Tech Integration

There is much out there describing tech integration – what it is and what it isn’t – and the shape that technology is taking in the classroom.  Some key words you’ll come across include:  routine, transparent, daily, ongoing, continuous.  Definitions abound including that of wikipedia.  Here is one of my best fit definitions:   

Seamless integration is when students are not only using technology daily, but have access to a variety of tools that match the task at hand and provide them the opportunity to build a deeper understanding of content.“ Edutopia, 2007 

As an educator, I’ve spent significant time overthinking the definition in an attempt to figure out if I am really doing IT <tech integration>.  I’ve spent many hours thinking about it and wondering ‘Am I integrating?’ thinking to myself that there would be some magical moment that I would suddenly feel like… I was NOW integrating.

I would beat myself up thinking I was not doing enough, not planned enough, not current enough and failed to see that all this time I’ve been on an integration continuum.  There is not a discrete point in time (from yesterday to today) that I will be able to say that yesterday I was not integrating but today I am, because it really is too fluid and multi-faceted to think one act or characteristic of integration would be enough.

What I can say is that it will keep changing as what satisfies me today will not be enough tomorrow; that the goal post will keep moving – again it is not a discrete point in time.  Going back to the definition, I gravitate towards this one as it is vague enough and open to interpretation and focuses on deeper understanding – which is the goal with or without technology.

But to satisfy myself, I’ve created my own self assessment around tech integration and I think these points will stay true even though other things may change (like the tools I use, the planning of the use of technology etc).  If these six things are happening I know that I have the foundations in place for technology usage which enhances learning.  These are my key indicators…

  • Technology usage happens on a routine basis.  It is not on the schedule.
  • I am the primary technology teacher.
  • The use of technology in my classroom supports the school mission and our student-generated classroom goals.
  • Students don’t ask ‘Can I do this on my computer?’
  • Students are creators and consumers and connectors.
  • Students use a variety of tools to investigate, organize, collaborate, communicate, create their knowledge, skills, and understandings.

Other tools that are helpful to evaluate technology integration are the SAMR model, and the TPACK Framework.  The SAMR model is my preferred choice due to its four levels.  But it wasn’t enough until I started to look at it with concrete examples in mind. I struggled  to think of my own examples of redefinition and therefore this level was put way out of my reach.  This was until I read of lessons transformed through SAMR and practical examples on the difference between transformation vs enhancement  that I could see that I was already well on the way.

The power of technology integration lies really in the hands of the users – that is the teachers and students.  It is going to look different in every single classroom, in every single school as it is the sum of the philosophies of the teacher, the school vision and values, and the current context.  

What does technology integration look like in my classroom?

  • Students in charge of establishing agreements for tech usage
  • Students choosing from a variety of tools to learn
  • Students choosing from a variety of tools to share their learning
  • Students learning from each other

What are my next steps

  • students using technology to connect with a global audience
  • look for new ways to redefine old lessons and units
  • students continue to build their tech toolbox
Photo by author.
Image by author.

 

Edutopia. (2007, November 5).  What is Successful Technology Integration.:  George Lucas Educational Foundation.  Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/technology-integration-guide-description

 

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