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Tech Tip: The best instructional technology specialists say ‘Yes!’

3 min read


Tech Tips is a content collaboration between SmartBrief Education and GreyED Solutions.

Instructional technology specialists/coaches play an important role in schools today. We ask a great deal of them. To be proficient they have to coach, model, collaborate and co-teach. They act as catalysts for change, leading, communicating and promoting best practices. They support teachers with professional development, resources and opportunities to grow their own professional learning networks; they nudge their colleagues past their comfort zones. They invest lots of time and effort in their own professional growth and learning. Instructional technology coaches can’t be content in simply knowing yesterday’s tools — they need to master today’s and be on the lookout for tomorrow’s.

But what do the best ones do? What makes them even more effective? They say YES. Even when what is proposed isn’t possible as requested, they say yes. I love this concept and I know a great way we can accomplish it, leading gently to a solution rather than to a wall.

“Yes” is the more daring answer. “Yes” says they endorse risk-taking, exploring and advancing innovation. “Yes” says they are willing to clear the path. “Yes” means they are ready to take on obstacles and try to make room for new ideas and practices. “Yes” commits them to work — to partner with someone who wants to try something new. “Yes” says they’re committed to pushing beyond the status quo. “Yes” signifies that they will invest in someone’s idea and work to help them accomplish it.

The best technology coaches take teacher’s ideas and elevate them and make them reality. They use their own confidence and positive attitude to inspire teachers to keep reaching. “Yes” empowers them as change agents. They say yes.

Jean Tower is the director of technology for the Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough, a regional school district in Massachusetts with ten schools serving students in grades PK to 12. Ms. Tower is responsible for all aspects of technology in the schools.

Ms. Tower’s primary interest is in effective integration of technology in the curriculum and in creating the essential conditions to enable that to happen. She has more than 20 years experience in K-12 educational technology, a BS in Computer Science, a Master’s degree in Critical and Creative Thinking and a CAGS in Educational Administration from Boston University. She is currently the chair of The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), a national organization for school technology leaders. Ms. Tower is also an expert advisor to the Alliance For Excellent Education’s Project 24 and writes a blog about technology and education at