Constructor Lab
Leadership Summit
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

Major Improvement Using Tech: Activities for Coaches and Teachers

Participate and share

Participate and share : Interactive lecture

Wednesday, June 26, 10:00–11:00 am
Location: Ballroom B: Level 3 (access from escalators in Registration area in Grand Hall on Level 2)

Rushton Hurley  
Helping others (or yourself) become a better teacher is about little things - the ideas, tools, and discussions that allow seeing oneself in new ways. We'll do activities designed to change thinking and sense of possibility. This session proves that fun and intellectual excellence can go hand-in-hand!

Audience: Coaches, Teachers, Professional developers
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Only internet access and a browser are required.
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Communication and collaboration
ISTE Standards: For Coaches:
Teaching, Learning and Assessments
  • Coach teachers in and model design and implementation of technology-enhanced learning experiences using differentiation, including adjusting content, process, product and learning environment based on student readiness levels, learning styles, interests and personal goals.
  • Coach teachers in and model design and implementation of technology-enhanced learning experiences emphasizing creativity, higher-order thinking skills and processes, and mental habits of mind (such as critical thinking, metacognition and self-regulation).
For Educators:
  • Set professional learning goals to explore and apply pedagogical approaches made possible by technology and reflect on their effectiveness.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Although as teachers we regularly ask students to see and act upon their possibilities for improving, many of us find it difficult to take time to try ideas that seem out of our comfort zones. In this session, we will explore a variety of approaches to strengthening rapport with students, making assignments and assessments more engaging and effective, improving our delivery as both instructors and guides, and working collaboratively with colleagues near and far.

The session will begin with philosophical foundations to help coaches and teachers tie how we think about getting better to that which teachers find personally and professionally satisfying. Attendees will have the chance to engage with others on the topics that are most pressing to them.

The main part of the session will cover concrete and creative techniques and activities for improving how students see teachers via discussions of communication techniques (uses of images and voice), effective use of time (developing ready-to-go activities together), consistency in evaluation (reflections on attendees' practices with assignments), and approaches to improving going forwards (creating one's own PD opportunities, and shifting from attending to presenting at local and regional conferences).

Attendees will explore and leave with ideas regarding:

* Approaches to helping colleagues see new possibilities,
* Avoiding common communications problems that make it difficult for students to connect with a teacher,
* Simple techniques for getting students to provide more fascinating work,
* Shifting questioning techniques from the commonly counterproductive to what can be encouraging and intriguing, and
* Less common professional development opportunities in-person and digitally.

In the final portion of the session, the group will also look at ways that a teacher can use successful student learning activities to garner new support from within the community.

Attendees will have time to ask questions and will be shown how to share these ideas with colleagues not attending the conference.


* Introduction (15 min): setting the stage and discussion of the idea of improvement (participants will contribute ideas via a chat tool)
* Rapport, Evaluation, and Delivery (25 min): looking at rapport and demeanor alongside practices with assignments and assessment (participants will discuss and design simple activities using collaborative tools)
* Collegiality and Professionalism (10 min): seeing the variety of PD opportunities, free/informal and formal, and moving toward becoming an educator who shares ideas with colleagues near and far (participants will see how to use tools for feedback, brainstorming, and networking)
* Finish (10 min): choosing a path going forward (participants will set goals for what to try and with whom); Q&A with remaining time

Supporting research

* Traditional notions of in-service training or dissemination need to be replaced by opportunities for ‘knowledge sharing’ based in real situations. (Darling-Hammond, L. and McLaughlin, M. W., Policies that Support Professional Development in an Era of Reform, Phi Delta Kappan, 1995, 76(8) pp 597–604)

* "Surveys consistently show that teachers are interested in technology, but need increased opportunities to develop their capacities." (Cradler, J., Freeman, M., Cradler, R., and McNabb, M. (Sept., 2002). Research Implications for Preparing Teachers to Use Technology; Learning and Leading with Technology, ISTE)

* "If technology is to be used by students, then teachers must possess the confidence, understanding, and skills to effectively incorporate technology into their teaching practices." (Winter, 1997). What Research Says: Training Teachers for Using Technology; Journal of Staff Development, National Staff Development Council)

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Rushton Hurley, Next Vista for Learning

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