Monday, May 27, 2013

How High Are You Climbing the Ladder of Educational Technology?

As the world continues to change, technology continues to change as well. Not only is it important for us as educators to teach our students how to use technology, but it is even more important for us to use it in a way that is seamlessly integrated so our students can learn the content, material, and skills that they need to learn.  This is Education Technology Integration.

When I first started my blog entitled "Climbing the Ladder of Educational Technology," I entitled it so because I envisioned myself on a journey learning about emerging educational technology.  After blogging on various educational technologies for more than seven months, I have found new meaning in my blog.  This is all relative to Educational Technology Integration.   
When I reflect upon Educational Technology Integration, I think of a ladder.  The very bottom of the ladder touches the earth.  This represents the actual basics of the technology itself.  For instance, the ability to turn on an iPad and read a document on it; or writing on a SMARTBoard in a similar fashion to using an overhead projector.  These are the most simplest ways to integrate the technology.  Although the technology might be integrated in the classroom, is it providing the students with an interactive, engaging experience?  Most likely not.  The teacher will need to learn how to use the technology at a deeper level and then how to integrate it into the lesson as well.  (Please see the SAMR Model below for more information.)

Once the teacher has learned how to use the technology thoroughly and can use it in an efficient manner, it's time to integrate it with the content that is being taught.  The teacher has begun in a sense, to climb the ladder of EdTech.  It is the educator's job to create lessons that will engage the students and will bring their learning to new heights.  At the same time, it is important that the educator personalizes the learning to the needs of the class.  Included in personalizing the learning is differentiated instruction to reach those students who may have diverse learning styles.  

When planning the lesson and creating the content, the teacher is going to want to use best practices.  One of the most important points to consider when integrating technology in education is when to use it and when not to use it.  Secondly, another point for the teacher to consider is, "What is the technology allowing me to do NOW that I have not done before without it?  What are my students able to do with the technology NOW that they could not have done before without it?"  Third, what cognitive skills are being included from Bloom's Taxonomy?  Are your students thinking and creating?  Are they collaborating to make something new?  Fourth, is the technology a teacher centered tool or a student centered tool?  We must all remember that implementing the technology - whether it's iPads, SMARTBoards, etc. is not going to bring "magic" inside our classrooms.  Technology is just a tool.  It's up to teacher how to use it inside the classroom. The teacher is the one who has the job of bringing magic into the classroom.  

     SAMR Model of Educational Technology Integration

                                                              TPACK Model 

                                                      The New Bloom's Taxonomy