Is technology truly embedded into classroom practice? It has been a goal of tech integrationists for years and we have made tremendous progress towards it. But how can we make the next step? How can we help support educators to truly harness technology in order to deepen student understanding?
This was a question we have been discussing at Zurich International School for a while now. This year we have been running a prototype simply called “Coaching” to explore alternative ways to help address this question.
As a starting point we explored the literature on instructional coaching. From there we decided to prototype the “Student Centred Coaching model” developed by Diane Sweeney (see below for links to her books and resources). We really connected with this style of coaching because it explores not just the teaching strategies we use but also looks at the impact of these choices on student learning.
To say that this initial prototype was a success would be an understatement. It has been amazing to see the depth of professional dialogue, witness the professional growth and obverse the positive impact on student learning. The teachers involved in the prototype describe it as the best PD they have been involved in.
The teachers were able to identify a real area of student need, we identified where the students were at, we then tried a range of strategies to help students progress and we wrapped things up by checking where the students ended up as. Best of all, from a tech perspective, the discussion was never about the technology, instead it was about student learning. When we used technology it was truly embedded into the learning experience and helped to deepen student understanding.
Of course we can’t get carried away with these initial findings but there is a lot of promise here. We will let you know how things develop.