Dec. 27, 2022

Episode 159: Instructional Technology Coach: EdTech Thinker, Tinkerer and Coach

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Jared is a Google for Education Certified Coach, Trainer, and Innovator.  Jared is passionate about empowering teachers not to be afraid of technology integration in teaching and learning but to use it to innovate their practices to impact student learning in meaningful ways through coaching, mentoring, & speaking at conferences


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Episode 159:Instructional Technology Coach,EdTech Thinker, Tinkerer and Coach

[00:00:00] Fonz: Hello everybody and welcome to another great episode of My EdTech Life. Thank you so much for joining us on this wonderful morning, uh, wherever in the world you may be. Again, thank you as always for making us part of your day. Thank you as always for all of your wonderful support, and I am excited to be here with you all today.

[00:00:44] I mean, I know we're all on break and on holidays. Some of you may still be in your pajamas too. That's great. Some of you may be up and about, you know, regardless. Thank you, thank you, thank you as always. And today I'm really excited to talk to a really good friend, a coffee. [00:01:00] Uh, you might say. So thank you so much.

[00:01:02] Uh, today, Jared and I are enjoying some Loveland coffee from South Carolina that he sent over, so I'm really excited about our today's caffeinated conversation. That's right. So, Jared, how are you doing this morning?

[00:01:17] Jared: I am doing well, Fonz. Good morning. I, alright. And I, people are in their pajamas. I, I showed up to work today, so, you know.

[00:01:27] You, you gotta feel extra special. I, I came, I came in to, to work to do this awesome.

[00:01:33] Fonz: But yeah. Yeah. So that's story for everybody. Watches. . Yeah, that was, it's an interesting story you were talking

[00:01:39] Jared: about . Yeah. I, I have four kids at home. My house is not quiet, so this is the quietest place I could find to, to do this.

[00:01:47] No,

[00:01:48] Fonz: that works. And I'm really excited and thankful. So thank you Jared, so much for, you know, making this happen. And I'm just really excited about today's conversation as we're gonna be talking about, you know, instructional tech and, and you know, tech [00:02:00] coaching. Overall, and of course, you know, I know you from actually just connecting with you on Twitter and of course through, you know, Google everything, you know, Google innovator and co coaching and all that stuff.

[00:02:13] So, uh, before we get started and dive into the conversation, Jared, if you can go ahead and introduce yourself to our audience members that give yourself, uh, you know, also. Give your context and education so you know. There we go. . I'm caffeinated. .

[00:02:30] Jared: Yeah. Yeah. Um, my name is, yes. That's the other thing. I was like, hope I don't talk too fast cuz I've had like three or four cups of coffee already.

[00:02:39] Um, my name is Jared Johnson and I am currently an instructional technology coach for a small private school in South Carolina. But before that, um, I have spent 16 years in public education as a high school social studies teacher and as a instructional technology coach. [00:03:00]

[00:03:00] Fonz: Perfect. Okay, so now also I'd like to add one more thing.

[00:03:04] Can you tell us something interesting about yourself that people may not know?

[00:03:10] Jared: Ooh. Um, okay. . So one of the ways I like to relax and everybody thinks this is a weird thing to do, I find detailing cars relaxing. . Like, I put my headphones on and I clean the cars. I'm in my own world. When I'm done, I look back, I'm like, I did something.

[00:03:33] It's beautiful. They're clean. Um, until my kids get into it, and you know, I I, I just find that relaxing. And I will spend hours doing that .

[00:03:45] Fonz: That's great. And I know I have seen some photos I think that you've posted before where you'll show, like before and after you show the van or you'll show you know, the car and I'm like, wow.

[00:03:54] So that's really cool, you know, getting interested, you know, and getting into the detailing and you know, I've [00:04:00] seen people, those detailing videos for. I really enjoy when I watch those because I just see all the brushes and just the way they get into everything and just clean that car. So I would imagine it's relaxing.

[00:04:12] It's relaxing for me to watch. Not so much do but watching it. I'll do that any day. All right. Well, Jared, thank you so much, uh, for that brief intro. But, you know, this is my favorite segment too, as well, which is really getting into that superhero origin story. And like I tell all my guests, anybody that is a guest on the My Tech Live show is somebody that I look up to because of the great work that they're doing on, you know, not only on social media that they're posting the work that they're doing for themselves and you know, for others around them.

[00:04:43] So I wanna. The Jared Johnson origin story, was education something that you wanted to get into that you knew? Or was it something that you kind of fell into and you grew?

[00:04:58] Jared: Um, I wanna [00:05:00] say a little bit of both. So, you know, as, as a child, you played school and I was one of those, you know, teachers pet type things.

[00:05:10] And then in high school, you know, you kind of fall out of it and you're starting to look at. Different career choices, but really what steered me into education was my, I had two really important high school teachers and, um, I credit both of them for, for putting that bug into, into me for wanting to, to teach.

[00:05:29] So, um, anytime, I can't like to shout out Mr. Scott Haber, who really influenced me to become a teacher, to be the best teacher I could be. Um, one of the best compliments he gave me when I was, uh, student teaching and, uh, substituting, um, was that he thought I was the only person that had graduated that could give him a run for his money in the career field.

[00:05:54] So I was just thought that that meant so much, uh, to me. . [00:06:00] Wow, that's great. He was, he was, yeah, he was what got me into, into teaching. Excellent.

[00:06:06] Fonz: So now tell us a little bit about your journey into education. You know, just, you know, I'm always curious too, you know, once you get in there, what were some of the things that maybe you kind of wish you knew before you got in?

[00:06:22] Jared: Um,

[00:06:26] I guess some of the things I wish I would've known is, Is how to better take care of yourself. But the burnout thing is, is real. And I remember feeling that burnout within those first five years of, of my career because you really do want to be the best, do the best. You know, you're, you're pretty much living your teaching life to the, to the fullest extent that you can.

[00:06:49] So you're active at school, you're active with your students. And, and so, um, so when you hear people talk about, You know, five years seems to be when people start to, to waiver and, [00:07:00] and, um, consider other career choices. I was at that point at the, at the five year mark for sure. All right. A little bit of that, one of those things where I wish, yeah, I wish, and again, you know, I graduated college in 2004, so self-care and all that, that kind of mindset things just weren't a, a thing as they are today.

