Technology Integration Vision Statement

“We believe that students learn by doing, and they are the most engaged when they are doing…. The goal here is for students to have the ability to think critically, and communicate clearly, with an advanced level of preparedness for the academic and career paths that await them beyond these walls.” — Jesse Bean, Impact Academy of Arts and Technology (McKenna, 2014).

 

The term “technology integration” can be misleading.  Although one may believe that the focus may be technology and technical support, the true emphasis is students’ learning and supporting their learning with technology.  Rather than a set of devices being the focal point, the culture and strategies made available through the technology is more important.  For example, technology makes it possible for both students and teachers to take different roles in the classroom.  Students are encouraged to take control of their learning, while teachers become facilitators, advisors, or guides for students’ learning.  With these changes within the teacher-student relationship, teachers are able to reach more students and learning is more impactful and lasting to the student (Shaffner, 2007a).  Technology unlocks opportunities for students to explore content at a greater and deeper level, often times in a real life context.  Collaboration with classmates or even experts, in or outside the classroom walls, is made possible through online communication.  Integration allows students and teachers to create environments adapted for personalized growth and learning. These environments are “necessary for students to develop the skills to succeed in college, career, and life”, and may “effectively address the opportunity gap” of low-income communities (McKenna, 2014)

The problem, however, is that simply handing technology to teachers, students, or both will not bring out these changes.  A student’s familiarity with technology will not guarantee that they know how to use it for learning.  Although the teacher may no longer be the “sage on the stage,” their knowledge and expertise is a crucial component to the students’ success.  Students must be taught how to use technology to take charge of their learning appropriately, responsibly, and effectively (Shaffner, 2007b).  The proper use of technology in the learning process goes beyond technical knowledge; it must foster a culture of risk-taking, leadership, collaboration, exploration, revision, and creativity.  Students are given the opportunity to explore and solve problems, model real life data, and create products to demonstrate unique solutions.  This heightened learning process has proven in research to diminish behavioral issues and increase engagement (Edutopia Team, 2008).

Technology integration strategies are based on the research of both directed and constructivist learning theories.  Remarkably, Roblyer explains how these two opposite viewpoints can be used together to solve different problems, based on the specific needs of the students.  The Constructivist Model supports the student-centered learning environment and the development of 21st century skills.  Students are not only expected to collect data, but also summarize or even synthesize new data in creative ways. However, the Direct Model provides strategies necessary to develop more traditional educational needs, such as working on foundational or prerequisite concepts, or rote work.  These models, together, allow technology integration and educational technology to be used to support student learning in many areas, including engagement, experimentation, communication, skill practice, and critical thinking (Roblyer, 2016).

 

References:

Edutopia Team. (2008, March 16). “Why Integrate Technology into the Curriculum?: The Reasons Are Many.” Retrieved July 5, 2015, from http://www.edutopia.org/technology-integration-introduction

McKenna, B. (2014, January 28). “Student-centered learning approaches are effective in closing the opportunity gap.” Retrieved July 5, 2015, from https://edpolicy.stanford.edu/news/articles/1137

Roblyer, M. (2016). Integrating educational technology into teaching (Seventh ed., pp. 49-50). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education.

Shaffner, M. (2007, November 5). “Why Do We Need Technology Integration?” Retrieved July 5, 2015, from http://www.edutopia.org/technology-integration-guide-importance

Shaffner, M. (2007, November 5). “How to Integrate Technology.” Retrieved July 5, 2015, from http://www.edutopia.org/technology-integration-guide-implementation

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3 thoughts on “Technology Integration Vision Statement

  1. Tyler, I couldn’t agree more that EFFECTIVE use of technology must “foster a culture of risk-taking, leadership, collaboration, exploration, revision, and creativity.” Too often, I think teachers let their fear of the unknown hamstring their use of technology for innovative experiences, and they resort to using technology as a substitute for the same types of instructional activities they have been doing for years. For example, I know teachers who use Google Docs for individual student writing. Students print out their initial draft and make editing marks on the paper, then retype it into a separate document for their final draft. These teachers are convinced they are integrating technology well, and believe that their use of technology will aid student motivation and engagement. When I can convince teachers to step outside their comfort zones to use the collaborative affordances of Google Docs and the publishing power of the web, they really see the impact on their students. It can be a slow process to get to that point!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Support is key. Human contact is key. Many teachers are afraid of technology and do not know all the possibilities it has. On the flip side some teachers that like technology only use it for the sake of using it. This is where the support role comes in. If teachers are willing to have a support person help them the result is almost always positive for the students.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post Tyler. I touched on directed and constructivist learning theories to support technology integration as well. I agree that simply handing over technology to teachers and/or students will not yield great results. There are times where teachers need to take a directed approach and guide students through learning activities, and there are also times where students need to figure things out for themselves taking a constructivist approach.

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