Planning for Technology Integration

When working with teachers, technology coaches should keep their professional development offerings engaging while focusing on providing support to teachers with respect to how technology can support learning goals in the classroom. While many strategies exist to increase the engagement during professional development, gamification represents a current strategy used by classroom teachers and can be used by technology coaches for professional development. Gamification incorporates positive gaming elements, such as personalization and achievement systems, in the design of a class or course. Using a gamified environment with recognition and awards can lead to more positive teacher experiences in the professional development sessions. Teachers who participated in a gamified course reported enjoying the gaming elements, including receiving badges and awards in recognition of their work. These teachers reported that the course motivated them to learn due to their ability to tailor the experience to their own needs based upon the gaming pathways. Months after the conclusion of the course, participants reported still making use of many of the skills and concepts they learned during the course in their own classrooms (Kopcha, Ding, Neumann, & Choi, 2016).

As with lesson planning of any type, the usage of standards to align lesson content with student learning goals is essential. Technology integration is no different and, as such, technology standards are available for technology coaches and teachers to use in lesson planning. These standards include general statements about the usage of technology and how that technology should better prepare students to participate in an increasingly connected world (International Society for Technology in Education, n.d.) but offer little assistance to teachers on how to appropriately measure the effectiveness of any technologies used in the classroom.

Models. The usage of a model for technology integration can provide technology coaches an effective method for supporting teachers wishing to integrate technology to support student outcomes. Technology coaches and teachers have a wide variety of technology integration models from which to choose. These models provide an overview for connecting technology with lessons and evaluating instructional technology applications. Two popular models for technology integration are the Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition (SAMR) model and the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) framework (Hilton, 2016). The SAMR model offers a tiered approach to measuring classroom tasks involving technology while the TPACK framework focuses on the integration of content knowledge and pedagogical knowledge.

Issues with popular models. However, current technology integration models have little to offer in the way of theoretical understanding of how to interpret the models while also neglecting to offer a way to apply the models in the classroom setting (Hamilton, Rosenberg, & Akcaoglu, 2016). Furthermore, current technology integration models like SAMR and TPACK offer little assistance in critically analyzing the usage of technology in the development of higher order thinking skills (McLeod & Graber, 2019, p. 11), an essential component in the current educational environment that is moving away from low-level tasks such as rote memorization of facts and figures.

With many technology integration models available, the selection and usage of a particular model can enhance the relationship between a classroom teacher and the school or district technology coach, along with providing a structure for choosing the appropriate technology to use during a lesson (Hilton, 2016). However, the usage of a model for integrating technology is only one factor that contributes to the successful integration of technology into a lesson. Appropriately evaluating the technology used in a classroom with regard to student learning outcomes and higher order thinking tasks is essential to advance the appropriate use of technology in the classroom. The 4 Shifts Protocol provides a pathway to align technology integration based upon one of the relevant models with educational goals that are specific to a teacher’s local context.

The 4 Shifts Protocol. When integrating technology into the classroom, many teachers simply replicate the types of tasks traditionally completed using pencil and paper with any number of technology tools. When students use costly technology tools for low-level cognitive tasks, concerns and questions raised by parents, community members, and the local school board about the effectiveness of these tools and the cost of the investments necessary to purchase them are often difficult to answer (McLeod & Graber, 2019, p. 5). The 4 Shifts Protocol, unlike SAMR and TPACK that are conceptual frameworks for technology integration, provides a pathway for teachers to analyze the types of tasks students are completing in classes with concrete look-fors that aid in moving student work from low-level cognitive activities to deeper learning experiences with connections to the world outside the walls of the classroom. The protocol focuses on four areas: (1) deeper thinking and learning, (2) authentic work, (3) student agency and personalization, and (4) technology integration (McLeod & Graber, 2019). The technology used as part of the fourth area provides support to the other three areas and can provide for the creation of deeper learning experiences for students.


Hamilton, E., Rosenberg, J., & Akcaoglu, M. (2016). The substitution augmentation modification redefinition (SAMR) model: A critical review and suggestions for its use. TechTrends: Linking Research & Practice to Improve Learning, 60(5), 433–441.

Hilton, J. T. (2016). A case study of the application of SAMR and TPACK for reflection on technology integration into two Social Studies classrooms. The Social Studies, 107(2), 68–73.

International Society for Technology in Education. (n.d.). ISTE standards for students. Retrieved July 22, 2019, from

Kopcha, T., Ding, L., Neumann, K., & Choi, I. (2016). Teaching technology integration to K-12 educators: A “gamified” approach. TechTrends: Linking Research & Practice to Improve Learning, 60(1), 62–69.

McLeod, S., & Graber, J. (2019). Harnessing technology for deeper learning. Solution Tree Press.

The Need for Technology Integration Coaching

While teachers and school leaders understand how integrating technology can introduce new and exciting possibilities in the classroom, without purposeful technology integration coaching, those efforts to integrate technology often lead to underwhelming results (Davis & Currie, 2019) . Rapid changes in classroom technology define the need for ongoing support and training for teachers, specifically in the areas of leveraging classroom technology to create deeper learning experiences for students. School districts nationwide have begun employing technology coaches to work with teachers in the classroom, not merely as technology trainers but as instructional coaches who help teachers craft lesson plans and engaging student activities with the use of technology (Bentley, 2017).

Technology integration coaches, also referred to as instructional technology coordinators or digital learning coaches, are individuals who are passionate about the use of technology in education but also about leading organizational change in education as the profession delves more deeply into the usage of technology in the classroom (Lamar University Online, n.d.). Providing ongoing technology support and mentoring has been shown to provide higher quality outcomes in technology integration when paired with a technology integration model. However, the usage of a particular model should be based upon its effectiveness in the teacher’s local setting, not necessarily because the model has been widely used by others (Kimmons & Hall, 2018).

