Five Lessons from a
New Tech Coordinator
One of the things I’ve learned as a new technology leader is the importance of reflection to improve practice. So
along those lines, I wanted to share five things
I’ve discovered from my early experiences as
an emerging technology coordinator:
Sometimes you don’t need an app for that. In my role
as a technology coordinator, I offer professional
development (PD) for all types of educators.
One thing I’ve learned from these experiences
is the need to remind teachers, administrators, and even fellow technology leaders that it
is not about the tools. Whether I am working
with teachers or running large-scale professional learning sessions, I start by identifying
the thinking behaviors we want our students to
engage in. The conversation about the technology must be centered on the teacher’s instructional goals and student outcomes. I encourage
technology leaders to make sure to guide the
conversation back to student learning, because
when people seek out the “tech guru,” they may
lose sight of the purpose of technology.
To create this environment with your
adult learners, slow down, listen closely,
and don’t rush to solve problems for them.
Offer personalized professional learning. One
of the most rewarding aspects of my job is
learning how to identify, create, and offer
relevant PD opportunities. It’s important that
you allow teachers to weigh in on what they
want. Find out what they want to know and
their comfort level with technology, and incorporate the training into the school day, as opposed to during the lunch break, after school, or on
Be the change you want to see. It is easy for people
who work with adults to revert to instructor-centered presentations or quick click-and-get tutorials. But creating successful learning
opportunities—for young people and adults—
takes time, effort, and anticipatory problem
solving. By modeling the teaching practices
you’d like to see implemented in the classroom,
you will get one step closer to helping teachers
understand how to take their instruction and
Reflection isn’t for wimps! Self-reflection is your
key to success, and although it’s fine to reflect
privately, there is an added benefit to articulating
your thinking aloud and capturing it on video.
In my sessions, I ask participants to make video
reflections, upload them to You Tube, and then
submit them as a Google Form. Seeing and hearing themselves on video isn’t always easy, but it
does help them think deeply about their learning
and share it with others.
AS I SEE “IT”
By Caroline Haebig
Take the time to listen. After I taught my first
intensive summer PD course, two participants
approached me afterward and gave me some
advice: Even if you think you may know what
someone is thinking, you still need to let them
get their thoughts, ideas, and questions out.
Good teachers know to pause to give their students a chance to articulate their thoughts, and
this is true of adults as well as kids. Learners are
learners, no matter their age. It’s important for
them to feel safe, empowered, and encouraged.
Caroline Haebig is the
coordinator at Adlai
E. Stevenson High
School in Lincolnshire,
Illinois, USA. She was
named the ISTE Outstanding Young Educator for 2012.