Yes, but how?

I have so much to learn! I figure that just like the kids it is helpful to have a baseline to know where I am growing from, so here is what I know to be true for myself today:

Meaning:

  • Mary Beth Hertz writes in What Does Technology Integration Mean?, “To me, the term means that technology is not taught as a separate class, but integrated into the classroom.” I agree. 

    Photo Credit: GrungeTextures via Compfight cc
    Photo Credit: GrungeTextures via Compfight cc
  • In Overcoming Technology Barriers, Susie Boss writes, “‘Most important is a supportive environment,’ says Knee, “You won’t know about a technology until you start using it. Just go and do it.” Fortunately such exploration is supported at my school.
  • Edutopia’s Why Integrate Technology into the Curriculum states, “In particular, it must support four key components of learning: active engagement, participation in groups, frequent interaction and feedback, and connection to real-world experts.” I agree. 

I have the essential ingredients for effective technology intergration to be possible. 

Room to Grow:

  • Mary Beth Hertz comments in What Does Technology Integration Mean?, “Therefore, technology integration may not look the way we want it to until our students move beyond familiarity with tools and into being able to choose the correct tool for the job.” My students remain in the familiarity phase, as do I. We need to challenge each other to move into the selection phase. 

    Photo Credit: snlsn via Compfight cc
    Photo Credit: snlsn via Compfight cc
  • Edutopia’s post What is Successful Technology Integration? states, “Successful technology integration is achieved when the use of technology is: Routine and transparent, accessible and readily available for the task at hand, supporting the curricular goals, and helping the students to effectively reach their goals.” We are solid with the first two pieces but have room to improve on the second two going forward.
  • According to Mary Beth Hertz’s Levels of Technology Integration, I would say my students and I are resting atComfortable: Technology is used in the classroom on a fairly regular basis. Students are comfortable with a variety of tools and often use these tools to create projects that show understanding of content.”

    https://rallen.coetail.com/files/2015/04/imprint.jpg
    https://rallen.coetail.com/files/2015/04/imprint.jpg
  • Punya Mishra and Matthew Koehler write in Using the TPACK Framework, “Such repurposing is possible only when the teacher knows the rules of the game and is fluent enough to know which rules to bend, which to break, and which to leave alone.” This is where I would like to be someday, able to repurpose. 
  • In Jeff Utech’s blogpost, he wonders, “What if we truly acted like technology was just a part of us, part of education, part of educating students today? What if we start embedding it and stop integrating it?” This is succinctly my reality. Technology is a part of my students, I see it as a part of education, and I want it to be an embedded part of educating my students every day. 

I need/want to expand my knowledge of technology resources in order to enable my students to choose the most appropriate tool to show their learning. 

By this point, are you thinking what I am thinking . . . How do I do this? How do I sharpen my own skills and knowledge enough so I can become that repurposer for my students?

3 Replies to “Yes, but how?”

  1. Such a clear post, which explains exactly your situation and where you want to go. Your final questions got me thinking. How to sharpen our own technology skills? I think the answer lies in next week’s topic – gamification and a play based approach to learning. If we approach technology with the fear of breaking something, getting something wrong, messing something up then we struggle to improve our use. But, if we play, and don’t worry about messing up (because really, we can always factory reset) then we can truly discover new and interesting apps, programs, extensions, tools etc. I know that there are many systematic ways of learning to use programs – online training for one, but really I’ve found just playing with it the best way of learning. That, and Googling whatever I want to do, as well as using Twitter as a PLN. Every time I see a new app or tool that sound useful, I go and play with it. Playing in App Store, Chrome Store and Google Play is also good. Add apps and extensions and mess with them to see what they do – you can always uninstall later.
    I can also highly recommend attending a Google Apps for Education Summit – fantastic for an introduction to new tools to play with!

  2. I appreciate and agree with the fact that you DO have the ingredients for successful tech integration possibilities in the future: You seem to be aware of best practices of tech integration and agree with them, and your school is supportive about trying new tech in the classroom, even if it is just in the experimental phase. That does make you Comfortable, and I will be very interested in following your journey to reach your goal of successful repurposing.

    I like that you link to Jeff Utecht’s article, because I like his idea that tech should be embedded instead of integrated, because integration means that you have to find a place where it will fit- this is how I see a lot of tech used by some teachers: they look at their units or lessons and then have to find a fit where they can use a tech tool. It would be much better if teachers had the idea of embedding tech while they are planning, and including it naturally and authentically. That is where I am trying to head in the future. Of course, that will also require a lot of post-reflecting on whether the tools are the best ones to use and if their use was successful in achieving the curricular goals, and making changes if and when they are not. Tech coaches are also useful in this area, as they can help with the planning and embedding from the ground up.

    I also think that sometimes we need to look to the students for their ideas; students often are aware of tools that we may not be, so if we inform them of the learning or curricular goal and ask them for ideas that might help drive the goal towards success, they may have some ideas that we may not have thought of.

    Great post, and like I said, I look forward to following you in this progress!

  3. Love this reflection, Rebecca! So glad so many of the readings for this week resonated with you and have provided a good foundation for you to work from. I think the how can be effectively supported by your tech facilitator/coach at JIS. They are the people who can see where you are, and hear your goals, and then support you in that process. I like to start with the curriculum planning process – what do you want students to know and be able to do – and then work backward from there. Maybe an invite to your tech coach is a next step?

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