I-coaches at Noorderpoort
Noorderpoort was one of the first schools of Vocational Education that started with a pilot of I- coaches back in 2009. An I-coach has multiple roles within Vocational Education, and focuses on the digital literacy of educators and teachers.
At the moment the I-coaches have a network in the Netherlands where ‘kennisnet’ is the umbrella organisation.
First the I-coaches were explaining the tools teachers could use (for example the tools in the learning programme ‘Media Rich Content’). Later on, their expertise elaborated on the learning processes of students and educators, as well as the theory behind blended learning.
The goal of the I-coaches is to improve the digital literacy of educators by distributing information and knowledge (gathered through a nation-wide network) within the organisation. They form a network within the organisation to provide knowledge, expertise or support to teachers, in order to improve their virtual literacy skills.
An i-coach has a multifaceted task and needs different talents and broad knowledge to do so. From a survey among participants of the program ‘Building Bridges’, 6 crucial roles of the i-coach emerged. These roles clearly highlight the added value of the i-coach:
– the trainer who delivers effective workshops and trainings with a specific goal and lasting effects.
– the coach who stimulates and enthuses colleagues individually in the right way and who is accessible and approachable as part of the team.
– the advisor who knows him- or herself, the organization and the client well enough to give appropriate advice. The consultant knows what is going on, what questions there are and how to respond to them.
– the educationalist who keeps an eye on the didactic value of ICT and is a serious discussion partner for the instructor.
– the change expert who can supervise a change process effectively and act as a link between education and management.
– the technovator who knows the potential of new technology for the educational context and can communicate this enthusiastically and with inspiration.
As explained before, the i-coaches are a network of coaches who help teachers understand different technologies as well as digital pedagogy.
Trainings that are provided by the i-coaches are:
– Nearpod for beginners
– Nearpod Pro
– It’s learning for beginners
– Building portfolio in It’s learning
– Making tests in It’s learning
– How to make a screencast?
– Video in education
– How to use video in Powerpoint
– Educating via Microsoft Teams
Besides that, every i-coach has one or more fields of expertise:
– Learning analytics
– Podcasts and video
– Blended Learning
– Hybrid learning
For Noorderpoort, the pilot project of i-coaches was successful and therefor the i-coaches are now structurally involved in improving our (online) education.
Start of with a pilot, there are two ‘types’ of i-coaches:
1) Organisation wide (helicopterview)
2) One in every educational team (closer to the teachers)
There is no ‘right way’ to organise this within your educational institution. It is of importance to note the pros and cons of both options and explore what is right for your institution.
We chose for example to have the second option, and place one i-coach within every team.
For us this has the benefit that the i-coachers are better to find, and are closer to the team they work with, making colleagues more prone to change.
– It is of importance that both formal and informal leaders acknowledge the importance of i-coaches within the organisation, in order to make the network expansion happen in an organic way.
– It is preferred that i-coaches are teachers, as they know how didactics work and how to immediately apply certain platforms in the educational system.