Welcome to this edition of #firstyearteacherme! We are collecting words of wisdom from NCCE friends, trainers, and staff to share with early career teachers and other educational professionals through our blog. Experience brings understanding, and we know that if we could do it all over again, we would all approach things in a bit of a different way.  This week, we’re chatting with Dr. David Wicks, Associate Professor and Chair of Digital Education Leadership at Seattle Pacific University.  Dr. Wicks serves on the NCCE Board of Directors!

David Then and Now

David then: “The picture was from April, 1999. I had a lot more hair then, wore glasses and weighed about 40 pounds more than I do now.  It was my second year as Director of Instructional Technology at Seattle Pacific University, and I was knee-deep in helping our School of Education launched an online master’s degree in curriculum and instruction. We decided to go with a new company called Blackboard instead of the more established WebCT for our course management system. By the way, SPU recently switched from Blackboard to Canvas.”

David now: “The second picture is from the summer of 2018 at Azusa Pacific University where I facilitated an EdCamp as part of California’s Better Together professional development event. Over 30,000 teachers participated at different sites around the state. This is one of the fun things I get to do now an Associate Professor in SPU’s School of Education. I am also the chair the Digital Education Leadership program, where I have the pleasure of working with graduate students who are will become digital leaders in their school, district, university, state, or company. I enjoy collaborating with other digital leaders and future digital leaders through my work on the NCCE Board of Directors.”

What I Really Wish I Had Known in My Early Years

“I wish I would have known about the power of learning communities. Most of the early professional development I led with faculty revolved around teaching them how to use a specific digital tool in a one-hour workshop. Some professors adopted the tool while most did not. We switched to a learning community model where we worked with smaller groups of instructors over longer periods of time. Not only did those instructors adopt the technology in meaningful ways but they became champions and coaches for their departmental peers.”

David’s Top 3 Pieces of Advice For First-Year Digital Coaches

  1. Build relationships. “Get to know the teachers and administrators you are working with before planning any professional development. Visit their schools and classrooms. Go to their meetings. Meet with them one-to-one and learn what they are doing and what they are passionate about. Learn about their students.”

    Work with the willing. “Sometimes coaches are asked to help all teachers adopt a new technology at the same time. While possible, it may be more productive to work with early adopters first and have them be advocates for the rest of the staff.”

  3. Listen. “Digital coaches know a lot about pedagogy and technology. Administrators and teachers often ask for advice at the beginning of an introductory meeting. Resist immediately sharing your ideas and instead ask questions and listen. You may find that your colleagues convince themselves of a need for change without much prompting.”

What else?

Be connected. Follow and share with like-minded peers on Twitter. Get involved in NCCE. Start or attend an Edcamp. We learn by being part of a network so get connected and participate!

The other picture is from my FitBit. My wife me one for my birthday in 2014. I try to walk 12,000 to 15,000 steps a day. I am a huge fan of walking meetings with my students and colleagues.

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