DAILY INSIGHT: Technology integration is dead, part 1!

It's time to redefine tech integration. 
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It's time to redefine tech integration. 

By Gary Shattuck, CIO Advisor

Technology integration is dead; or, at least, it should be. Why do I make such an outlandishly bold statement? I make this statement because the phrase “technology integration” has taken on a meaning that this phrase was never meant to be.

Technology integration has been the holy grail of the edtech community for the last 30 years, and yet we still have not gotten there. We have made great progress and I see technology being used every day in the classrooms in my district. It is not a matter of iftechnology is being used but how.

I have come to the conclusion that most teachers think of technology as something they add to lessons, whether it be a new lesson or a recycled lesson. That is the problem. Teachers design a lesson and then search for a technology to lie on top of it. Technology at this level becomes just window dressing; it is not integral to the lesson being taught. In other words, we are only using technology at the first order of change. So, in essence, we have corrupted the term “technology integration” to mean that technology is just superfluous, added to “engage” the students. There is no doubt the students get “engaged” with technology, but that is not the kind of engagement for which we should be striving. We need to strive for engagement that is caused by meaningful and purposeful lessons that have technology embedded within them.

I propose that we in the edtech community stop talking about “technology integration” and start talking about “technology-embedded lessons.” It is the lesson that is important and when we leave it out of our lexicon we are reinforcing the idea that first-order change, or integrating technology only at a superficial level, is the epitome of technology integration. When we teach technology professional learning we focus on teaching the technology. I, for one, am starting over. I will be teaching teachers how to create lessons that are embedded with technology; the focus will be on the lessons and trying to make them meaningful and purposeful.

Gary Shattuck is the director of technology and media services at Newton County Schools in Covington, Georgia.