[00:07:19] So that's just one of the things I wish. could have been there, you know, to help take care of your mind and body as you, as you work. You know, cuz teaching is high, is high stress, and you're really high strung. And, and I've had some really awful administrators in my career, which have made things a lot worse.

[00:07:38] And so how do you tackle that? Take care of yourself, take care of those situations, things that you didn't learn in college. . Okay,

[00:07:47] Fonz: good. That's fair enough. And you know, it really makes sense and that's oftentimes what I've heard, even coming into this career. And like you said it, you know, the self-care wasn't as talked about when I first started [00:08:00] back in 2005, you know, 2006, and kind of coming in from a different background and now you see that and it's really prevalent and you're like, wow.

[00:08:08] You know, there's definitely things that you wish you knew. Prior to getting started. So now I wanna know, so you did the teaching, you were, you know, classroom teacher and then now you're transitioned or you have transitioned into a tech coach and you know, you've done that for a couple of districts now.

[00:08:25] So I kind of wanna know a little bit of how that transition came about. You know, were you already implementing tech within your lessons or was this something that, you know, later on you just found yourself like, you know, You know, I'm really tech savvy. Let me go ahead and put in for this job. And, you know, you ended up getting that role.

[00:08:43] So tell us a little bit about that journey.

[00:08:46] Jared: So, um, I got into it kind of by accident, uh, really. So I'm teaching, teaching high school social studies and um, I've always been big into technology. So I remember when I was [00:09:00] first introduced to the L C D projector, right, and that. Blew my mind. And, and because I, I have horrible handwriting.

[00:09:07] I hated writing on a board. Like I just, I'm left-handed. It always never looked good. It's just, so when I was introduced to the, um, L C D projector and PowerPoint, like that just completely revolutionized, um, how I taught to the fact that, you know, my district only had. L C P L C D projector. And so when I couldn't check that out or if I had to return it, I finally went out and bought my own.

[00:09:35] And you know, being young first year teacher, you don't have a whole lot of money. And those things were about 500 bucks to begin with. And so, you know, I put almost an entire paycheck into buying an LCD projector and. That was really kind of where I started to use technology and I found that the kids enjoyed that more.

[00:09:55] They were more engaged because I was able to make learning more [00:10:00] visibly appealing or visually appealing to the students by adding the animations and having the fun different backgrounds, um, that kind of helped propel things, um, forward and then, I was, I was that teacher that always used the computer lab.

[00:10:16] So I was always checking, you know, reserving the computer lab. I brought my kids in, don't remember the name of the, of the website that I used, but I remember with my ninth graders there was this animation website, very basic, but you could make these animated characters and they could have little speech bubbles.

[00:10:34] And so with history, that was really kind of my go-to thing. . Every con, every unit that we did, they had to make a cartoon where their historical figures had to talk about you. What, what we, what we learned and that was part of their, um, projects. And I just, you know, the kids always loved it. I thought it was really cool.

[00:10:53] Some of the other teachers kind of caught attention to it and um, and that was really neat. [00:11:00] Fast forward to, um, another school district I was at. There wasn't a computer lab, but we had a laptop cart with laptops and these. barely worked. I think it was, I think they had Windows XP on it, or Windows 2000 or something like that.

[00:11:18] And for whatever reason, I don't remember how it came to the idea, but I decided to buy a bunch of flash drives, put Linux on them, and put Linux on these, um, laptops and. Because they didn't work and everybody thought the laptop cart was broken. I kind of, it kind of became mine. And so with Linux running on them, I was able to have the students do different things like, um, wikis.

[00:11:44] I had a wiki page that I would post my notes to and the kids could go there and answer questions. Um, we did Google Earth projects like crazy cuz that was back when Google Earth had to get installed on the computer. , all this kind of neat stuff that I was able to [00:12:00] do with it. And then the district was like, oh, well this is interesting.

[00:12:05] And so then they gave me a, a smart board and I put it in quotations cuz it's a, you know, knockoff type smart board. And, um, and so I started using that and then I realized that there was a master's program in, in educational technology. So then I pursued, uh, a master's in. That's when I learned how to really kind of tear down computers and use all sorts of different websites and, and Web 2.0, you know, all that, all that stuff back then.

[00:12:33] And so that kind of propelled me into, into using technology more and more with my students. And, um, finally they kind of came to me and they said, We have a grant with the Department of Ed for, um, a, a tech specialist, somebody that can go around and teach teachers how to use technology. Would you be interested in it?

[00:12:52] And I was like, yeah, for sure. Um, and so, Kind of fell into it by accident. It was like January [00:13:00] of 2010 where I, I left the classroom and um, and started, started that journey. And that's just kind of taken me to, to different districts and different places and landed me to. To where I'm at today. Like, I remember Google in its infancy when we, you know, when we tried it out with Gmail, like that was the big deal.

[00:13:21] We're gonna give teachers Gmail and, um, . All, all, I just, you know, all that beginning stuff is, it's just cool to look back and to see where we. We are today in education. Nice. Well,

[00:13:35] Fonz: look, I really love that journey and everything that you shared there. You know, you can definitely see the passion and again, I, a lot of the stuff resonates with me too as well cuz I was that one teacher, like when we first started getting Chromebook carts in our schools, we only had two carts per elementary, you know, so we had the cows for our computers on wheels as what we call it, the cows for, you know, two.

[00:13:57] Two per campus, you know, and I was the one teacher [00:14:00] that would check it out all year long, cuz not a lot of teachers were familiar with it. And I was just signed it out every day out of the week. It just pretty much just lived there in my, uh, classroom and you know, having some fun with the kids. And similar story too, just because of the passion that I had for tech, you know, got to transition into this role too as well.

[00:14:21] Very great story there. And now I wanted to ask you too, cuz you mentioned Google and you mentioned this back in 2010. So with the whole infancy, I didn't learn about Google till like way later in my career, but I know that you're heavily involved and I know you know you have been part. Of several programs.

[00:14:38] I mean obviously level one, level two trainer, coach, and innovator, which is I think pretty much all the badges that you can get in education. So tell us a little bit about that journey too as well. You know, how you just diving in into the Google ecosystem and then working with Google two as well, I think even, you know, on some programs, I believe even on the coaching program [00:15:00] too as well.

