By Gary Shattuck, CIO Advisor
In my last post, I expressed a belief that technology integration is dead. I am even more convinced today that my belief is correct. Every year for the last four years, I surveyed all my teachers about how they use technology in their teaching practices. Every year, 99% of my teachers say they integrate technology. When I asked additional questions concerning how they integrate technology, a majority indicate they only use technology superficially. For example, teachers who lecture regularly now lecture with PowerPoint. This is called first-order change, or change that reinforces current practices. For the promise of technology in education to ever to be achieved, teachers need to adopt technology at the second-order change level, which is change that is transformational. In Educational Technology Research and Development,Peggy Ertmer calls this internalized change because this is change in a teacher’s beliefs about teaching and learning.
For teachers to change their beliefs and practices, they have to believe that they need to change. Thomas Friedman said it best in The World is Flat (opens in new tab): “People don’t change when you tell them they should. They change when they tell themselves they must.” Teachers must be convinced that implementing constructivism pedagogy will improve student learning because when teachers are convinced they will tell themselves that they must change. Unless and until this occurs, technology will continue to be integrated at only the first-order change level. Second-order change means that teachers adopt a student-centered classroom and constructivism pedagogy. As Audrey Watters wrote in her blog, Hack Education, on July 31, 2013, “so much seems to merely digitize… old classroom practices rather than facilitate transformative ones.”
To accomplish transformational change, I believe that we need to focus less on the technology and more on the lessons. If the lesson is embedded with technology and is based upon a student-centered classroom, then the technology will be used transformationally; it will be reinforcing a meaningful lesson. The focus should be on creating meaningful lessons, not on integrating technology.
Gary Shattuck is the director of technology and media services at Newton County Schools in Covington, Georgia.