How Knowing Technologies Transformed My Instructional Approach

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Before the Technology Coaching Program, I knew little about using technology in the classroom.  My general computer skills were minimal, my understanding of the breadth of educational technology was limited, and my repertoire of instructional strategies–linked to technology–was almost non-existent.

  • I didn’t know how to use Google Calendar or, really, the Google suite of options at all.
  • Organizing my drive was a vague and cool-sounding idea, but going about it? I had no idea.
  • I couldn’t create folders, take snapshots, embed resources from the Internet, video chat, import material, bookmark a site, navigate web pages, create a video, or use any of those strange-looking icons that stared at me day after day from the bottom of my desktop.

As I began meeting one-on-one with my technology coach, he guided my learning and provided me with invaluable online tools tailored specifically for my grade level and subject matter.  Infinitely patient with my technology gaffes and “Oops!  I didn’t mean to click out of that!” moments, my coach taught me a gradually progressing, gradually more sophisticated series of computer skills that jump-started my learning.

Our meetings promoted innovation and, honestly, an entirely new way of thinking about content delivery and education.  I not only became familiar with what programs segued with my field but learned the basics of how they worked.  My newfound understanding of the ‘how’ of technology was a huge confidence builder, and when I started using a variety of online resources in my classes, I could see efficient, substantive, high quality learning happening.

The Technology Coaching Program opened up a whole new world for me.   I had no idea there were so many useful and efficient tools–like EdPuzzle or Schoology–or sites–like TedEd and NoRedInk–for integrating superior instruction into the classroom.  Suddenly, I had an exciting range of teaching options to use and could access intelligently designed, effective online material to enhance my lessons.  In short, the Technology Coaching Program transformed my classroom–and transformed my teaching.

The Technology Coaching Program was far and away the best professional development I’ve ever done: it not only opened infinite possibilities for instruction but also allowed me to experiment with online approaches to learning and reinvigorated my teaching.

Now I use fresh digital material, confidently try different instructional approaches, and have built a stronger, more robust 21st century program for my students.

Exposure to new tools has created opportunities for re-envisioned assignments, new methodologies, more forward-thinking assessments, and interactive online learning.  And if I hit a technology problem, I have the confidence to troubleshoot and work through it myself.

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Author Sarah Paff

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