[00:15:00] So tell us a little bit about that experience.

[00:15:04] Jared: Um, yeah, so. , I think. I don't remember when, but I remember, you know, working on the Google level one and level two back before it was popular or, or famous. Um, I had that prior to, to 2017, but really, , my life changed in terms of coaching. Uh, in 2017 when my school was invited to participate in the Dynamic Learning Project, which was a, a research project on best practices with technology coaching, instructional coaching that was done through Google for Education, uh, digital Promise, and Ed.

[00:15:42] And so we were, we were flown out to, to Google headquarters there in, in Sunnyvale for a, a week long intensive, and I mean, intensive, like 12 hour days, you know, one going from one thing to another. Um, it was, it was fantastic. Stressful, but [00:16:00] fantastic. And, and we learned how to do a, a coaching cycle. So using their challenge-based coaching cycle, we went through, you know, How to implement a technology cycle, how to get your principal on board, and that was kind of the neat thing is your principal had to come with you on that trip.

[00:16:17] So that was very powerful as well because you got the first time ever that I got to sit down with my principal and truly, Collaborate and, and really get to know them and, and have a back and forth, that that really changed not only the definition of coaching, but the definition of the relationship between coach and principal.

[00:16:39] Because before then, I was just a tech in the building, right? Like I would lead monthly pd. Here's a cool app. Everybody try it, you know, I'll see you. , um, to, to now being, you know, part of that, that decision making process, that leadership team in the school to drive where instructions should be [00:17:00] going, where they want it to go, and then becoming more of an integral part of the classroom and, and teachers using me to be a coach to, to be there with him instead of being.

[00:17:11] The guy that you would come to, to the library once a month to learn a new app or or strategy, and then you, I don't see them again until they need. So that was, that was really the, the change, the change of where things went because we learned about the trainer program and the innovator program. And so when I got, when my mentors like Heather Dowd and uh, de Lanier, you know, they were my mentors through the, the Dynamic Learning Project.

[00:17:40] And so, you know, they were trainers, they were innovators. And so that really motivated me to. Well I have level one and level two. Let me see what the next level is. And um, and that really just kind of, kind of started my journey. And then because we were part of the Dynamic Learning project, the original cohort of it, we were automatically made [00:18:00] um, the Google certified coaches, cuz the D L P is what turned into the certified coaching program with Google.

[00:18:07] Fonz: You know, so I just wanna give a big shout out though, Georgina, she's joining us. Uh, through LinkedIn. I'm, I know that her name is not showing up here, but she does say, Jared was such a key component of the Google EC program as we know it today. He made such a positive impact on instructional coaching.

[00:18:23] Bravo. So thank you, Georgina, who's joining us all the way from across the pond. Thank you, Georgina. Appreciate it. And big shout out also to coach William Jeffrey, who's joining us too as well. Coach, big shout out. Thank you so much. You know, and Jared, this is, you know, so interesting because, uh, that's the way that I knew about this, you know, kind of getting, uh, connected.

[00:18:45] you know, G Global, g e g and all those members. And then of course hearing about the coaching, you know, certification also as well. And then I saw your name being mentioned, actually you talked about it stating, you know, how you were part of that. And I was like, wow, like [00:19:00] this guy, like this guy's in, like this guy is in there and everything.

[00:19:03] And that's been great because every single time, and this is no joke, this is the first time I share this with you cuz it's the first time we really kind of hang out and talk. But every time I see that coaching, You are the first person that I think of because of that, in that conversation and that, and I'm like, oh, cool.

[00:19:20] So every time I see that on anybody's signature or anybody sharing, first thing that comes to mind is like, okay, cool. Congratulations. And then it's like, Jerry Johnson. There you go, everybody. So that's awesome. So that's great. And uh, so talk to us now a little bit. . Okay, so we got the, the coaching. You've got that wonderful experience working through the program and so on.

[00:19:40] So now some of the questions that I have, because you did mention, you know, being a tech coach for a couple of districts because obviously this, this job or this role has been able to open up doors for you and now this is something that we're starting to see a lot more. Um, I think it's more prevalent now after Covid where now it's like while you have instructional [00:20:00] coaches and now you have, you know, technology coaches and then you have all sorts of coaches now in coaching roles.

[00:20:06] But, um, you know, just for as an example, you know, or a question about being a tech coach, you know, how have you seen this role evolve from the first time that you took on this role into what you are currently doing?

[00:20:26] Jared: So, um, that's a really good question. And so my experience, I'll talk to you about from, from my experiences. So when, when we started out, when we brought the, the Dynamic Learning project and the challenge-based coaching model back to my school, it really revolutionized what we were doing. Um, and I, you know, I was one of.

[00:20:48] Now I've lost track. 12, 13. There was 13, 12 of us, um, at the middle school, high school level in, in my district that was part of the Dynamic learning project. And so we were really able to [00:21:00] revolutionize all our role and, um, because we actually had a title change from an in, um, technology integration specialist, a digital learning coach.

[00:21:10] And so that helped drive the change. We were now considered part of the leadership team. Principles and we were driving, you know, those changes in the building. We were, we were finding out what challenges teachers needs, and we are helping them meet it through technology and really just, I can't say enough.

[00:21:27] Like, like William said in there, instructional training was the best PD he's ever had as an educator, and that that is true. Um, the coaching program has been, and still is, the best PD I have ever received. Um, and, and really the thing that has changed my mindset, changed the mindset of, of my school. And, and again, it opened doors as well because it gave me the experie.

[00:21:52] The badge. Um, it also gave you the, the PLN before, before that I didn't have a pln, didn't really know what a [00:22:00] PLN was. And so that opened up a door to, to PLNs and then through Covid, you know, the global G E G groups and, and things from there. Just, you know, just kind of really, really blew up. . Now, the, the cool thing is, is like during Covid, that was one of the, one of the good things about Covid, if there was any good things, is, is that instructional coaching, um, technology coaching, that became a big thing because we were all reliant on that technology.

