The Fairview, Sixth Grade #iPadAcademy team had the opportunity to meet with The Brent Catlett today about integrating technology across the curriculum. He is our tech coach for #iPadAcademy endeavor and as we visited with him I drew on my many, many years of playing sports and drew many parallels. Before I get into the importance of a coaching model, I think it is important for you to understand what kind of person, Brent is.
Brent is a great listener. He has mastered the art of hearing his colleagues. It is evident that he is listening, analyzing and deciding how he can respond to what is being said. Even if you say something seemingly silly, Cat can take what you said and turn it into a bright idea. He is also an "action" type of guy. He is not one to sit on his laurels and watch the action; he is in the middle of the action. Along with that, he empowers his colleagues to do more and "get in the game." Brent is positive and leads by example. All of these things are attributes that make him a coach that implores his team to do more, but does so without making them feel inferior.
Like Brent, Jenny K. and Ann (the other two tech coaches) bring the same contagious enthusiasm to the #iPadAcademy. While they are not assigned to Fairview as official coaches, they have made it quite clear that they are available to help coach us anytime.
The coaching model that Bellevue Public School's Technology department has started is already proving to be invaluable. I have only had my classroom set of iPads for a little short of a week and Brent has already been in to instruct, support and encourage me and my students. It is not only technical support he is providing, but also moral support to empower me and my colleagues to try new things and work hard to make a difference with the technology we have been given.
I truly believe if BPS hadn't invested in training and coaching, my transition to a 1:1 classroom would not be as smooth as it has been. I feel confident now, which is a far cry from where I was after the initial excitement settled. Without coaching and professional development the prospect of using these amazing technology tools is far too ambiguous.
Its like fall practice for basketball. Teachers are learning through the initial professional development to have tools in our toolboxes to be able to someday go 1:1. Just like basketball, the more you work out, the more you are anxious to see how far you've come when you start playing against others. Apple Foundations Training did what it claims to do; it gives you a solid foundation and conditions you to be ready to get in the game!
After AFT (our PD) we were able to apply to have a class set of iPads. This was like try-outs. You have the same type of nerves and try not to get too excited, as you don't want to set yourself up for disappointment. It is only after you get the notification that you "made the team" that you can celebrate, but that is short-lived when you realize the amount of hard work, practice if you will, you must put in to be a game changer.
The big game finally comes and your hard work and the work of your coaches is now going to be on display. The awesome thing with BPS is that you aren't playing the game alone. You have an amazing coach, your AFT trainers, and a cohort of #iPadAcademy members to learn and grow from. Bellevue has found a way to set everyone that gets into the #iPadAcademy up for success. Although I know there will be struggles and set-backs, but I also am confident in the fourth quarter that we will be ahead.