Monday, June 3, 2019

Black Panther Style Tech Coaching

In 2018, Marvel's Black Panther took the world by storm. It easily went down as one of the most successful box office draws of all time. One part of the movie got me really "EDUthinking". In the movie, the fictional nation of Wakanda was blessed with a mineral called vibranium. Vibranium, in the world of Marvel, is the strongest metal on earth and extremely versatile. Vibranium was naturally infused into the plant life of Wakanda and it allowed the Wakandan people to develop an extremely technologically advanced society. Their technology is far more advanced than any current nation.

Infusion of vibranium into Wakandan landscape

What really struck me was the how vibranium was infused and integrated within all of Wakanda's technology, clothing and lifestyle. It was not an extra thing. It was part of their lives and culture. This is a great metaphor for proper edtech integration. Too often, tech coaches are met with resistance from teachers and admin because edtech is seen as an extra thing on their plates. It is seen as something separate from pedagogy and lesson design. Edtech is often something on an administrator's checklist when they evaluate educators. They look for surface level usage of a device and check the box.

This view of edtech is not edtech integration. Edtech, to maximize effectiveness, must be infused and integrated the way vibranium was infused into the lives, culture, clothing and technology of Wakanda. When planning learning experiences (I'm not a fan of the term lesson planning), edtech can be infused, like vibranium, by designing with the 4 C's in mind. My colleague, and wife, Katherine Goyette always says "If you plan with the 4 C's in mind, the tech will take care of itself. Lead with learning, never with tech".

Plan your learning target and see how the 4 C's will help meet that target. It is here where the tech will take care of itself. It is here where you have the true value of having a tech coach. Tech coaches will provide the guidance and resources to help you address the 4 C's. Seeing the learning target through the lens of the 4 C's allows for organic, meaningful tech integration. It is this process that will allow you to integrate and infuse edtech the way vibranium was in Wakanda.

This approach helped me tremendously as a tech coach. A middle school ELA/History teacher I coached came to me struggling to get students to write an essay about how the Constitution helped defend against tyranny. This essay was based on analysis of primary sources from the DBQ Project. The teacher said students in years past struggled with analysis because they could not fully comprehend the meaning of tyranny.

As I coached her, we focused on the critical thinking portion of the 4 C's. We discussed ways to get students to use critical thinking to develop their own examples of tyranny. We looked for ways to get students to make a real life to content connection to create deeper understanding of tyranny. We knew this was essential in order to get students to analyze the primary sources and write the essay.

In this local ABC affiliate feature, you will see part
of the coaching session mentioned below

It was in this conversation where we decided to use YouTube to show kids cartoon examples of tyranny. From there, they collaborated, communicated and created by researching their own YouTube examples of tyranny, discussed it and wrote rationales about why their chosen videos were examples of tyranny. A few weeks later, I followed up with this teacher and she was beaming with excitement on how much improved their essays were coming along compared to years past. Their essays and analysis showed much more clear understanding of tyranny. This improvement came from the 4 C's coaching approach and allowed the edtech integration to be organically infused like Wakandan vibranium.

1 comment:

  1. This is brilliant - I LOVE your vibranium analogy (need I say, Whatever it takes!)