[00:22:28] So teachers were hungry for it. They wanted it, they needed it. Like anything that you could, you could support them with, they were all about. And, and even for the first year or two after the pandemic, you. Being a coach, at least in my experience, where where I was living was really, really important. But then things started to change and, and even to today, you know, teachers now have a mindset of either A, I got this because I already [00:23:00] know everything about technology because Covid taught me everything about technology or.

[00:23:04] Things are finally backed the way they were. And I'm going to go back to the way they were, paper and pencil, please do not open your Chromebook, MacBook, iPad, whatever it is. We are going back to the old ways. And so I remember being, um, having the printer access so I could see, you know, how much was being printed at one time.

[00:23:24] And, you know, during Covid it was like, you know, very little. And even after Covid, it was still very little. And then all of a sudden, once things returned to normal, All of a sudden everybody's standing there at the, at the copy machine. And I became a little bit of an enemy when I started calculating how many minutes to hours to how much of your lifespan are you see standing at the, at the copier?

[00:23:45] Cuz I was trying to like, oh, come on. We're we're taking too many steps back. We gotta, we got Chromebooks, we got these devices. Like we've done so well, what's, what is happening? Um, and so you've, it's for me, in my experience, it seems like there's been [00:24:00] a walk backwards and I kind of feel like that's been a lot larger than even where in my sphere because, you know, the, being a part of the Dynamic Learning Project and the Google Certified Coaching Program has allowed me to be mentors, um, for other teachers and other districts, and.

[00:24:18] and, and I still keep up with my PLN from that group, and everybody seems to be experiencing the same thing where there's been like a step back, if not multiple steps back from the way things were from 2017 to say 2021. , we've started to, you know, and then schools have started to put more responsibility on their, on their coaches that are not coaching related.

[00:24:42] So it's the extra duties. It's, and again, you know, we're in a sub crisis and things like that, so you're asked to sub and when you're, when you're doing that, You, you're starting to, to degrade, downgrade your role. And so you're no longer looked at that as that instructional person, but more as an extra body [00:25:00] in the, in the school that can be used to do whatever it is they need you to do.

[00:25:05] And that was where I started to get frustrated in the last year or so, where I just became an extra body and people weren't showing up to PDs. I only had one or two people on a coaching cycle. It was like, okay, what? What's happening here? I agree with you,

[00:25:22] Fonz: that's, yeah. No, no, I agree with you. You know, going back to what you said, you know, and what you're saying, I can attest to that too, where coming back, you know, back to brick and mortar, after, you know, being shut down.

[00:25:35] It's like all the tech was put away and put away in the back and, you know, I know it's such a strong word, you know, you know, but the, I think it was just more of like a trauma sort of where for teachers, they saw those devices and just by seeing those devices, they just said, no, that's, that's only C O V I D.

[00:25:52] Related, and that's only for Covid and that's the only time we're ever gonna use it, so let's just put 'em back. And they ended up just in the back of the room. [00:26:00] Nobody was really using 'em at all whatsoever. Going back to brick and mortar, going back to the copy machines, going back to, you know, just the traditional way and, and, uh, I'm not opposed, as you know, one thing is good teaching is good teaching, but we're missing out on so much though, where students can.

[00:26:19] Creating, uh, you know, some of their learning too, and being just more hands-on and using those tools. And like you said, it was that extreme of, no, I'm just gonna go back to the way I used to do things. But then you had some teachers that really took off and are doing some great things with it. And sometimes, you know, a li.

[00:26:37] I don't wanna say a little too much, but you know, in our district, we've kind of had to reel back because we do have adopted platforms that we are using and we keep it simple in our district. But of course we know that there are some teachers that are very innovative. They're, you know, Constantly on Twitter and they are willing to try new things and they're risk takers and I applaud them for [00:27:00] that.

[00:27:00] But at the same time, you know, then they're not using what we have and we're also trying to get data and measure those things because this year what we did is we actually sent out, uh, a Google form and asked teachers, what are the platforms that you're using? What is it that, uh, maybe you would like to have?

[00:27:18] Back some awesome feedback. We narrowed it down. We had some teachers test out those platforms and we adopted according to the needs. But then now all of a sudden, you know, we have that vote, but we know that obviously sometimes people may not be very happy with what you're doing. And so now you have people or you have teachers that are using things that we're not adopting, and then they call us and say, Hey, this isn't working.

[00:27:47] Okay. And then, uh, we said, well, we're sorry. You know, our answers we're sorry, but this is not a district adopted platform and there's nothing that we can do. And then they get upset. But, you know, so we see those two, [00:28:00] you know, big, big, um, differences there too as well. And slowly this year though, it's getting a little bit better, where now the Chromebooks are being out.

[00:28:08] But I don't know if it's so much because. The teachers want to bring them out, but also because all our state testing is all on the computers and the kids need to practice their state testing. And so there's a platform that we have that really emulates the state test. And so now it's like, okay, this is what we need you to use to practice, uh, you know, your dragon drops to practice your constructive response, the hotspots and all of that.

[00:28:36] And so come January, it's usually during testing season. I call it January. Once we're back. , it's testing season all the way till May. So we'll definitely see some usage going up on that. But it, I feel that we're just simply creating testing machines and not creators, you know, in their learning for our students.

[00:28:54] And that's something a little bit that we need to do a little bit more of. So what have [00:29:00] been, you know, I know you've mentioned these cuz these are obstacles, but what are some. that maybe you've slowly, I know you've transitioned into a, a new school, a new district, fresh start, sort of what are some things that you are kind of doing to really take that coaching role and really let it be seen as that, as a coaching role for your teachers?

[00:29:24] Jared: So one of the, the interesting things is, is I was brought, was able to, to, to transition over to a, a private school who, um, Really sees a value in, in needing a coach. They've never had the true coaching role but needed that needs somebody to help push teachers forward. And so one of the unique challenges being in, in a private school is a, you have a lot of people who have never been exposed to, to coaching, um, or to what instructional coaching is, or any kind of tech coaching, because one of the interesting things is, [00:30:00] In where I work, um, to teach middle school and high school, you just need a master's degree or, or hire to teach.

[00:30:08] You don't need a teaching certificate. Um, and so you have a lot of people that have just come straight out of college or the workforce and they're, they're teaching in the content area that they, they know best where it's science, English or, or whatever. And we also have some teachers that have been retired from the post school system, but retired years ago before tech coaching and.

