The Why, What and How of Technology Integration

11/13/2013 12:00:00 AM
This article is cross posted on the EdTech Innovations blog.
 
With that in mind, and that fact that we are getting bombarded by ed tech companies all the time, we need to have some guidelines to follow when it comes to integrating new technologies. I recently attended a symposium that reinforced some standard, and maybe forgotten, guidelines to follow for the integration of technology both in the classroom and district. The keynote speaker, Joshua Koen of Passaic Public Schools in NJ, did a great job outlining some important things to remember before we purchase and integrate technology into the classroom. Here are some of his points with my own added:
 
1. You need to have a good reason why.
If you can’t specifically answer why you want to integrate a technology into your curriculum you need to go back and rethink your process. With shrinking budgets and more demands on all staff you have to do your homework and not be won over by the hype that technology vendors create in their products. We need to approach it with a critical eye and look at marketing campaigns with the same media literacy skills we try to impart in our students. From the top down, we have to make sure that it will improve instruction and that we can’t use an existing technology, in an innovative way, that does the same thing. We live in a more technologically open world now than ever before, with lots of great free tools, so we should really have good reason why before asking to purchase new classroom technologies.
 
2. You have to know what you want.
As the saying goes “Sometimes you don’t know, what you don’t know.” We have to be sure that we know exactly what we want to accomplish in our classrooms to make the biggest impact. Teachers have to be researchers and work with their technology and curriculum people to get the right fit for what they want their students to accomplish. Have your administrators or tech director call vendors and ask for demo units that will allow you to run a proof of concept trial before making the purchase. This is really important since we all know that we don’t always get what is advertised, or it’s just not the right fit. I have seen this happen too many times and it creates frustration and the technology ends up not being used. Only the classroom teacher can know if it’s the right fit, so don’t force it, and ask the vendors for those demos.
 
3. Have a plan for how to make it happen.
We all know how important planning in education is for success. Looking back at the first step and remembering the reason why you want the technology will drive the planning process. Teachers need to collaborate in their professional networks, and look at best practices to help inform their decisions and instruction. If you do make the purchase, put the time in on the back end with professional development and training before you introduce it to the students . Start slow and pilot it with a chosen few students to give you feedback since they are the end users that should matter most. Most of all innovate as you progress and leverage this new technology to go beyond it’s initial purpose. Just like any tool a multi-tasker is much better than an expensive, specialized, single use one. Finally, by all means share your experiences with your colleagues and your Personal/Professional Learning Networks (PLN).
 
By following some common sense guidelines you can save yourself, and your district time, money and frustration. You can also make the most of the district's funds, improve instruction, and create an authentic and collaborative learning environment that will help you and your students achieve those professional development and student growth goals and objectives.
If your school district is anything like mine you have been deeply entrenched in creating Professional Growth Plans (PGP) and Student Growth Objectives (SGO) for the better part of last and this school year. With all of this busyness we can lose focus of the continuing need for professional development and research to improve our craft. It’s time that school leaders let us all get back to what we do best, teach, no matter what evaluation model you may follow.

comments powered by Disqus
Tweets
Photo GalleriesView All Galleries >
Acer C720-2844 Chromebook

(www.acer.com) The Acer C720-2844 Chromebook model delivers speedy performance, a quick boot time of seven seconds, and a matte anti-glare display tha...

Britannica ImageQuest

(www.britannica.com) Britannica Digital Learning has upgraded ImageQuest, a resource for schools and libraries that provides nearly three million rig...

ClassFlow

(www.classflow.com) Promethean has released ClassFlow, a free, all-in-one, cloud-based teaching tool that lets teachers create and deliver interactive...

Adobe Voice

(www.adobe.com) Adobe has released Adobe Voice, an animated video app for the iPad that lets users create and share video stories. The app incorporate...

DeskBoard

(www.boxlight.com) The BOXLIGHT DeskBoard mobile cart adjusts both height and tilt for the P8 ultra short throw interactive projector on a white surfa...

