What Does a Future Ready Technology Coach Look Like?
The future ready initiative strives to increase access to digital learning for American students. Its principles and resources are a great boon for technology coaches, who are already probably aligned with the mission and approach of future ready instruction.
In fact, the initiative has a wide variety of resources specifically designed to help technology coaches improve student learning outcomes. One key principle is the idea of personalized learning. While most technology coaches are very familiar with this concept, there is still room to increase the personalization of most instructional materials on school campuses. The technology coach is ideally positioned to help classroom teachers learn about and implement edtech tools that make it possible for them to meet the unique learning needs of each student.
The wise technology coach can help teachers understand that personalization might require some substantive set-up time but will ultimately result in a reduction of the teacher’s workload—not to mention in improved student learning. Tech coaches can help teachers navigate what can seem like an overwhelming task of providing instruction designed for the unique needs of each student.
A future ready technology coach understands the crucial importance of equity—not just in education in general, but in the adoption of edtech in particular. Tech coaches will want to be sure that teachers have access to resources such as mobile hot spots to ensure that students without access to broadband at home are able to complete assignments. Many students may be embarrassed to announce their lack of access, so the technology coach will need to work closely with teachers in order to be sure that the needs of every student are met.
A future ready technology coach is also aware of the limits of edtech. As the old saying goes, if the only tool that you have is a hammer, then every problem starts to look like a nail. But the awareness of the dangers of excess screen time, especially when combined with what we know about how a variety of learning activities benefits student achievement, means that technology coaches may sometimes need to coach teachers away from edtech, no matter how counterintuitive that seems. But the technology coach is ideally positioned to know what a student is experiencing in all of her classes and to make suggestions that permit a balanced—instead of overwhelming—use of edtech.
Creating future ready students requires not just layering on new edtech on top of what a school is already doing but rather a fundamental reinvention of instructional practices. The future ready technology leader can guide teachers through this transition and provide the coaching needed to ensure that all students benefit from edtech tools.