[00:30:28] Instructional coaching was a thing. And so one of the things I've just been, I've been trying to do, just to, to show what, what coaching is, is just doing little things of, you know, hey, you know, doing the basics. How are you, what can I help you with today? You know, challenges are you having and trying to get my foot in the door, um, to certain things like, you know, well, I have some students.

[00:30:52] Are not engaged, you know, so how, okay, so how, what are you doing? And having those conversations to kind of, to roll things forward, but then [00:31:00] also trying to provide, I, I hate doing sit and get PD where I'm the one delivering the PD and people are just listening. , but that just seems to be another way in.

[00:31:10] I've learned just to get my foot in the door to show that I am human, um, that I am here to, to, to help and, and things like that. And so, and of course I'm trying to make, make it, make it fun. One of the, the biggest compliments I have gotten since I started is that my PD sessions are engaging and fun and they keep getting better with, with each one, which to me is a great compliment cuz I have always believed as a teacher.

[00:31:35] To give, to give your students an experience, like learning should be an experience where they're hopefully having fun. Not everything is going to be fun, and not everything's going to be a great experience, but they're doing something. They're actively learning. And so I try to do that with, with the teachers as well, where I'm not just standing up there next to a TV going, and here is this, and here's how they use it.

[00:31:57] It's like, . Let's, let's [00:32:00] dive into it. Here's, I want you to create something. And that's been the biggest thing and, and my biggest, like if I'm gonna get up on, on a stool to preach, it'll be getting students to create, you know, we are very lucky in this school. Our high school students have MacBooks, our um, eighth graders all the way down to fourth grade have one-to-one iPads.

[00:32:22] We need to be creating. We don't need to be consuming anything. We actually need to use them more cuz some, cause sometimes they're not even being used at all. Um, but they really get students creating 'em. And that was kind of been my foot in the door with a couple of teachers is getting students to create.

[00:32:37] And so we did one of the things that just kind of blew. blew away. The teachers and the students were, was using Flipgrid. You know, something that I've taken advantage of many. , but this, this crew has never been exposed to Flipgrid or Flip as it's called now. And so they did a newscast from ancient India using Flip's tools.

[00:32:57] And it was amazing. Like it just, [00:33:00] it blew the teacher away. It got other teachers wondering what was going on. And that's really what I, what I like to see. Like, you know, that's really where the power and the motivation comes in. And what really gets me excited too, is like when the kids are enjoying it, the teachers enjoying it, and other teachers in the hallway.

[00:33:15] What's, what's going on? What, what is that? Um, and then recently, um, right before we went on break, I had, um, our geography teacher was like, I want the kids to create a virtual field trip. How can we do that? And, um, and so this is where I, I, I'm a little bit of a troublemaker, right? So whenever Jerry Johnson comes around, I somehow inadvertently stir up trouble.

[00:33:40] We are one-to-one iPads at my. to build a virtual. Reality Tour using Google Earth. I needed real computers or I needed a, a laptop type situation. I found some Chromebooks that weren't being used, and so I ushered in the Chromebooks. The kids love the Chromebooks, maybe a little too much, [00:34:00] um, over the iPads, , but they were able to create and they, they took Google Slides.

[00:34:06] Google Earth and they were able to create tours of different countries and, and really just create some awesome stuff and then be able to share it. They could go on each other's tours and answer questions. It was really, really neat. But again, it's all in that creativity part, getting the students to create and.

[00:34:24] You know, the teacher was like, I really kind of forgot what it's like to have the students create, I need to do more of this. Um, because you do kind of forget, you kind of get into your, your routine and so worksheet, worksheet, Google form, Google Doc, but then students aren't really creating and producing anything.

[00:34:42] And one of the things that I've always been impressed is that, and I, I hate, I hate to say this and so forgive me, all of you out there for that might get offended on this, but it's like, Being in public school for all the years I was in public school, a lot of the kids are just apathetic. They don't want to do [00:35:00] anything.

[00:35:00] You have to poke and prod and you have some good success stories with them, but you do have to do a lot of poking and prodding. And one of the biggest surprises to me being in a private school is they're, it's a whole new world. It's a whole completely different clientele. And so those kids not only reach your goals or you know, what you, your expectations that you set.

[00:35:18] But go beyond it. And that's been like the biggest and most powerful, coolest thing. Cause I have to remind teachers, these kids will perform for you. Like, this is where I kind of put the baseline at. But then I have kids going, Mr. Johnson, can I use iMovie and flip together to, to add music and to do this and to add these special effects and make it more, you know, a robust news situation.

[00:35:42] I'm like, yes, go ahead. Or you know, another student. Can I make a video that I can then put into my Google Earth project and, and, and talk about what the, the street view that they're seeing? And I'm like, yes. Like, oh my God, yes, [00:36:00] please. Do. You know, like it's really, really, it's been a completely 180 for me cuz it's like when you two give the kids here at my current school that that opportunity, like they are excited, they want to perform.

[00:36:11] Not all of them, don't get me wrong. Not all of them are eager. But they just really kind of rise above and take things even further. And that's, to me, is just where the magic is and what I like to preach to the teachers going, look what they're doing. Look what they can do. Um, if you give them, give them the opportunity.

[00:36:29] So a lot of what I do as a coach is just is, is taking those opportunities where I've been able to get into the classrooms. And then show it off to other teachers, like celebrate those teachers that have allowed me to come in, celebrate those students, show off their work, um, to really help motivate and get everybody excited to show that, oh, they can do this.

[00:36:49] You know, we don't have to be paper and pencil or, or do the very basic stuff like we can take things even further and that. Again, what I've been trying to do is [00:37:00] promote, I do a newsletter. I, I showcase. Um, one of the things I was used to in my previous district is you tweet everything, you tweet it all to show everything that you're doing.

[00:37:10] My school's a little more reserved with that. They don't want a lot of stuff out there. So that's why I don't tag tag the school and a my posts and, and things like that or show a whole lot of specifics and, and the things that I tweet and share. But I do want to share and show, and. And document for those teachers and for everybody out there to say, look at what they're doing.

[00:37:29] They're doing some really cool magical. .