Core 36M

(www.bretford.com) Bretford has introduced Core 36M, a 36-unit charging cart that is optimized for Chromebooks but which also supports most tablets, l...

Edmentum Sensei

(www.edmentum.com) Edmentum Sensei is a mobile optimized solution that helps administrators visualize and track overall school, teacher, and student p...

HMH Player

(www.hmhco.com) HMH has released HMH Player, a new native app for iOS and Google Chrome that streamlines the learning experience for improved digital ...

Juice Power System

(www.bretford.com) Bretford has unveiled an easy-to-use modular power system with exchangeable power components. The Juice Power System uses unique &#...

LightSail

(www.lightsailed.com) LightSail Education has announced a literacy accelerator that combines books with in-text embedded assessments and real-time dat...

myON

(www.myon.com) myON has expanded its digital library to include a set of literacy tools to further personalize the reading experience for students whi...

Nervanix Clarity

(www.nervanix.com) Nervanix has released Clarity, an application that monitors student attention levels as they study and guides them to revisit conce...

MathBall

(www.robotslab.com) RobotsLAB has introduced MathBall, a smart sensor basketball and tablet system that offers curricula in algebra, pre-calculus, phy...

MobileAsset.EDU

(www.waspbarcode.com) Wasp Barcode’s MobileAsset.EDU solutions include everything administrators need to account for their assets, from software...

OpenEd Assessment Creation Tool

(www.opened.io) OpenEd has announced a free tool that lets teachers easily create assessments with the question types required by Common Core standard...

Panasonic TH-80LFB70U

(www.panasonic.com) Panasonic’s TH-80LFB70U interactive LED display features high-speed, multi-touch, interactive capabilities to promote partic...

penveu interactive display system

(www.penveu.com) The penveu interactive display system is a handheld device that turns projectors and large screen displays into interactive whiteboar...

PresentationPro

(www.califone.com) Califone has updated its PresentationPro speaker. The PA310 readily connects with computers, LCD projectors, mobile devices, intera...

PowerSync+ Mobile Companion App

(www.bretford.com) Bretford Manufacturing, Inc. has announced the availability of the companion app for its PowerSync+ enabled charge and sync produc...

PureCharge Carts and Stations for iPad

(www.bretford.com) Bretford Manufacturing, Inc. has debuted the PureCharge family of iPad and iPad mini charging carts and stations. By offering pre-i...

ProQuest Research Companion

(www.proquest.com) ProQuest’s new information literacy product, Research Companion, offers videos that guide users through the research process,...

Sphere2 & Class Send Student Engagement Software Platform

(www.averusa.com) AVer Information has developed a Student Engagement platform, providing teachers and students with the tools to transmit document ca...

TabChargeCT2

(www.averusa.com) AVer has released the TabChargeCT2 charge cart solution, which can hold up to 40 Chromebooks, iPads, Android or Windows tablets, lap...

VoiceLift with Instant Alert and Emergency Video Monitoring

(www.extron.com) The Instant Alert function of the Extron VoiceLift Microphone, combined with a PoleVault, WallVault, or PlenumVault classroom AV sys...

SMART Board 6065

(www.smarttech.com) The SMART Board 6065 is an ultra HD, 4K interactive flat panel that offers collaborative capabilities while ensuring lessons run s...

Gaggle Unity Partner Program

(www.gaggle.net) The new Gaggle Unity Partner Program provides free data integration services for all educational technology vendors. Through the Gagg...

Waterford Early Learning, Reading, Math & Science

(www.waterford.org) Waterford Early Learning Cloud can be used at home or to supplement lessons in classrooms. It can also be used for individual adap...

NetSupport School

(www.netsupportschool.com) The latest version of NetSupport School allows teachers to monitor and collaborate with any mix of technology. An enhanced ...

Camtasia

(www.techsmith.com/camtasia) TechSmith’s Camtasia gives teachers the tools to record lessons, create videos, and engage their audiences. Educato...

Panasonic 3E

(www.panasonic.com) Intel has teamed up with Panasonic to announce the Panasonic 3E, which uses the Intel Education 2-in-1 reference design. Designed ...