Friday, December 9, 2011

The Technology Integration Answer (Well Almost...)

Earlier this year our group adopted the TPACK model of technology integration.

What is TPACK you ask?

Basically, it takes the approach that planning for technology integration shouldn't be an event. It should be something that adds to what we are already doing. Through the use of Activity Types, teachers can take the activities they are already doing and match them up with appropiate technologies that may or may not work, depending on the context of learning.

You can view this presentation to learn more.

According to the feedback we have gotten from the folks who have embraced it has been overwhelmingly positive. Being able to take the content (which is king by the way) and the activities we always use or want to use with our kids and matching them up easily with the technology has made it much simpler to plan. And the Activity Types Sheets are great to keep in the plan book so they are always there.

Recently I came across something that you can also use to make technology integration easier for you and your staff. The Technology Integration Matrix uses examples for subject area and grade level to attempt to show how technology integration can work in any type of environment.

There are actually 2 that you can take a look at.

The first is the original from The Florida Center For Instructional Technology at the University of South Florida.

The other is an adaption from Northern Arizona University.

(You will want to visit each of the sites where these live because both matrices are interactive.)

Down the left hand side of each is the learning environment. Active, collaborative, goal centered are just a few. Across the top are the levels of integration, moving from entry to transformational, left to right. So you match up where you feel you are. Maybe you are a newbie. Maybe you have kids using technology (rather than passively engaging with it) and you are at the entry level. Go to that box, find your grade level and subject area to get examples of technology integration. Remember these are just examples to show you how it would work. Adaption is always recommended.

As you progress you move up the integration level and as your learning environment changes the types of integration change as well.

You will notice that this is just for lessons where kids are actively engaged with using technology. There is nothing here for the teacher presenting material or using technology singularly. Technology integration is about getting kids out of their seats and working hands-on with the technology to create products.

So between using the TPACK model of planning and the Technology Integration Matrix, using technology in the classroom doesn't have to be a mystery. It can be something that is pretty easy to plan for and do.
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