[00:37:32] Fonz: Excellent. Yeah, so getting some great comments here, some great feedback from Georgina. Georgina says here, how great would it be for us to create the same culture across all education sections, not only private. Great comment there. And then of course, we'll, uh, coach Jeffrey, uh, chiming in.

[00:37:48] Also, it says, truth be told, some of the apathy's coming from some teacher's attitudes. Towards their craft. All right. It hundreds. Hundred percent. Hundred percent. Yeah. Great conversation. Look at that. Jared, stirring [00:38:00] up the chat this morning, obviously powered by Loveland Coffee. Thank you so much, Jared, for sending this over because I am You're welcome.

[00:38:07] Trying to hold myself. Back from all of this awesome conversation. But so Jared, so tell us a little bit more, like you, you've described, you know, just some great things and going back to the creative component. You know, I completely agree with you many times. You know, I think teachers do not see what students are allowed to do just by putting the Chromebook in their hands and.

[00:38:28] Oftentimes, I think it's also just that fear of the unknown, where the teachers maybe have never done it. Maybe they're scared to take that risk, maybe they're just not comfortable. And so, you know, what are some ways, you know, maybe, I know you, you were working with the students, but now as the teachers are seeing what the students are doing, what are some of the ways that you, you know, work with the teachers to kind of just make them feel a.

[00:38:53] More comfortable with what they're seeing and just be willing to take that risk. What is it that [00:39:00] you're currently doing? .

[00:39:02] Jared: So a lot of it comes, you know, trying to promote, so, you know, promoting things through a newsletter, um, whether, you know, sometimes I offer like PD sessions to try to try to get people to come to, and then a lot of it just comes from conversation.

[00:39:16] I, you know, I want to be seen. I, you know, our, our, my campus is, is pretty spread out. It's kind of built like a college campus, so, , uh, we are two year olds all the way to 12th grade. And so it's trying to, to be visible in all those different sections and have conversations with teachers to find out what is happening and what is going on.

[00:39:35] And, you know, I, one of the things that everybody tells me is, is a, is a positive. You know, part of my positive personality is, is I'm very approachable. Um, and that, you know, teachers feel comfortable talking to me. So that's kind of been a, a benefit where teachers have come and talked to me and so when they express their challenges or things that they want to, to try, it's, it's telling them.

[00:39:59] [00:40:00] what? I'm here to help support you. Like what, what can I do to, to help you? I can help plan with you, you know, gimme your planning, period. Schedule. I can, I can come plan with you, I can help. I know you don't have a whole lot of time in your day. If there's anything that I can build, uh, ahead of time or if you need me to make copies, whatever it might be.

[00:40:18] And that's been the biggest, kind of the biggest, coolest thing here is like, teachers are always like, you wanna plan with me? Like, you really, you. Sit with me and plan. I'm like, yeah, that's, that's how we're gonna do this. Like, we're, we're gonna do this together. Like, I want to help you, you know, get that confidence.

[00:40:35] One of the, the biggest things of, of the Google certified coach program is to empower teachers. And, and I truly believe that I want to empower you to leverage that technology that can impact the teaching and learning of, not of the teaching of the teacher, but the learning of, of the student, and then telling them too, like, I can make my schedule.

[00:40:57] So if you need me, you know, first and second [00:41:00] period only, and then you're good to go the rest of the day, I will be there for you. I'll co-teach, I'll support, I'll collect data, whatever it is you need me to do. If you need me all day, I will clear my schedule and you will have me all day long. It's whatever you need.

[00:41:15] And that's been the biggest game changer for, for teachers where I'm. working is that I am there to, to support them, um, and that they know that I'm, I'm there to support them. Cuz I had one teacher that was walking down the hallway and I overheard her talking to another teacher and she goes, so Jared's been with you all day long?

[00:41:33] She's like, yeah, he's been helping me and helping my students. Like it's been great to have a second set of hands in the classroom as we do, you know, we were introducing Camie to the, to the kids and she's like, , well, do you think you would come to my classroom? And, and she's like, and I just, and I chimed in.

[00:41:48] Yes, yes, I can, I can come to your classroom. What, what do you need? Let's plan together. Send me some dates. And, and then we did a virtual field trip where, well, it was a virtual field trip that she and I created this. She just [00:42:00] wanted the, wanted to create it for the students to do. And that's great. You know, the kids did it.

[00:42:04] They were interacting with. . Um, but that was helping the teacher know that she can create, um, herself these experiences for, for the students. And so that's been kind of the nice thing is, is, is trying to get my foot in the door to get teachers to understand that I'm, I'm not, I'm not gonna just go, Hey, you should use flip.

[00:42:24] Peace out, you know, let me know if you need something else. Bye. Um, which is, I think is something they have that has happened to them in the past, I think, where they've just been told, you need to use this, and then they've got no support and then things have gone bad. Cuz I've, I've heard some horror stories where the teacher's like, well I did this.

[00:42:41] It fell apart. It was awful. I don't wanna do this again. And it's like, no, no, no. I look, that is my role. Like I, I want to coach you, I want to help you. I want to empower you to be able to do this with your students, and, and in turn, you are empowered. Therefore, your students will be empowered. And so it's just,

[00:42:59] It's [00:43:00] just trying, it's, it's, it's been a slow burn. I made a TikTok video talking about, you know, the first semester and, you know, I'm always looking up and, and there's still more challenges. There's going to be a lot more challenges as we go into second semester. But again, it's, it, it's, it is exciting.

[00:43:15] It's a slow burn. I have to keep reminding myself that, cause as a coach you want to change the world. You wanna have this huge impact right away. And, and that's not always the case. Uh, and so you just. I'll just keep, keep working at it at, at one point, you know. We'll, I'll get everybody but. Right now, I'll take whoever, whoever I can get and help those that, that, that want it.

[00:43:38] And, and keep saying create. I'm here to help empower you. I'm here to support you. I'm here to, to be what you need me to be in, in, in your classroom. .

[00:43:48] Fonz: That is awesome Jared. And you know, talking about impact, I know that you wanna get to everybody there within your district, but I must say that you have made a great impact on even people outside the district.

