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: https://www.govtech.com/education/news/technology-coaches.html
Davis, E. L., & Currie, B. (2019). Tech integration comes alive through coaching. ASCD Express, 14(17). Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/ascd-express/vol14/num17/tech-integration-comes-alive-through-coaching.aspx
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: https://degree.lamar.edu/articles/education/role-of-technology-integration-specialist.aspx
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: https://digitalpromise.org/2018/08/21/instructional-technology-coaching-can-help-teachers-create-powerful-learning-experiences/