The technology integration coach acts as a mentor to the classroom teacher who provides a framework for technology integration, along with teaching materials, technology support, and encouragement for the expanded use of technology in the classroom (Gökoğlu & Çakıroğlu, 2017). Technology coaches should be able to identify teachers who can act as informal technology opinion leaders in their respective schools. After working with a technology coach, these opinion leaders become more willing to model technology integration in other classrooms, share their lessons, and train other teachers. These opinion leaders are able to quickly expand the usage of technology in a school and aid in building a culture of innovation, providing new learning opportunities for students (Masullo, 2017).

The role of the technology coach is not to introduce radical new learning goals to teachers and force students to use a certain popular technology that may or may not be relevant in the near future but to work with the classroom teacher to meet students’ needs and support the learning goals of the classroom, providing support to teachers and students alike (Sheehy & Ceballos, 2018). Successful cases of technology integration revolve around using a curriculum project with intentional technology usage, providing positive experiences for the classroom teacher and leading to greater content knowledge and how to best integrate technology in future lessons (Allan, Erickson, Brookhouse, & Johnson, 2010).


Allan, W. C., Erickson, J. L., Brookhouse, P., & Johnson, J. L. (2010). Teacher professional development through a collaborative curriculum project—An example of TPACK in Maine. TechTrends: Linking Research & Practice to Improve Learning, 54(6), 36–43.

Bentley, K. (2017, February 22). How school districts can adopt the technology coach model. Retrieved from Center for Digital Education website:

Davis, E. L., & Currie, B. (2019). Tech integration comes alive through coaching. ASCD Express, 14(17). Retrieved from

Gökoğlu, S., & Çakıroğlu, Ü. (2017). Determining the roles of mentors in the teachers’ use of technology: Implementation of systems-based mentoring model. Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice, 17(1), 191–215.

Kimmons, R., & Hall, C. (2018). How useful are our models? Pre-service and practicing teacher evaluations of technology integration models. TechTrends: Linking Research & Practice to Improve Learning, 62(1), 29–36.

Lamar University Online. (n.d.). What is the role of a technology integration specialist? Retrieved July 21, 2019, from Lamar University website:

Masullo, C. (2017). Change agents and opinion leaders: Integration of classroom technology. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 18(3), 57–71.

Sheehy, K., & Ceballos, L. (2018, August 21). How instructional technology coaching can help teachers create powerful learning experiences. Retrieved from Digital Promise website:

The Coach Approach to School Leadership – Summary

I just finished a great book that is perfect for anyone in school leadership. From principals to instructional coaches, the strategies is this book are practical and backed by research. I’ve put together a summary for The Coach Approach to School Leadership review that I hope will give you an idea of what you can find in the book.

If you’re looking for ideas to improve the culture in your building while supporting teachers as a coach rather than a judge, this book is for you.


Principals often find themselves balancing between the role of an evaluator of teachers and a coach for teachers. Throughout the course of this book, the authors offer numerous tools to assist principals in becoming a transformational leader who supports teacher through innovative coaching techniques derived from instructional coaching practices.

Practical solutions to common issues of building relationships, time management, offering feedback, developing teachers skills, and building a cohesive team are provided by the authors to assist principals in their efforts to become an effective coach.

Hero Maker: Reframing the Principal’s Role

Teachers are the heroes in schools. When thinking about the role of the principal, they are the hero makers. They are the supporting players, nurturing a culture of professional collaboration and coaching across the entire school. Effective principal coaches help teachers discover the qualities that make them great teachers and support them in their professional practice. Principal coaches focus on activities that enhance their schools’ community and quality of learning.

Putting On Your Coach’s Hat

Good coaches spend much of their time providing feedback to the players on their team. As the head coach of a school, effective principals spend time with teachers in the classroom outside of the required visits for evaluation.

Getting out of the office and visiting classrooms can help build collegial relationships with teachers and allows the principal to stay in touch with what is happening in the school.

Classroom visits and conversations that are non-judgmental give principals the opportunity to wear the coach hat more often than the evaluator hat and provide meaningful feedback to teachers.

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Building Successful Coaching Relationships

Effective leaders are effective influencers with their teams. If a principal can build quality relationships with teachers, they can influence those teachers and the work done as a team daily by powering with them rather than powering over them.

Relationships between principals and teachers can be the most rewarding in schools when the principal, as coach, is fully invested in the success of their teachers.

Giving Feedback to Increase Effectiveness

While feedback from principals can be one of the top influences on student achievement, the quality of the feedback must focus on progress toward challenging goals with clear criteria for success in order to be effective.

Feedback is not advice, praise, or evaluation but information about how progress is being made toward a goal set by the teacher in conjunction with the principal. As a coach, listening to teachers more than speaking when providing feedback will empower them to take ownership of their own professional development.

Time: Managing Your Most Precious Resource

Leaders who consistently overcommit their time can quickly lose the trust of their teams. Mastering a schedule that includes time for formal and informal observations, office work, and providing feedback to teachers throughout the day can help principals reclaim their time.

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Rethinking open door polices that, on the surface, seem to foster relationship building, can allow principals to better serve their teachers and support them with dedicated time and focus.

Transforming Your School into a Team

More than 50% of teachers in the United States claim to have never seen a colleague teach (p. 137). Getting teachers into other classrooms can aid in transitioning the team of teachers from a loosely-aligned group of independent practitioners to a cohesive team.

Developing this team requires courage from every member to be open to providing non-judgmental feedback to one another and reflecting on their own practice. Developing this cohesive team can lead to improved outcomes for students and greater professional development opportunities for teachers.