Technology Coordinator as Coach 1
Running Head: TECHNOLOGY COORDINATOR AS COACH
The Role of Technology Coordinator as Coach:
The Impact on Teaching Practices and Student Performance
Technology Coordinator as Coach 2
The purpose of this paper is to look at the role of the coach and its impact on teaching
practices and student achievement. The characteristics and general responsibilities of the coach
will be identified. Technology integration through job embedded professional development will
be emphasized as a major component. An assortment of coaching models through past research
and existing programs will be reviewed. Finally, specific outcomes of the existing programs and
research will be discussed.
Technology Coordinator as Coach 3
The Role of Technology Coordinator as Coach:
The Impact on Teaching Practices and Student Performance
Technology leaders are faced with many challenges on a daily basis. One of the most
important roles is to maintain the infrastructure and equipment to allow equitable access to all
schools in the district. The technology coordinator prepares budgets and shares responsibility of
creating a strategic plan with various stakeholders in the district. One of the most significant
roles of the technology coordinator is integrating technology into the curriculum.
Technology integration is a vital component in the 21st century learning environment.
Numerous theories have been researched and have proven various learning styles and multiple
intelligences do exist. Technology provides opportunities to the learners which are not possible
through other models of learning. It allows educators to individualize work with flexible media
and tools (Rose & Meyer, 2002). This strengthens the support for integrating technology into
the standards-based curriculum. Technology can simplify the learning process through
recognition of diverse needs.
According to Statham and Torell (1999), however, a survey in 1995 of elementary
teachers revealed that schools used technology primarily to improve basic skills, rather than
integrating it into the curriculum. They also reported that only nineteen percent of English
classes, six to seven percent of mathematics classes, and three percent of social studies classes in
high school integrated technologies into learning. In a survey of public school teachers
conducted by the US Department of Education, only one-third of the teachers reported feeling
well prepared or very well prepared to use computers and the Internet for classroom instruction
(Department of Education, 2000). These statistical figures represent the need for effective
integration of technology into the standards-based curriculum to meet the growing needs of our
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students. The 21st century is here and our schools must address the changes we see in our
society. Our educational institutions have to adapt and modify teaching methods to meet the
needs of our learners. If we fail to recognize this need, we will create a society that is unable to
compete in our global society.
Technology coordinators assist in creating the vision of the district. This vision should
address the teaching and learning we expect to see in our future classrooms. Integrating
technology into the curriculum is one of the top priorities of this section. Technology
coordinators can directly impact instruction through job-embedded professional development or
coaching. Coaching relies on direct communication and collaboration with the technology
coordinator and the educators. The technology coordinator acts as coach and works with various
educators to effectively integrate technology into the curriculum. The coach is usually a
colleague and does not have administrative duties. This strengthens the bond between the coach
and educator so a nonthreatening working environment is shaped.
The purpose of this paper is to identify the position of the coach and its impact on
teaching practices and student achievement. Technology coordinators play an intimate role in
restructuring the learning environment. The National Education Technology Plan (2004) states
public schools that do not adapt to the technology needs of students risk become increasingly
irrelevant. Students will seek other options. These options are not identified but are assumed to
hold a negative connotation for the public school system. Implementing a coach to assist in the
integration of technology into the curriculum supports best practices in professional development
and instruction. Student achievement will improve when the learning environment is enhanced.
What is a technology coach? A technology coach guides teachers in the use and
integration of technology in their respective classrooms (Sugar, 2005). The coach is trained to
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work with persons with varying levels of ability in technology. There is no “one size fits all”
model when it comes to the coaching experience. Each teacher case has specific needs and
requests to improve student achievement. The coach works with educators toward these
individual goals. Job-embedded professional development, workshops, reflection sessions and
continuous research to support best practices are all important aspects of the day for the coach.
Not unlike any position within the technology department, the coach position holds a
variety of undefined roles. One unofficial coach blogged how his responsibilities in his district
vary with a coach from another school. He identified five areas of responsibility: coaching,
organizing, managing, professional development and technical support (sp@rcOz5.0, 2008).
Although he did not elaborate on specific duties, he did mention the continued success of the
Smith (2000) states technology coaches take on an assortment of roles in this coach-
teacher relationship, including reviewer, director, monitor, facilitator and evaluator. All research
and coach testimonials point to the role of collaborator and communicator as the most important
role of the coach. It is apparent that an ideal technology coach doesn’t need to possess technical
skills as much that an ideal technology coach would need to possess people skills. This
empathetic and supportive relationship, ability to have patience, and ability to describe
technology terminology in a nonthreatening way are all factors in helping teachers overcome
effective domain barriers, such as lack of confidence (Sugar, 2005).
When a district develops a shared vision, they must incorporate strong leadership as a
main component. In today’s standards-based education, leaders must have a deeper involvement
in the core technology of teaching and learning, carry sophisticated views of professional
development, and emphasize the use of data to make decisions (King, 2002). Leaders should
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act as role models for fellow employees and encourage innovative instruction that embraces best
practices. Coaches ought to possess all of these qualities and present them to their colleagues in a
laissez-faire manner. In addition, coaches need to meet regularly with administrators to bridge
the communication barriers that may exist. Building collaboration is strengthened when there is
effective and consistent communication interdepartmentally.
Professional development has been identified as one of the factors that should be
involved in leadership responsibilities. The National Staff Development Council (NSDC)
Standards for Staff Development (2001) affirm that distributed leadership roles, or coaches,
should make certain that their colleagues have the necessary knowledge and skills that ensure
success. NSDC states staff development must be results driven, standards based and job
embedded (Hall, 2005). Most professional development occurs before or after school, in the
summer months or outside the classroom during the school year. Traditional workshops do not
have immediate feedback and reflection. The coach provides job-embedded professional
Technology Coordinators may have a difficult time allocating funds and time for
professional development. Mt. Lebanon School District in Pittsburgh, PA, partnered with
Duquesne University to implement a highly effective job-embedded professional development
program for their teachers. Duquesne students in the instructional technology program fulfilled a
required internship while improving classroom instruction through technology integration at Mt.
Lebanon. Teachers got training and support in the classroom, where it was needed most, and
were able to implement their vision (Owens, 2009). While both parties benefit from this
partnership, the students reap the rewards, as well. This program is a valuable model which
reiterates the vision provided by the National Technology Plan.
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In Arizona, one-and-done workshops are a thing of the past, replaced by ongoing
professional development that enables teachers to use classroom technology to full effect
(Poplin, 2007). The State of Arizona has adopted NSDC standards and offers professional
development through peer coaching, classroom observations and technology integration
specialists. In addition, some parts of the state use the Generation Yes approach where students
assist in training teachers to use technology (www.genyes.org). Overall, all of the programs
mentioned haven proven to be successful and aid in the development of professional learning
communities in Arizona.
A similar program is in effect in Tennessee. The coaches meet with teachers before and
after school, but they also provide classroom assistance during the school day. The state of
Tennessee is working closely with K-12 schools to develop a lesson plan library which addresses
state and ISTE standards for students. They are hoping to find a way to assess students’
technology literacy (Cooley, 2004). Also, they hope to enhance professional development and
integrate technology into the standards-based curriculum. Fisher (2004) announced their grant
implementation process has empowered teachers, promoted shared leadership, demanded
attentive listening and emphasized teamwork. The project is not really about adding computers.
It is about changing instructional strategies to effectively meet the needs of students in today’s
Virginia began to implement changes at the state level when No Child Left Behind
(NCLB) and Enhancing Education Through Technology were implemented. They hoped to
infuse technology into the curriculum to improve communication, task efficiency, data-driven
decision making, instruction, and ultimately, student performance (Coffman, 2009). In order to
meet their goals, they hired an Instructional technology resource teacher (ITRT) and a
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technology support staff person at every school. The ITRT acts as coach in this program
offering professional development opportunities before, during and after school. The ITRT
assists in curriculum development and boosts collaborative efforts within the learning
community. A study conducted in 2007 by the Virginia Department of Education’s Office of
Educational Technology found that classroom technology use has indeed increased since the
introduction of the ITRT program, and teachers are beginning to collaborate more with ITRTs on
a continuous and ongoing basis. They also found major improvements in 32% of the subject
areas tested by Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) tests, the most dramatic was in English
reading (Coffman, 2009).
In Pennsylvania, Classrooms for the Future (CFF) Coaches witness changes in
instructional strategies every day. This initiative was implemented at the high school level with
hopes to transform the educational process to ensure future success in this global society for our
students. The CFF Grant also provides technology equipment for teachers and students and
online professional development courses that address 21st century skills and strategies for the
The CFF Coaches participate in job embedded professional development concentrating
on integration of technology into the standards-based curriculum. CFF Coaches stress the
importance of technology as it relates to curriculum. The coaches examine the curriculum and
standards and then integrate technology appropriately. Groller (CDW-G, 2009) points out that
their technology program is part of curriculum and instruction because technology should be
seamlessly integrated into the curriculum as a means and not an end.
CFF is now ending its third cohort in the state of Pennsylvania. Peck, Clausen, Vilberg,
Meidl, and Murray (2008) found significant changes in teaching activity, student activity, teacher
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attitudes and student attitudes after the second year of implementation. Data was collected
through surveys and interviews with students, teachers and administrators who participated with
the grant. The data results showed basic physical organization of the classrooms changed.
Teachers and students opted to use tables or groups of desks as opposed to desks in rows.
Students engaged in more project-based learning as opposed to basic quizzes and tests for
assessment. Observations showed more time with individual and groups of students instead of
lectures. There was a significant increase in 21st century skills and project-based and authentic
learning. In addition, CFF students did outperform the control group in elaboration, resistance to
premature closure, use of sources and body language in class activities and assessment.
From the research, it is quite evident that Pennsylvania students are clearly using 21st
century skills. With the help of the coach and through job-embedded professional development,
teachers are comfortable integrating technology into the curriculum. Reports also indicate a
decrease in disciplinary problems and time off task. Teachers’ expectations are higher and they
believe the quality of education is better. Peck et al. (2008) found seventy-six percent of the
teachers believe the coach is valuable or very valuable in the success of CFF.
A program similar to CFF was studied to investigate the benefits of the technology
coach. A four-month pilot consisting of a group of heterogeneous high school teachers was put
into place. A technology coach met weekly with the teachers in the pilot. The coach was
instructed to individualize each coach meeting in an empathetic manner. Data was collected via
surveys midway, at the end of the program and seven months after the program. The surveys
collected data about the effectiveness of the technology coach project.
During the project, the coach worked directly with the teachers on an individual basis
both outside of the classroom and within the classroom. The coach remained compassionate in
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his efforts to integrate technology effectively for each teacher. Of the 50 technology coach
projects the teachers completed, the teachers rated 94% of these projects either effective or very
effective (Sugar, 2005). All teachers and administrators who participated or observed this pilot
program felt the program should continue.
Districts that do not have state initiatives or grant studies to assist them in a model may
want to consider a peer coaching program. Microsoft sponsors a 10 session program that spans
one year. It involves administrators, coaches and teachers in the process. The process is very
similar to developing a technology plan for your district. It involves district goals, research and
needs, implementation through professional development, and reflection to adjust the plan as
The Peer Coaching Program stresses the importance of job-embedded, on-going
professional support. Coaches can help build new strategies and skills by encouraging reflection
and analysis of teaching practices, fostering collaboration among teachers throughout the school
building, utilizing the school’s teacher leaders, providing on-going professional development and
providing opportunities for professional growth for their colleagues based on their experiences
with integrating technology (Microsoft Peer Coaching Program, 2004).
Microsoft suggests three separate models for coaching: part-time, grade
level/departmental or library media specialist. Districts are encouraged to choose the model that
best suits their needs. Microsoft does not offer grants or scholarships to districts. It is important
to note this program must be purchased by the district. This program is available online and does
provide an adequate framework to develop a technology coach program if a district is in need.
After reviewing a variety of research on this topic, it seems possible the technology coach
may have an impact on teaching practices and student performance. It is certain that job-
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embedded professional development is essential for successful technology integration (Sugar,
2005). Teachers can apply the knowledge learned to lessons that are taking place. This type of
hands-on learning mimics what we want to see taking place in our 21st century classrooms.
Additional research should be completed to support findings of student achievement.
Researchers need to look at how the coaches influence the instruction. For instance, what
models of instruction are they using when they integrate the technology? Are technology
standards being addressed in the lessons? Researchers should also look at the roles of the coach.
How do districts utilize the coach? Is there training procedures in place? Do they concentrate on
instruction and curriculum or technology related issues? How much time is spent on the
different roles of the coach? For instance, how much time does a coach spend engaged in
This course has helped me realize the magnitude of the Technology Coordinator.
Teaching and learning is just one component of this job. Concentrating on technology
integration can be quite time-consuming. The research for this paper offers some reasonable
ideas that can assist a technology coordinator with the enormous amount of responsibilities that
fall under this topic.
In conclusion, the coach acts as an integral part of a learning community. The
technology coach acts as a change agent in the education process. This person should facilitate
change in an individualized manner that promotes self growth and confidence. Communication
and collaboration will lead our educators into the 21st century. Our success lies in the
achievement of our students.
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CDW-G (2009). Innovative professional development in technology
Coffman, T. (2009). Getting to the heart of technology integration. Learning and Leading
with Technology, 36(7), 20-23.
Cooley, G. (2004). Tennessee: Westside school celebrates the successful infusion
of technology into state curriculum. http://www.thejournal.com/articles/16857_2
Fisher, J. (2004). Tennessee: Edtech launch grant enhances east Lincoln elementary school’s
learning environment with technology resources.
Frazier, M, & Bailey, G (2004). The technology coordinator’s handbook. Eugene: International
Society for Technology in Education.
Hall, D. (2005). Moving from professional development to professional growth. Learning and
Leading with Technology, 32(5), 36-38.
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King, D. (2002). The changing shape of leadership. Educational Leadership, 59(8), 61-63.
Lashway, L. (2002). Developing instructional leaders (Report No. 160). Eugene, OR:
ERIC Clearinghouse on Educational Management. (ERIC Document Reproduction
Service No. ED466023)
Microsoft Peer Coaching Program
National Staff Development Council (NSDC)
National Technology Plan
Owens, A. (2009). Do your teachers need a personal trainer? Learning and Leading with
Technology, 36(8), 14-17.
Peck, K., Clausen, R., Vilberg, J., Meidl, C. & Murray, O. (2008). Classrooms for the future
year two evaluation (Executive Summary).
Poplin, C. (2007). A sustained effort. T.H.E. Journal, 34(7), 44-45.
Rose, H & Meyer, A. (2002). Teaching every student in the digital age: Universal design for
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learning. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Alexandria, VA
Smith, S. (2000). Graduate student mentors for technology success. Teacher Education
and Special education, 23(2), 167-182.
Sp@rcOz5.0 (2008, January 31). ITI Journal #2: Roles and responsibilities of a peer coach.
Message posted to http://sparcoz.wordpress.com/2008/01/31/iti-journal
Statham, D. S., & Torell, C. R. (1999). Technology in public education in the United States.
Retrieved from http://www.tea.state.tx.us/Textbooks/archives/ litrevie.htm
Sugar, W. (2005). Instructional technologist as a coach: Impact of a situated professional
development program on teachers’ technology use. Journal of Technology and
Teacher Leadership, 13(4), 547-571.
U.S. Department of Education. (2000). Teacher’s tools for the 21st century: A report on
teacher’s use of technology (OTA-HER-616). Washington, DC: U.S. Government
West Ed RTEC. (2002). The learning return on our educational technology investment.
(#R302A000021). San Francisco, CA: Author.
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