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AALF 1:1 Coaching and Professional Development Supporting Educators as they Do Something Previously Not Thought Possible
Author: Karen Ward, AALF Coaching | October 2nd, 2013

"People often think of technology as doing old things better, but we are actually doing something previously not thought possible." (Dr. James Kaput)

AALF Coaching

At a coaching session the following statement made by a teacher provided me with an opportunity to get ‘to the heart’ of our work quickly when she said, “So, you are here to talk with us about the stuff we need for our laptop program, like software and our network...you know, the stuff at the heart of our program.” I appreciated her direct manner and willingness to deprivatize about her understanding of our joint work—and while it was very informative, most importantly, we could get to ‘the heart’ of 1-to-1 learning and teaching quickly because first and foremost, AALF coaching is about learning-student learning and educator learning. As Sr. Suzanne Cooke, Headmistress at Carrollton School in Miami, Florida has stated, “We want to help in the creation and formation of confident compassionate digital citizens in whose hands and minds are our future.”

In order to achieve this, AALF provides coaches who are experienced and knowledgeable about key implementation factors, and while they know that ensuring 1-to-1 success in all classrooms is the vision of district and school site administrators, leaders and teachers, the manner in which each school achieves this and what ‘success’ looks like in each of these settings can be dramatically different. At the same time, there are patterns of implementation, also described as ‘key factors,’ that provide leading indications of effectiveness. The AALF 1-to-1 Key Factors tool is one resource that coaches can employ as they help educators understand their current realities and next steps.

AALF’s coaching and professional development staff are also driven by the Foundations goal to ensure that all children have access to unlimited opportunities to learn anytime, anywhere, and that they have the tools to make that access possible. One asset all AALF staff bring to their coaching is their experience and accompanying knowledge in a variety of essential areas, including supporting district and site educators as they …

• *Develop their leadership skills in designing and implementing effective 1-to-1 practices at all levels.

• *Examine and analyze effective 1-to-1 leadership at all levels.

• *Design the foundations for effective system-wide implementation and progress (Example: the alignment of vision, goals, teacher pedagogy and classroom practices, accountability measures, as well as the reliability of hardware, resources, and network access) (Video: Clarify Goals and Expectations)

• *Design and implement an effective professional development plan that considers the various levels of teacher pedagogy (classroom, content, and 1-to-1 pedagogy), the type of support they will need in order to make the changes 1-to-1 teaching and learning offer, and the action-research opportunities teachers will need in order to continue growing their professional wisdom.

• *Evolving teacher understanding regarding effective 1-to-1 classroom practices that ensure the development of teacher pedagogical design expertise. (Video : Embrace New Roles)

• *Foster and develop student academic leadership for the 21st century. (Video: Explore Contemporary Learning)

At the same time, AALF coaches understand that there is not a ‘cookie cutter’ formula that leads to success. Each school and district provides a unique context for student learning. Understanding and supporting leaders and teachers so they can build upon that existing context is one of the reasons AALF coaches are so effective. Whether provided face-to-face or in a virtual manner, coaches work with educators to design and execute systems that will enable everyone to be successful. In some cases, this includes taking leaders and teachers on a reflective virtual field trip to other schools around the world that are effectively implementing 1-to-1 learning environments. At other times, AALF coaches work face-to-face in providing support. In all cases, we work to help educators build their capacity to understand the issues and opportunities that 1-to-1 offers as well as the best possible manner in which leaders should address these while they lead pedagogical improvement and innovation, and make informed decisions about technology and the appropriateness of its use.

AALF Professional Development

Planning for, implementing, scaling up and sustaining effective 1-to-1 teaching and learning is exciting and challenging work and we recognize that sometimes structured professional development is needed. Supporting all teachers to become 1-to-1 pedagogical design experts (M. Fullan) is crucial to ensuring the success of any 1-to-1 environment, and so pedagogy and classroom practices ‘reign supreme.’ Supporting administrators as they design and implement an effective professional development plan is one focus AALF provides. This plan and accompanying professional development must consider the various levels of teacher pedagogy (classroom, content, and 1-to-1 pedagogy) and provide the unique support they will need in order to make the changes that 1-to-1 teaching and learning offer. At the same time, administrators, leaders and instructional coaches must develop not only their pedagogical expertise, but also their ability to design and implement systems that will support teachers and their students. With this in mind, AALF provides professional development support for…

• *Entire school staff

• *Department or grade-level staff

• *Leadership teams

• *Instructional or mentor coaches

All of these professional development settings are customized to meet the needs of the unique institution or team of educators. Before training sessions begin, we meet with district or site leaders and administrators to identify the current 1-to-1 context, to review the vision and goals, and to help develop a professional development plan that provides training sessions as well as site embedded professional growth opportunities (like action research opportunities). The training sessions can be provided on a face-to-face or virtual basis.

We also recognize that there are individual educators who want to develop their own professional understanding, either as an opportunity for learning or to evolve their professional expertise in order to advance their careers. To meet these needs we provide virtual courses that focus on key factors leading to success in 1-to-1 environments. These courses are based on the learner foundations of inquiry, choice, collaboration, and creativity. Because of this, participants have the potential to personalize their learning outcomes, participate in action research, build professional relationships with other course attendees from around the world, and document their professional learning and growth through digital badging and AALF certification. For information on upcoming courses, contact us here.

As AALF coaches, it is extremely rewarding to work alongside educators in coaching and professional development sessions as we ‘get to the heart’ of the 1-to-1 teaching and learning and celebrate the dynamic results of this challenging and rewarding work.

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