Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Technology Integration

I read an interesting article today (Technology Integration Guide) that presents practical tips for seamless integration and what it "looks like" in a classroom. The original form of the article was posted in 2007, but an updated version is making the twitter rounds today. 

According to this article, technology integration is achieved when the use of technology is:
  • Routine and transparent
  • A child or a teacher doesn't stop to think that he or she is using a technology tool
  • Is accessible and readily available for the task at hand
  • Technology tools support the curricular goals, and help the students to effectively reach their goals
  • And students are more actively engaged in projects when technology integration is a seamless part of the learning process. (Edutopia, 2007)
While I agree with the points made, I think that they only allude to a crucial element of seamless technology integration--it's not about the technology. What makes students actively engaged? What makes students able to move seamlessly from one form and mode of technology to the next and stay focused on the lesson? How is a classroom transparent? It seems that this list misses the teaching pedagogy behind the use of the technology--a crucial point in mentoring teachers to use technology in their classrooms. Technology doesn't make a better teacher, but technology can enhance what is already happening in a master teachers classroom.

Take "routine and transparent". Sure, technology can make this easier--giving parents and guardians a voice in the classroom, allowing ownership to foster in not only students, but in the community surrounding the classroom as well. There are hundreds of websites that provide collaboration and transparency of a teacher to the rest of the world (not sure a teacher exists in our country whose grades are not posted online for parents and guardians to access). Yet, a solid teaching practice is to foster relationships between classroom stakeholders. Giving technology to a teacher who does not value these relationships won't make the classroom routine and transparent. It's the backstage belief of the teacher in the necessity of fostering community that makes the onstage movement towards a routine and transparent use of technology.

Each of these bulleted ideas must be discussed through the lens of the kind of teaching skill that gets a class to this point. That's what we need to foster in our teachers--the technology will come when the desire to teach effectively becomes the focus!

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