Content Knowledge and Professional Growth
Evidence of Mastery of Standard VI Indicators
Below are the indicators that guide this ISTE standard and evidence supporting my mastery of these indicators.
In applying content knowledge and professional growth, technology coaches are expected to:
Engage in continual learning to deepen content and pedagogical knowledge in technology integration. In a post I wrote about peer coaching focus, I explore the value of lifelong learning for educators as new needs, such as 21st century skills, become important for students’ future success. However, it can be difficult for educators to learn the necessary skills without proper access to information and implementation practice. Peer coaching as a continued education strategy can help educators receive personalized guidance focused on areas they need for success. In order for peer coaching to be successful, I was curious to investigate where the focus of continuing education should lay upon: the teacher’s skills or the student’s learning. I looked at evidence for both sides and ultimately learned that it doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, continuing education focusing on one area helps to build the other. For example, improving an educator’s skills improves student learning, whereas implementing strategies to improve student learning also requires implementation of educator skills.
Engage in continuous learning to deepen professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions… to improve professional practice. Continuing my investigation above, I was also curious to understand how it would be possible to sustain continuous learning through the frequent use of peer coaching. Reflecting upon my own experiences as a peer coach, I wanted to extend the benefit to others. I quickly understood that without a proper system in place, peer coaching doesn’t happen organically, particularly in a higher education environment where educators tend to be more autonomous and independent. I wrote a post highlighting how to establish a peer coaching culture and learned that a coaching culture was not unique to education. Various other industries rely on coaching for continuous, relevant learning. What I’ve learned is that though there are several barriers to establishing a peer coaching culture, when the entire institution dedicates time, energy, and resources to changing the culture, there are big impacts on teaching and learning.
Regularly evaluate and reflect on their professional practice and dispositions to improve and strengthen…digital age best practices in teaching, learning, and assessment. I find it interesting that throughout my journey in this masters program, reflection has held a silent yet integral role in teaching and learning. Though I have not specifically investigated reflection as part of a technology coach’s role, I mention reflection in some aspect in over ten posts in this site. An overview of what I’ve learned about the importance of self-reflection can be found here.
Not only did I learn about the importance reflection in teaching and learning, I also engaged in it after each major project. Below is a summary of my personal reflections throughout this masters program:
- In writing the “Digital Education Leadership Mission Statement” reflection helped me organize my thoughts on the ideals of digital citizenship that were important to me to shape my work as a technology coach. Re-reading and reflecting upon this mission statement has also allowed me to review and reflect upon my past goals and apply more realistic understanding of the ideals. This reflection is offered in ISTE indicators 5A) & 5B).
- Developing a professional development session was an interesting experience. In the “Developing Professional Development as Part of the Community Engagement Project” post, I reflected back on the challenges of trying to create a technology-rich experience without first understanding the needs of my target audience. The difficulty was compounded by the fact that the chosen topic required ample background information before implementation could be delivered. This professional development plan was later selected for a Dietetic Conference, where I encountered these challenges in real-life. By having first reflected upon my past experience with professional development, I began to seek out evidence-based models that would help me overcome these challenges. More information about the outcome of this process is explored in ISTE indicator 2B).
- After learning about professional development, I embarked on a different type of continuing education by becoming a peer coach to a colleague of mine that wanted to incorporate technology in her classroom. Embarking on my own peer-coaching experience, I had the opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge on peer coaching best practices. I learned through that experience that establishing good rapport and crystal clear communication promotes a better outcome for both peers. More details on this experience can be found in ISTE indicator 1D).
- Lastly, in one of the first community engagement projects conducted for this Masters, I re-created a lesson unit for my research class. As I reflect back on the backward design process, I learned that my original approach to the class was based solely off of what was historically offered but not necessarily in line with the learning outcomes nor student learning needs. In using this evidence-based approach, as highlighted in ISTE indicator 2F), I was able to achieve better learning outcome success.