[00:43:59] [00:44:00] You know, people that are on Twitter with all your shares, everybody on social media, you know, even mutual. Friends, us in the global g e G group and Google Innovators and everything through the work that you do. So don't tell yourself short, my friend, because you are making a huge impact and I know that you're gonna do great things there at your school as well.

[00:44:19] So keep up the great work because you're definitely inspirational. You're definitely somebody that I look up to for sure.

[00:44:25] Jared: Well, I I appreciate that. I, I really, I really do. I, I, not to say I don't believe you, but I, I just, uh, you know, I, I appreciate it. Cause I, you know, they're, they're imposter syndrome is real.

[00:44:39] You know, we learned that during the innovator and everything like that, imposter syndrome is real and there are a lot of days where I feel like I'm an imposter or I'm looking at what other people are doing. I'm like, oh, I wish I could do that. Or I wish I had more time. Like thi things, like things like that.

[00:44:55] So thank you. I appreciate, appreciate that. No problem. Thank you. Georgina. I see your [00:45:00] comments as well, so Yeah, I

[00:45:02] Fonz: know. . And that's the truth, Jared. That's the truth coming from me and just being very honest. And even Georgina backed it up right here too as well. You know, such a creative leader, Jared, keep going on my friend.

[00:45:12] And you know, we see you, we see you. Trust me, Jared. So you just keep doing what you're doing and you know, again, you know when those thoughts come about. Just remember us because we see you and we are, we're everybody else is benefiting too, from the great things that you're sharing. Coach here chiming in.

[00:45:28] Also, dude, keep crushing it, both of you. So yeah, just keep crushing it. So Jared, before we wrap up with the last three questions, you know, just off the top of your head, maybe top three things as you as a technology coach, speaking to maybe somebody else that is new in this role or maybe interested in this role, uh, what would be your top three things that you know, as far as advice for somebody coming into this?

[00:45:59] Jared: um, [00:46:00] advice would be, um, number one to, to try to get a lot of the frustrations, um, out of the way. First is, is to work with your administrator. You know, try to get your administrator on board. Um, there's a lot of great, there's a lot of great coaching books out there, Jim Knight, um, Elena. Egle Alar, sorry, pronouncing names.

[00:46:30] And then the, the Google Certified Coaching Program. Um, you know, get, to get to know that work with your administrator, um, and getting them on board because your, your biggest advocate is going to be your school administration because they're gonna help open those doors for you, put you in the spotlight.

[00:46:48] Um, there are gonna be times where they're going to tell you who you need to coach, uh, because that teacher might be faltering a little bit. . Um, but you know, [00:47:00] being part of that, being, you know, getting your administration on board is probably the biggest one. The next one would be, um, build your pln, you know, join the PLNs that are out there, the coaching groups, your, your local G EEGs.

[00:47:13] Um, Podcasts like this, um, ilio. Look, look for, for anybody out there that can help be a mentor to you, you know, some of the original dynamic learning project people are out there and very active. It can help point you in, in the right direction or give you advice. Um, and then two, just. Always stay positive.

[00:47:33] It's very easy to get bogged down in the negative. And that's one of the, that's like my own fault too. Like there are times where the negativity just gets to be so much and, and you know, I have shut down when, when I really shouldn't, or I've resisted hard conversations because of negativity or fear out of things.

[00:47:51] And so, while. A hundred percent real, um, thing to deal with. It's, it's learning how to, how to deal with that. Um, because there's [00:48:00] going to be situations where things are gonna be negative, things are gonna be hard, but try to. Maintain a positive attitude with it. Surround yourself with positive people like Georgina, Yon, everybody that that's out there.

[00:48:13] Even my original mentors, I still talk to Dee and Heather, um, and Rachel as, as you know, they, I go back to them when things get hard or if I have questions and things like that. So definitely, you know, build your pln, reach out to, to people and surround yourself with as much positivity because. Inside of a school, you're in your own world.

[00:48:32] You're, you're in that world and sometimes it's hard to see outside of that world and, and the negativity came up, will add up. So look for those people to help pull you out.

[00:48:44] Fonz: Excellent. Well great tips Jared. Thank you so much for just being very insightful with that, cuz those three tips did definitely help anybody out and really in any position too as well.

[00:48:52] So thank you so much for sharing that. So now before we wrap up, we've got the three final questions here. So Jared, here we [00:49:00] go with question number one. In the current state of education, what would you say is your EDU krypton?

[00:49:10] Jared: Um, yes, uh, Georgina, find your tribe. That is very true. Find your tribe and the Google PLN groups are a great way to find tribes.

[00:49:19] Um, edu kryptonite. I, I will go back to what I said earlier. Negativity. Negativity is, is one that just seems to be swirling in, in education right now. Um, and that's for a lot of different factors. Um, and so, Trying, trying to remain positive. You know, come in with that positive attitude. Surround yourself with positive people because it is hard, especially when you are a coach and you are very active in all the different circles and cliques and things in, in your building or your district.

[00:49:51] It is very easy to get to get weighed down by that. So, Trying to overcome the negativity and because like, like even like what William had said [00:50:00] earlier, the, the students will feed off that if the teacher's negative, the, the students will feed off of that. And so whatever you can do to try to overcome the negativity around you, um, that I think that's my edge of kryptonite because again, it's hard as a coach.

[00:50:14] When you build those relationships, people come to you with, with things like, you're not gonna believe what Fonz did, or, I can't believe the decisions, you know, the administration is making and you're like, so you try to, you know, you try to stay positive. A lot of nodding. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . Um, one of the biggest things I've tried, I've learned over the years is mm-hmm.

[00:50:33] Mm-hmm. . I'm here. I hear you. You know, try not to offer too much commentary. Can come around on, on you. Um, and so it's, it's the negativity and I, I wish we could find a way to, to get rid of a lot of the negativity. And, and as we all know, education right now is in a, in a kind of a weird, weird spot right now.

[00:50:54] So if I can stay positive , man.

[00:50:59] Fonz: There you go. [00:51:00] All right. Good answer. All right. Question number two. If you could have a billboard with anything on it, what would it be? And.

[00:51:09] Jared: All right, so I've thought of this. I may need to get with Georgina to figure out how to draw this or to create it, but I am thinking a billboard, kind of like you remember.

