the My eCoach Program
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
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."
1995, p. 130)
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
is continuing need for the school site presence of a technology
coordinator who can
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."
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, its
vital to the profession to provide professional development
for experienced teachers, and mentoring is one way of doing
(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.)
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 schoolsa 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;
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
teachers to learn to integrate technology into the curriculum
is a critical factor in the successful implementation of
technology in schools."
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.
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
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,
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.
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.
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,
Buck's Institute: PBL Overview Introduction:
Pros and Cons of Project Based Learning
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.
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. Pathways.
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
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).
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..."
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.
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 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
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
Schacter, J. The impact of education technology on student
achievement: What the most current research has to say.
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.
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
Model | Coaching
instead of One-Shot Workshops
| Focus on Curriculum | Project-Based
Learning Activities |
Online Coaching | eCoach
updated December 2004