Being a tech coach these days can be a bit daunting. Teachers were thrown into the deep end last year, and they’re still overwhelmed. Yet we know as coaches that we have to keep moving our teachers forward to help them find confidence and success with technology integration. In this blog, I’ll share ten fun ways that my team and I help our teachers grow.
Coach with Fun PD
As tech coaches, we strive to make ed tech PD enjoyable, approachable, and, most importantly– applicable! Think of all the training you attended as a teacher that was a repeat of what you’ve already learned, or even worse, it had nothing to do with your content or classroom. We never want our teachers to walk away from tech training feeling defeated or like it was a waste of their time.
- Give teachers options on what training to attend so that they are excited to be there. If they’re interested in the topic, it’s a lot easier to coach them.
- Keep your training light-hearted and approachable.
- Create a theme to tie it all together.
Each August, we host Tech Fest to kick off the school year with ed tech enthusiasm. Check it out here!
Flex Your Tech with Badging
Creating a badging program like this one has built a fun platform for us to continue to grow educators while incentivizing them with awesome prizes. We have seen so much growth from this program alone, and each year, teachers find themselves in friendly competition with their colleagues over who can earn the most badges, win a prize first, and fill up their lanyard before the rest of the school. As a coach, it’s such a fun way to reward teachers for integrating technology into their lessons while encouraging them to try new tech tools.
Breakfast for Badges
Our local Chick-fil-A has been so generous to sponsor our department and our teachers, and they’ve donated free breakfast gift cards for us to use with our staff. Breakfast for Badges changes throughout the year to keep it exciting, and we love delivering happiness in the morning. Here are examples of some Breakfast for Badges incentives:
- Earn three badges in a month
- The grade level with the most Lunch and Learn participants
- The first person to complete the Try-Athon that week
Create different badges that might help teachers smile, feel seen, or recognize their efforts outside of the official badging program.
Sometimes our teachers’ favorite badges are the ones they “unofficially earn” from a tech fail they persevered through or from finally jumping on a tech trend after everyone else tried it first.
Techie Teachers and Trophies
In the 2020 school year, we paused official badging and tried to just encourage teachers to make it through and find what worked for them. To help with that, we created the Techie Teacher nomination and trophy. Each month, teachers and students could nominate a Techie Teacher who integrated tech into their lessons. Each nominee earned a Chick-fil-A breakfast gift card, a techie teacher badge, and a certificate. And the techiest of them all earned a trophy.
We got this idea from TCEA last year, and it was so much fun! Each week during the Try-Athon, teachers had (voluntary) tasks to try, and all they had to do was try the task and report back. Since we did this in the spring around testing season, we focused on test reviews and growing your PLN. Check it out here. Thank you to Lisa McLaughlin (@limclaughlin7), Kerri Sparkman (@mstechie_2002), and Chesley Madsen (@ChelsMadsen) for sharing this idea at TCEA!
Coffee Tech Chats
Sometimes teachers just need to chat about technology without a real plan or topic in place. During the shutdown of 2020, we hosted weekly virtual coffee chats that turned out to be a hit. Teachers had space to ask questions that they’d never asked before, share ideas with other teachers, and talk about what works and doesn’t work. It created a positive community of teacher support that carried over once we came back to campus. Sometimes, we even made the chats themed or had a topic to launch the discussion.
Be a March Madness Coach
Jump into the March Madness fun with a Techie March Madness competition. Each week, teachers vote for their favorite tech tool in each bracket until we find the most loved tech tool for the entire district.
Social Media Presence
Everyone is on social media these days, and it’s a great way to reach teachers in a different way. We use our team Facebook page the most to share events we are putting on, shout out to teachers and schools doing awesome techie lessons, and so much more! We even just started a department TikTok so we can make fun ed tech-inspired videos.
Coach with Collaboration and Co-Teaching
Sometimes the simplest things are the most effective, like collaborating with your teachers and co-teaching a tech lesson when they’re trying something new. It takes the pressure off of the teacher so they can enjoy the process and walk away with a positive experience!