[00:51:20] You remember Heman? You remember the old cartoon Heman? Yeah. Okay, so Heman, you know, he's got the sword and he says, I've got the power. Well, mine would be. Similar, maybe a teacher holding, holding up a, a, a Chromebook or you know, some kind of device or whatever. And, and to say you have the power to empower students to leverage technology in creative and impactful ways.

[00:51:46] Um, something like that. ?

[00:51:49] Fonz: No, that's a great billboard, honestly. And I can see that as those billboards that kind. You know, kind of pop out, like there's that extra little cutout, you know, so then you can actually see the hand coming out, and then you can [00:52:00] go ahead and read that. And, you know, you do have the power and teachers do have the power to empower.

[00:52:04] So I love the way that you put that. That's very well said. All right. Jared, last pulling

[00:52:10] Jared: them out is pulling that out of them. You know, that's, that's a great part about being a coach is like when you see them feel empowered and really start to take on challenges, you're like, This, this was worth everything.

[00:52:22] Excellent.

[00:52:23] Fonz: All right, last question, Jared. Let's say that, uh, Jared Johnson started his, uh, EdTech podcast and I was your guest on your show. So what would be one question you'd like to ask me?

[00:52:37] Jared: All right, so, um, I would ask you what are your two wishes for education in your district? Uh, That you have for your students.

[00:52:49] So two, two wishes. in the world of education that you live in, that you, that you can influence directly?

[00:52:56] Fonz: Ooh, that I can influence directly. Okay. I thought you like wishes, like, oh [00:53:00] man. If I could have anything . All right. So let's see. Okay, number one. Oh, I completely agree with you and I'm gonna piggyback off of what you're saying is that I wish my district would do more to empower students, um, by allowing them to be.

[00:53:17] So one of the things that we've noticed, and I had this conversation I think maybe a year ago or a little bit more than a year ago with Tisha Panio, that we noticed that at least here in Texas from third grade to maybe about ninth grade, um, students kind of lose that little sense of creativity because from third grade on it's state testing every single year.

[00:53:38] So everything is kind of centered around that, and it's more teacher-centered. That's student-centered. So a lot more student-centered approach. That's one thing that I know that we can influence by just training teachers and you know, allowing them to learn, to create lessons and experiences for students in different ways that can be delivered in a more [00:54:00] student-centered approach.

[00:54:01] And my next wish would be probably just. People taking risks. Don't be afraid to be a risk taker when it comes to, you know, empowering your students or even em empowering yourself in a classroom. As a teacher, my biggest risk was going into a lesson, not knowing everything as far as the tech that I wanted to implement.

[00:54:26] However, with the basics of showing kids, this is what I would love for you to produce. Then they came back with something else that was way better than I expected and I ended up learning from them so much. Like you said, where, you know, my first and second period taught me the most. By fourth block. I seemed like the expert, but I was really learning from them.

[00:54:48] So those would, that would be my wish. Number two. So number. Allow students to be more creative. Number two, be more of a risk taker in the classroom and allow students to grow and learn from your [00:55:00] students. So that's really what, what I would love. So that's a great question Jared .

[00:55:04] Jared: One more. To piggyback on that, what would be one wish you have for education across the United States?

[00:55:11] Fonz: uh, one wish that we can do are state assessments differently. You know, that there wouldn't be so much, you know, on that, you know, where teachers just feel so overwhelmed. So maybe just changing things up a little bit. I'm not saying that, not to assess, I mean, maybe like an end of the year assessment, you know, first semester, second semester, final exam, sort of.

[00:55:34] But you. N something that is not so high pressured where it just really can burn teachers out and burn administrators out and burn districts out. So that would be my one wish that I know I may not have the power to influence directly, but if we can get. Just ch change the state testing system. I, you know, that would be good.

[00:55:57] All right, jar. Well thank you so much. I really appreciate [00:56:00] this awesome conversation and thank you so much also for sending me that box of coffee. It was great to be able to chat and sip some coffee with you, my friend. And, uh, thank you to Loveland Coffee as well. You know, this really is the best coffee in South Carolina.

[00:56:16] All right. And so thank you so much for. That and making this conversation very energetic. So thank you Jared. I really appreciate you. Keep doing what you're doing my friend. And always remember you are making a bigger impact than you may think. You know, just, you know, everything that you do share, uh, does impact all of us outside over here, you know, in a very positive way.

[00:56:38] So thank you. Thank you. Uh, as always, I also wanna thank, uh, Georgina also for joining us also as well. You know, Georgina here, you know, thanks for sharing your inspiring trade craft with us. So yes, Jared, thank you so much for sharing all that great advice. I wanna thank Coach William Jeffrey as well for joining us in the chat and just making this conversation, uh, that much better.[00:57:00]

[00:57:00] As well, and for all our audience members that are gonna be, uh, catching this on the replay. Thank you as always from the bottom of my heart for making my EdTech life what it is today. As you see today, our mission is to connect educators and creators one show at a time. So please make sure you stop by our and check out this app.

[00:57:20] Episode and the other 158 other amazing episodes, uh, where you can learn so much from amazing teachers. , please make sure you stop by our merch store if you wanna contribute to our mission. We've got some great designs so you can support the podcast. So we've got sweaters, we've got lounge wear, we've got these great caps too as well.

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Jared Johnson

Jared is a former high school Social Studies teacher turned “EdTech Thinker, Tinkerer, and Coach.” He is an Instructional Technology Coach for a small private school in Columbia, South Carolina after 16 years in public school. Jared’s passion for impactful technology use in the classroom began early on in his career when he was introduced to the LCD projector and a “Smart Board.” Then he began tinkering with computers for his students to use and getting his Masters in Educational Technology in 2011.
In 2017, Jared and his school were one of the first 50 schools to join the Dynamic Learning Project, an instructional coaching research project through Google for Education, Digital Promise, and EdTechTeam, and remained with it for all three years. He has lived and breathed what a coaching model can do to impact a school community by using and leveraging technology in impactful ways.
Jared is a Google for Education Certified Coach, Trainer, and Innovator. Jared is passionate about empowering teachers to not be afraid of technology integration in teaching and learning, but to use it to innovate their practices to impact student learning in meaningful ways through coaching, mentoring, & speaking at conferences.