A new report from Digital Promise shows the way many teachers across the United States are trying to get acquainted with online teaching: education technology coaches. Their survey showed that most edtech coaches were used by teachers more as a resource during the 2019-2020 school year closures. Helping teachers adapt their teaching plans and content to make digital learning equal for all students was one of the biggest challenges for coaches a few months ago. The role of many coaches have been expanding beyond just technology, too; they advised administrators on how to lower teacher stress and foster the learning atmosphere in homes. They have grown to be indispensable in this time of uncertainty and rapid adjustment.
Let’s take a deeper look into the report’s statistics to see what we can glean from its graphs and numbers. 37% of all teachers (n=148) are not at all/slightly prepared to teach in an online environment. Over 75% of edtech coaches significantly focus on providing PD on remote learning transitioning to teachers or implementing an LMS to organize online instruction. The amount of teachers requiring help drastically increased, making it so that up to 59% of coaches had to stop or reduce 1-on-1 sessions. Getting the right tools in front of teachers is a priority, whether it be Zoom, Google Meet or Microsoft Teams. They also have been extending their services to families in need, with 60% saying they often or occasionally do. Half of coaches even significantly expect to co-teach/model a tech lesson with their teachers! These figures just go to show how important and involved edtech coaches are becoming.
What themes can we get from the Digital Promise’s findings? First, school districts are appreciating more than ever the value that coaches provide. As they are utilized by more and more teachers, the standard role that a coach plays will evolve and morph into something new. It appears that “something new” will be a more directly involved role in the classroom (physical or digital), from co-teaching a lesson to meeting for reflection after watching a teacher give a lesson.
Lastly, “deep coaching,” or 1-on-1 sessions, are declining relative to larger-capacity trainings/sessions. More teachers combined with a static number of coaches means that there is a dearth of coaching opportunities available. They can’t serve everyone who needs them in the same capacity that they did pre-COVID. This translates to larger sessions that can get everyone at least marginal solutions to their pressing problems of optimizing their teaching content for the remote era.
Translate to Action
Also consider how Forward Edge could get your school what they need: more time with an edtech coach. Not only can our technology integration coach give your district access to our decades of experience, but as a recommended Google partner, Forward Edge can even mentor your current edtech coach as they become a Google-certified Coach. We have a variety of options available here. Even though the role of coaches may be changing and expanding, Forward Edge is always available to help your district keep up with the latest education technology trends. Call Forward Edge at (513) 761-3343 or visit our website to take action on improving your school district coaching!