A desktop whiteboard says "Coaching"

Coaching Tech Integration: Implications for Teacher Preparation

Author: James Rujimora

Teacher preparation faculty, school personnel, and school administrators are looking for effective ways to develop capacity and build technology skills of teachers to meet their student needs. One potential solution to this could be coaching technology integration in classrooms. Although not a new idea, a recent study in Teacher and Teacher Education provides insight into how technology integration can support teacher technological skills and student learning through technology coaching in elementary schools. It found that coaching activities through modeling and hands-on activities were supportive of technology integration. Based on the study, this blog post summarizes several effective coaching strategies and offers implications for coaching preservice teachers in preparation programs.

Coaching and Coaching Activities

For effective integration of technology, sustainable professional development (i.e., coaching) is needed, which includes three components: sustainment, situated, and personalized. In practice, an effective coach is someone who meets with teachers for three to four weeks, utilizes the teacher’s classroom to demonstrate how technology could be used and provides a supportive and personalized approach to teacher learning needs. Then coach and teacher can develop goals, and the coach facilitates these goals through activities (e.g., on-site meetings, in-class modeling sessions- and after-school tutorials for technical skills).

Do teachers adopt technology coaching and therefore integrate technology into their practices? Generally, yes. Teachers found that when coaching was personalized (e.g., teacher check-ins), they were more likely to incorporate technology in their classrooms. It was in these check-ins that coaches were able to demonstrate instruction and techniques (i.e., modeling and hands-on approaches) for technology integration. Another benefit of coaching is to validate any frustrations or anxieties by teachers, and then teachers and coaches can co-design solutions to emergent challenges in practices.

Three strategies to coach technology integration

For teacher preparation programs and pre-service educators, the authors recommended three ways to integrate technology via coaching:

  • Assessing teacher’s value of technology use by asking questions such as “What use would technology bring to your classroom?”
  • Understanding teachers’ viewpoints in subject areas provided by coaching support such as modeling, observation, and lesson planning
  • Adopting a pedagogy-focused mindset to highlight the value and importance of “learning first and technology second”

What does this mean to teacher preparation?

This study reflects a need for better teacher preparation where teacher educators can model technology integration. The three strategies can be modified and implemented in teacher preparation programs. When thinking about pre-service teachers in special education, early childhood, or related services, here is what we can try:

  • Asking them what value of technology use they’d like to bring to support their students with diverse learning needs
  • Create course activities where you can provide individualized coaching on technology use in specific subject areas
  • Integrating innovations (e.g., simulated, scenario-based learning tools) to coach technology use. Check on this blog post for multiple tips and tools for integrating scenario-based learning into teacher preparation.

What strategies have you used to model technology use? Visit the CIDDL Community to see what technology and strategies have been shared. Feel free to share your experiences and observations as well.