Knowing Technologies was founded in 2008 to provide network technology services and infrastructure support for independent schools in California, including wifi, firewalls, information security, and backup and disaster recovery plans. As we helped clients build more robust and reliable network systems, we discovered that many of our schools also had a need for more meaningful instructional support.
Traditional professional development for educators typically consists of off-site workshops and conferences offering little, if any, follow-up training, dialogue, or in-classroom support. In the weeks and months following these sorts of “one-size-fits-all” learning experiences, newfound ideas, skills, and tools lose context and relevance, leading to stagnation and disinterest.
We launched our instructional technology program to solve these problems. Led by a versatile and experienced coaching team, we created a flexible and personalized instructional coaching model that meets schools and their teachers where they are. Our program begins with the school’s mission and educational philosophy, based on the belief that instruction should drive technology use—not the other way around. We then work with our schools to select teachers who have volunteered to become a part of their school’s cohort for the academic year. With them, we develop a customized action plan with measurable goals and instructional objectives that are informed by current trends in educational technology, as well as nationally and state-recognized technology standards.
In weekly face-to-face meetings with individual cohort members, their goals drive collaboration with coaches to develop new and engaging learning experiences for students. In turn, cohort members lead their own quarterly demonstrations for their communities that showcase what they have learned in the program. At the end of the year, participants collect their work in professional digital portfolios for reflection on their growth experiences.
Our coaches are former distinguished classroom teachers and administrators who have participated in the Apple Distinguished Educator, CUE Rockstar Teacher, and Google Certified Educator and Innovator programs. And all of them have ample experience working with other educators.
In the 2018-19 academic year, Knowing Technologies will launch its fourth round of instructional coaching cohorts and now supports more than a dozen schools and over 100 alumni within the program (including the Santa Catalina school above). Many of them have also become mentors to subsequent cohorts and even the next instructional technology leaders within their schools.