Our major project for the summer was to plan and successfully run an educational technology conference. As a Year 2 cohort, we decided to approach this hefty task by dividing ourselves into committees. As part of the digital committee, I created, designed, updated and monitored our official conference website. This consisted of creating pages and links that were critical to conveying all of the appropriate and necessary information to our public and attendees. Although it was my first attempt at creating and running a website, and there was a bit of a learning curve, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I look forward to having the skill for future professional development endeavors.
As if organizing and hosting a conference isn’t enough, we also planned and presented sessions at the conference. We were organized into small groups and given the task of researching a trending topic in education. My group focused on the topic of best practices in educational coaching. Together, we researched the impacts of coaching practices on schools and their implementation practices. We found that schools that approached changes in curriculum and/or other practices had much more positive outcomes than those that did not.
Further into our research, we began focussing on two main areas of coaching: instructional coaching and peer coaching. We decided to divide and conquer these two topics for our session, which would allow us to deliver more information and resources in a shorter amount of time.
For my portion of the session, I chose to highlight the importance of peer-to-peer coaching. I used Padlet to create a collaborative tool that teachers could use to share ideas and resources with their colleagues. I discussed the fact that there are many tools that can be used to achieve this and that using any of them could be a great step in the direction of implementing a peer-to-peer coaching culture.
Our overarching message, though, was that, regardless of the coaching approach each educator takes, there are common themes amongst all coaching models that make them so effective. Educators who want to “Lead the Way” in the promotion of positive professional learning communities should remember to focus on building relationships based on trust and open-communication. Only then, do we open ourselves up for transformational feedback.
Although a lot of work, the conference and our presentations were a great success and a fantastic learning opportunity. Below is our conference presentation, where you can find more details about our topic and the research that supports it. Enjoy!