The phrase “integrating technology in classroom” is a common phrase in education world. In its simplest terms and application, integrating technology is not taking an old lesson plan and posting it online for students to access and complete it using traditional means. It is redesigning the lesson so that students can accomplish tasks using technology tools. With the introduction of the Common Core Standards for K-12 in 44 states, one of the key innovations and advances in the PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) (2012) design includes:
“Uses state-of-the-art technology in all components of the system to create online assessments that are authentic and engaging for students, provide educators with timely and actionable data, and are cost effective and efficient.”
The statement implies that, with the Common Core State Standards technology integration should not stop at instructions but should include better use of technology in assessments. (PARCC (March 2012), PARCC Progress Update, Retrieved from http://www.parcconline.org/sites/parcc/file /PARCC%20Progress%20Report%20-%20FINAL.pdf)
The following video is a basic explanation of some “why’s” of technology integration in classroom: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EP_yGEH6zaY&feature=colike. Technology integration requires planning for purchase, integration, and evaluation. The following recommendations would help to address the ambiguity that is prevalent in education institutions:
1. Administrators require technology training. During evaluation and “walk through” instructors are expected to demonstrate that they are using technology to instruct, and students are using technology to learn. Administrators are given a rubric that instructs them how to evaluate evidence of application of technology in teaching and learning but the question is, can the administrator be able to design a lesson that integrate technology? To be in a position to assist teachers, they (administrators) should learned how to design technology-based instructions.
2.Creating technology training that are effective; includes hands-on activities on designing lessons that integrate technology and are aligned with content and technology standards. Instructors require skills on how to plan technology-based activities that are differentiated to meet the needs of all students. For free courses refer to: http://www.openculture.com/freeonlinecourses
3. Planning for the technology tool before purchase. Frugality should be a virtue in education world when purchasing is concerned. This will save money, time, and unnecessary trainings for equipments that will be used sparingly or will never be used. Resource for planning for technology: Whitehead, B. M., Jensen, D. F. N., & Boschee, F. (2003). Planning for technology: A guide for school administrators, technology coordinators, and curriculum leaders. Corwin Press, Inc.
Allowing time between implementation of new tools and software. The duration will be utilized for follow-up and to give instructors sufficient time to implement and evaluate effectiveness (to transmit the necessary content) of lessons taught using the tools. Instructors can fall prey of “good” lessons that are taught using all the sophisticated technology tools that just entertain students. Technology Façade is a revelation of the status quo in schools; this tool assist technology teams in planning, implementing, and evaluating technology initiative (Tomei, 2007). (Technology Façade checklist: http://center.uoregon.edu/conferences/ISTE/uploads/NECC2007/KEY_40173033/Kozloski_Facade_Checklist_0400Tomei.pdf ).
4. Frequent assessment for technology literacy. Assessment should be formal and informal. Not all students are capable of using technology as a learning tool; the fact most students are “digital natives” does not mean that they know how to learn using the available technology tools. Technology literacy should be formally assessed at least twice a year-at the beginning and the end of the year. Informal assessment should be ongoing as students are engaged in learning using technology tools. (Jonathan D., Becker, J.D., Hodge, C. A. & Sepelyak, M, W.
(June 2010) Assessing Technology Literacy: The Case For An Authentic, Project-Based Learning Approach. Retrieved from http://genyes.org/media/freeresources/assessing_tech_literacy_whitepaper.pdf)
5. Acceptable user policy. Different institution have established a working AUP to serve the stakeholders. Schools should expect student to learn AUP and be responsible digital citizen. Businesses are taking major initiatives in informing their employees about AUP. For instance, Edge Ware compiled the 3 E’s of Electronic risk management among other rules. In a nutshell they advise companies to “Establish comprehensive clearly written Internet, P2P, email, IM , social media and blog rules, policies and procedures for all employees, from the summer intern to the CEO, Educate employees, and Enforce the written rules.” (http://www.edgewave.com/ga/aup.asp?oc=1209&gclid=CMzV8J6rzLACFQ0q7Aodc1LjXQ). The Light Speed System AUP involves setting up goals in the foremost (http://www.lightspeedsystems.com/resources/Acceptable-Use-Policies.aspx):
- To set forth clear expectations about proper use of school technology.
- To reflect the school’s educational philosophies and values.
- To be flexible and adaptable as guidelines and technologies change.
- To educate students about topics such as netiquette, cyberbullying, and Internet safety.
- To legally protect the school.
- To protect the students and other users.
Schools should take firm initiative similar to the business world by involving all the stakeholders, empowering them, and holding them responsible.
Technology planning and integration is work in progress!