I follow the ISTE Standards in my daily routine, planning and reflecting as an EdTech Coach. The standards are concise and challenging, they really help various stakeholders push themselves to continuously improve.
Today I would like to discuss the mission of ISTE as we often talk about the standards but not always about the mission. To recap, the ISTE Mission is as follow:
“As the creator and steward of the definitive education technology standards, our mission is to empower learners to flourish in a connected world by cultivating a passionate professional learning community, linking educators and partners, leveraging knowledge and expertise, advocating for strategic policies, and continually improving learning and teaching.”
International Society for Technology in Education
Notice the word “steward”.
In my beginning as an EdTech Coach, I considered myself a “Disruptor”. Many of the times, we start the teaching to edtech coaching curve because we want CHANGE and therefore we often place ourselves in the position of a disruptor.
The problem with disruption is that it gives the person a “I-know-it-all-and-I-will-show-you-the-way” reputation and that’s not want one should be doing.
That ok, mistakes are part of the process!
I realized, later on, that I really had a vision in mind and were trying to force it on other people. The problem was not the idea, it was the fact that I expected others to change.
Now I shifted my thinking (my mindset?!) and I am more open, less talkative, and this generates more awareness and change than trying to force it.
How do we embrace stewardship? I think it’s not about “leading” change and building leaders of change. It’s about finding your first followers and celebrating learning. The issue is that innovation can be in pockets and not across an entire school for instance but time, perseverance and effort are needed for transformation and one person cannot control the pace alone. I realize that people trust you more when you professionalize your approach towards more “cognitive coaching” strategies to mediate thinking and less “showing you who is the boss” (sounds very monstrous but we sometimes make people feel this way).
Empowerment is never something that you can teach people, it is something that every individual educator needs to build for him/her-self and we, as EdTech Coach, can only strive to trigger it and generate feedback.
I would like to talk about the learning stages of Gattegno (as it is very relevant to this):
- An awareness that there is something to learn
- Exploration by trial and error (with feedback!) with presence
- I know but need to be present → automatising
- Transfer to another learning situation
In order to empower educators or learners, just like any other learning, we need to start with awareness of the new learning opportunity (do people know there is something new to learn)and then follow the next steps. Sometimes we assume that people have gone through step 1 but they have not necessarily and we need to accompany them to facilitate this “taking of awareness”.
One more thing to notice in the mission of ISTE is that they include essential conditions about edtech implementation. It’s about the transformation of mindset through actions and we must ensure that we are going to look at an holistic view of edtech: not just the training and coaching but also the policy making, planning and reflecting and the constant need to revisit assumptions and improve. This mission is also to embraces life-long learning and get people together: building those interconnected networks of PLN that are diamond-shaped (as Michelle Cordy puts it).