher from our respective schools. I chronicled that learned and the skills I obtained in posts throughout the quarter and now, as this course comes to a close, I’m reflecting on the work that was done and thinking about how to sustain my skills as a peer coach in the future.
The importance of peer coaching practice in schools became evident to me very quickly into the quarter. Teachers that are supported create students that are successful. Well-renowned researchers of teaching methods and staff development, Bruce Joyce and Beverly Showers, have found that teachers that have been coached generally demonstrate the following:
This quarter, through the Digital Education Leadership program at Seattle Pacific University, my classmates and I are building skills towards becoming peer coaches in our respective schools. As I describe in an earlier post, peer coaches work with a collaborating teacher to help them to recognize their amazing abilities through questions and periods of reflection, allowing the collaborative teacher to solve their own challenges with the help of a safe, supportive cheerleader on the side. One essential aspect of the peer coaching role is exploring the lesson improvement process, where the collaborating teacher and the peer coach examine a current lesson plan and find ways to enhance what is already being taught. As I move forward with the idea of lesson improvement, I am left wondering how to balance the role of coach without crossing into the position of “expert.” In Peer Coaching: Unlocking the Power of Collaboration, author, Les Foltos, warns readers that “teachers want a coach to be a peer, not an expert” (Foltos, 2013, pg. 19). Teachers don’t want someone to telling them what to do, they want a friend and a colleague to talk though a lesson and share ideas that could enhance … Read More
This week I continue my exploration of the first and second ISTE Coaching Standards through the Digital Education Leadership program at Seattle Pacific University. As I delve into these standards, I also hone my skills as a peer coach, merging my studies with my new role as Technology Integration Specialist. These opportunities of real-time implementation of my education has me wondering why more graduate (and even undergraduate) programs don’t follow a similar model, with students catering their learning to fit their “real lives.” I am so very thankful that my homework is directly connected to the responsibilities of my job. This week, for example, I was introduced to a variety of communication tools to make the peer coaching experience equally effective for both the coach and the collaborating teacher. My classmates and I devoted time to hold mock coaching meetings to practice these new skills, an exercise that initially felt silly, but proved to be a great confidence builder.
While this activity was designed to train peer coaches, the communication skills are useful in all collaborative relationships (they were a great reminder for all areas of my life). Les Foltos, Director of Educational Innovation at Peer-Ed and author of … Read More
Last semester I began to explore the ISTE Coaching Standards through the Digital Education Leadership program at Seattle Pacific University, this semester I will continue that examination as I start the journey of serving as a peer coach. Before diving into my individual experience as a coach, it was necessary for me to understand the expected roles and responsibilities of this position. Les Foltos, Director of Educational Innovation at Peer-Ed and author of Peer Coaching: Unlocking the Power of Collaboration, describes a peer coach as a “teacher leader who assists a peer to improve standards-based instruction by supporting the peer’s efforts to actively engage students in 21st-century learning activities” (2013, pg. 3). What I quickly realized after reviewing the various roles of a peer coach is that this is an educator who is expected to wear a multitude of hats simultaneously. Foltos outlines the various roles below:
Facilitator – Planning and leading meetings, activities, and staff development in one-on-one, small group, or large group situations.
Collaborator – Working together with colleagues to plan, implement, and evaluate activities.
Expert – Acting as a subject matter expert on a variety of topics.
Catalyst – Helping teachers reflect on and improve
In my final week of exploring the ISTE Teacher Standards through the Digital Education Leadership program at Seattle Pacific University, I examine the fifth standard: Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership. In an effort to move into a coaching and mentorship role, I reflected on the following question: “How can teachers continuously improve their professional practice, model lifelong learning, and exhibit leadership in their school and professional community by promoting and demonstrating the effective use of digital tools and resources?”
I work at a private school where many of the teachers are not formal educators; they come to the school with a strong background in the school’s cultural and religious beliefs, but not in classroom teaching. I have noticed that many of them do not pursue professional development opportunities that could help them advance their skills in classroom management, assessment, or effective teaching. Blogger and widely respected technology integration specialist, Vicki Davis states, “Professional development is a vital part of improving your technique as a teacher. Learning best practices and practicing best practices are both important. You can make a school better by improving its teachers. Effective [professional development] can do that” (2015). With this in the forefront … Read More
My school recently revisited our Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) after not having revised it in over two years. We found several discrepancies and have noted that several parents, while they signed the document, still had an array of questions about the one-to-one laptop program and what the laptops should (and shouldn’t) be used for both on and off campus. With this in mind, the school’s Tech Task Force debated the idea of requiring students and parents to attend an orientation in addition to just signing the AUP. I reviewed the policies and procedures of several other schools in an effort to find what works best for the majority. It seems, there is no majority. All schools approach this issue differently, with varying levels of success. What works for one school, doesn’t work for the … Read More
I like to think I’m pretty “in the know” when it comes to educational technology. Then I spend time with my brilliant classmates and professors (I lovingly refer to them as “The Great Brain”) and I realize I don’t know nearly as much as I’d like to think. In the last two weeks they have shared with me a treasure trove of tools that I had no idea existed. This quarter we are exploring the ISTE Teacher Standards and in order to take that learning to the next level, in knowledge and practice, we are planning and facilitating Global Collaborative Projects (GCP). The overview of the project follows:
Global collaborative projects help students become connected learners and provide them with authentic opportunities to learn from other people and experiences. These types of projects also provide students with new, diverse perspectives and help prepare them for an international workplace. In this project, you will collaborate with others outside of the Digital Education Leadership program to design and implement a global learning experience utilizing digital tools.
As I did some brainstorming for this project, the Great Brain told me about Mystery Skype. How did I not know this existed? If you’re … Read More
Last semester I examined the ISTE Student Standards through the Digital Education Leadership program at Seattle Pacific University, this semester I will start my exploration of the ISTE Teacher Standards. In an effort to learn the difference between the various sets of ISTE Standards (student, teacher, coach, administrator and computer science educator), I scoured the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) website to find the following description: “The family of ISTE Standards works in concert to support students, educators and leaders with clear guidelines for the skills, knowledge and approaches they need to succeed in the digital age” (“ISTE Standards,” 2015). I was excited to find this short video produced by ISTE that gives a short overview of the purpose behind the standards and why they are important to successfully implementing technology into education.
While I am still processing the difference between the many sets of standards, I am approaching my exploration this semester from the perspective of a librarian who is there to serve both students and teachers in order to take their learning and teaching to the next level. This week, I was given the following question and asked to explore it in a way … Read More
This quarter in the Digital Education Leadership program through Seattle Pacific University, I have been working together with my classmates to explore the ASSURE Model, an instructional model used to design lessons that effectively incorporate the use of technology to enhance student learning. This model identifies six steps in the planning process and those steps form the acronym, ASSURE:
What Does This Look Like?
My classmates and I created a face-to-face session for educators who are interested in incorporating technology into their classroom but are looking for basic management techniques to help them be comfortable and successful. The design of this lesson took place over an entire quarter, working on one of four phases and then seeking feedback from the professors before moving forward. This format allowed us to gain outside perspective, make revisions to the lesson plan and then use that feedback as we transitioned into the following steps of the ASSURE Model.
Here you will find our plans for the project, including the handouts that will be provided to session participants: