You are here: arrow Home arrow Resources arrow Research

Research that Supports
the My eCoach Program



Train-the-Trainer Model

My eCoach is based on the Train-the-Trainer and BTSA (Beginning Teachers Support) models where our coaches provide support and guidance for the technology and curriculum integration specialists at school and district levels who then in turn support their teachers. My eCoach coordinates K-12 districts, teacher education programs, and subject matter experts to develop curriculum content and project-based learning activities.

"Extensive research conducted by the Office of Technology Assessment reports that "districts may be well advised to use multiple training and support strategies tailored to the educational goals of the local site. Among the strategies used by districts is the: Trainer of trainer model where a cadre of teachers receive professional development so they can provide the same and help other teachers." (OTA, 1995, p. 130)

Most technology integration specialists and mentors may be full-time teachers with little time to build their own skills and expertise. My eCoach provides just-in-time support and resources based on what the mentor, their teachers, and students need. From our experience as coaches, professional developers, classroom teachers, and technology integration specialists, we understand what teachers need to successfully integrate technology into the curriculum. They need a mentor on-site on an ongoing basis. To do an effective job for their teachers, the mentor as eCoach receives ongoing support, coaching, and resources from My eCoach.

"There is continuing need for the school site presence of a technology coordinator who can serve as a mentor or "translator" of technology applications and instructional integration for teachers. Appropriate technology resource personnel are not only for the early stages of a technology initiative." (OTA, 1995 p. 147) This research also revealed the continuing need for technology coordinators to keep up with the rapid pace of technological change and to know what to do about their teachers' concerns that affect adoption of technology.

"The current shortage of teachers should provide enough reason to mentor and take care of novice teachers so they remain in the profession. At the same time, it’s vital to the profession to provide professional development for experienced teachers, and mentoring is one way of doing just that.
(Denmark, V., and Podsen, I. The mettle of a mentor: What it takes to make this relationship work for all. Journal of Staff Development, Fall 2000. Vol. 21, No. 4.)

"Teacher professional development increasingly recognizes the importance of the expertise of practicing teachers and of teachers learning from and with one another (e.g. Acker 1995; Darling-Hammond, 1994; Renyi, 1996). These new roles and support structures for teachers can work together to establish a professional culture in schools––a culture of collaboration rather than a culture of individualism (Talbert & McLaughlin, 1994; Schlager, Fusco, & Schank, 1998). This collaborative approach to professional leadership is viewed as central to school change (Darling-Hammond & McLaughlin, 1995; Little, 1993)."
Riel and Becker. The Beliefs, Practices, and Research of Teacher Leaders. Teaching, Learning and Computing: A research project of the Center for Research on Information Technology and Organizations.1999. CRITO


Coaching instead of One-Shot Workshops

My eCoach was founded under Computer Strategies, LLC, on the premise that traditional one-shot workshops have not been effective. In most cases, teachers have not been able to take what they learned in these workshops and transfer them to their classroom. We found as coaches we were better able to support teachers and immediately saw successful results: enthusiastic teachers, engaged students, project-based learning activities aligned to standards, and improved academic achievement.

"Administrators and teachers themselves acknowledge the need for more and better information about effective research-based teaching strategies and for support in learning how to use these approaches in the classroom. But recent research in adult learning and teacher change clearly indicates that these critical needs are not being met by traditional professional development efforts. One- or two-day workshops, with little or no follow-up, focusing on strategies and approaches that may or may not relate to teachers' perceived needs, do not sufficiently influence teacher knowledge, skills, and dispositionsin a way that counts in the classroom. They do not do the job. As a result, classroom practice generally remains unchanged and unimproved."
Bransford, J., Brown, A. & Cocking, R.. How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school..
National Research Council, Committee on Developments in the Science of Learning. (2000). Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

My eCoach found from our research on adult learners and how adults deal with change that teachers need support that is relevant to what they are teaching and tailored to their level. Coaching provides individuals and small groups the opportunity to learn just what they need to teach the curriculum including how to use the appropriate resources that enhance the curriculum.

"Discussions of how and why adults learn and the ways to facilitate that learning, for example, are primarily theoretical in nature; but there is a good deal of research on how to structure staff development programs to support learning."
Butler. Staff Development. School Improvement Research Series.

The purposes of funding under the Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) Program (California Public Law 107-110, Sections 2401-2441), are:
(4) To promote initiatives that provide school teachers, principals, and administrators with the capacity to integrate technology effectively into curricula and instruction that are aligned with challenging state academic content and student academic achievement standards, through such means as high-quality professional development programs.


Focus on Curriculum

Best practices occur in the classrooms where curriculum is the main focus. When teachers start with the curriculum instead of technology skills, they learn how to use the technology as it is incorporated in the curriuclum. As part of the eCoach program, teachers learn how to choose and use the appropriate resources for the curriculum. They receive just-in-time support and resources while they are creating the learning activity. This strategy helps teachers learn how to use and integrate technology in an effective manner.

"Helping teachers to learn to integrate technology into the curriculum is a critical factor in the successful implementation of technology in schools."
Sivin-Kachala, J. & Bialo, E. 2000 Research report on the effectiveness of technology in schools. 2000. Washington DC: Software and Information Industry Association.

Research and successful implementation strategies are part of the eCoach program so teachers build a rationale to justify creating project-based learning activities as part of their curriculum. The rationale can be shown to their administrators and also be used when writing grants. The research that is embedded in the My eCoach program builds a foundation of sound theory and pedagogy that will help teachers as they develop new lessons and activities.

"Teachers need opportunities to understand the theory and rationale for new forms of instruction and to become intellectually engaged with subject matter."
Learning First Alliance. (2000). Every child reading: A professional development guide. Baltimore, MD: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

My eCoach facilitates the development of professional development programs based on individual learning plans and student achievement goals. As part of each teacher's profile, they are asked to identify student academic needs. Authentic assessment plays a large part of the learning activities so teachers can track their students' progress.

"Staff development's success will not be judged by how many teacher and administrators participate in staff development programs or how they perceive its value, but by whether it alters instructional behavior in a way that benefits students."
Sparks, D. & Hirsh, S. A New Vision for Staff Development, ASCD, 2001.


Project-Based Learning Activities

My eCoach creates learning activities, resources, and support materials with the eCoach and school team based on the curriculum and student achievement needs. Planning involves student data, classroom visits, and teacher interviews which helps us provide recommendations for professional development goals. All learning activities created reflect what teachers will be using with their students.

"Successful programs involve teachers in learning activities that are similar to ones that they will use with their students."
Bransford, J., Brown, A. & Cocking, R. How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school.
National Research Council, Committee on Developments in the Science of Learning. (2000) Washington, DC: National Academy Press. p. 204.

"Project Based Learning, on the other hand, has a striking ability to encourage active inquiry. Students appear to engage eagerly in what's usually described as 'higher cognitive thinking activities' such as relating concepts and using existing criteria to evaluate new ideas; they work cooperatively and diligently with their peers; they proceed with little supervision for extended periods of time; and they use a variety of tools and resources autonomously, spontaneously, and creatively."
Buck's Institute: PBL Overview Introduction
: Pros and Cons of Project Based Learning

Learning activities that are developed use the constructivist approach where students construct meaning and deepen their understanding of the content. We encourage teachers to build in activities that ask students to present and defend their findings.

"Constructivism is an approach to teaching and learning based on the premise that cognition (learning) is the result of "mental construction." In other words, students learn by fitting new information together with what they already know. Constructivists believe that learning is affected by the context in which an idea is taught as well as by students' beliefs and attitudes."
NCREL "Constructivist Teaching and Learning Models." Online. Available. Feb. 2003.

"Constructivist approach works best because it has an authentic focus or project orientation. Problems must be real, not contrived. We need to allow time for collaboration and social interaction. The social component or reporting to others about what is learned is critical."

Kearsley & Shnelderman (1998) Engagement Theory. Educational Technology 28(5) 20-23


Online Coaching

My eCoach's online coaching tool provides teachers opportunities for collaboration (sharing and learning from each other). Each teacher joins our community by being part of a team managed by an eCoach (a mentor, technology integration specialist, or university faculty) who provides support and feedback to their team (teachers).

"Research indicates that the most successful teacher professional development activities are those that are extended over time and encourage the development of teachers' learning communities. These kinds of activities have been accomplished by creating opportunities for shared experiences and discourse..."
, J., Brown, A. &. Cocking, R. How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school. National Research Council, Committee on Developments in the Science of Learning. (2000). Washington, DC: National Academy Press. p. 204.

"Online professional communities are a way to facilitate “communities of practice”, which Wenger (1998) describes as a joint enterprise with relationships of mutual engagement, relying on a shared repertoire of communal resources."
Bringelson and Carey.
Different (Key)strokes for Different Folks: Designing online venues for professional communities. Centre for Learning and Teaching Through Technology. Educational Technology & Society 3(3) 2000


eCoach Program

My eCoach provides coaching, a coaching kit, and resources to eCoaches so they can support their team of teachers. With support of their eCoach, each teacher on the team creates an inquiry-based project, content site, or learning activity while learning best practices, research, rationale, and standards. Collaboration is encouraged among community members. As part of this learning community, the eCoaches and their players (teachers) contribute standards-based resources and projects to a searchable database that the community and public has access to. Teachers are able to explore new ideas and reflect using their online journal that is stored in their digital portfolio and participate in ongoing discussions with other community members.

"...when teachers are learning to integrate technology into their classrooms, the most important staff development features opportunities to explore, reflect, collaborate with peers, work on authentic learning tasks, and engage in hands-on active learning."
Schacter, J. The impact of education technology on student achievement: What the most current research has to say. 1999. Milken Family Foundation Web Site

My eCoach has formed partnerships with several teacher-education programs, distance learning programs, community-based organizations, and subject matter experts to develop or find rich content. Then eCoaches with the help of My eCoach work with their teacher teams to create project-based learning activities based on the content. Some of these teams include students and build content sites that others can uses. Teachers who participate as an eCoach change not only the way they teach but their thoughts about teaching and learning. They truly become the "guide on the side." Many of our eCoaches extend what they have learned by teaching these strategies and incorporating the eCoach program in teacher education programs.

"...the RETA program is its use of teachers to train other teachers. Since teacher-instructors understand classroom culture and the demands of teaching, their guidance is often more relevant and credible to teacher-participants. In this paper, we discuss the impact of the RETA model on the collegial behaviors and changing leadership roles of its participants and instructors."
Martin, Hupert, and Gonzales.
Creating Technology Leaders Through Professional Development: The Regional Educational Technology Assistance Program. . June 2002. Center for Children and Technology.

Teachers who participate and receive support from My eCoach and an eCoach on-site and online continue to use this model when they create new lessons and activities. The community of learners and practice grows. My eCoach encourages collaboration and involvement of the administration. This ultimately brings in more teachers who want to learn and use or adapt some of the activities that were created.


Train-the-Trainer Model | Coaching instead of One-Shot Workshops
| Focus on Curriculum | Project-Based Learning Activities |
Online Coaching | eCoach Program

last updated December 2004