10 steps to successful tech integration…

It’s an expectation that every class at my school will have a blog by the end of this year. We thought it best to invite people to start when they are ready, offering individual support as required. We’re only three weeks into our school year and it’s exciting to note how many teachers already have blogs up and running, even if some are still at the stage of learning how to post. It was also great, during planning sessions last week, to hear several previously tech-resistant teachers suggesting ways to incorporate new tools to support learning. While we still have a long way to go before technology is seamlessly integrated into the learning throughout our primary school, it’s encouraging to realise how far we have come.

Here are some tips, based on our experience:

1.  Start with two people.

Ideally you need a technology facilitator and another teacher whose focus is more on learning and pedagogy. That way, it’s never lonely when there’s resistance, there are complementary outlooks and more hands are available to help.

2. Invite volunteers.

Don’t try and force anyone to implement technology before they are ready. Work with a small group who’s willing to give it a go. Gradually others will come on board, when they see what’s been achieved by their peers or when their students initiate it. Don’t even think about presenting tech PD to large group of teachers all at once.

3. Offer plenty of support.

Once teachers have seen a tool demonstrated, they will need support practicing and applying it. Don’t be judgmental. Differentiate. Everyone can learn, but we all learn in different ways and at our own pace. It looks like thisAllow for it. Team teach. Offer to go into a class with a teacher who’s ready to give it a go. Demonstrate. Solve problems. Be there.

4. Aim for ‘just one thing’.

Don’t expect teachers to be experts. They just need to be willing. Make them aware of that. Aim to get teachers to try just one new thing. The concept is expressed really well here!

5. Get teachers teaching teachers.

Once teachers have used a tool to enhance learning in their classes, provide an opportunity for them to show others what they did. Have a show-and-tell session where ideas and examples are presented by teachers for teachers. Invite teachers to show others how to use tools they have already mastered.

6. Start from the learning.

This one is the most important. Tech for tech’s sake is a waste of time. Teachers are far more likely to integrate technology if they see the educational purpose. Begin with your learning goal, then plan your learning experiences and see what tools might support or enahnce the learning. See an example here.

7. Bring Admin onside.

If the heads are not leading the way themselves, invite them to training sessions. Invite them to classes. Show them what’s happening. Talk about what’s possible. Tell them what you need in order to move the school forward. Share examples from other schools. Share examples from yours.

8. Involve the students.

Teachers don’t need to know how to do everything. Kids will readily and enthusiastically help both the teacher and each other. Encourage teachers to release control to their students and become learners themselvesHere’s one teacher’s take on it.

9. Follow-up.

Create a wiki for teachers to refer back to. Add the tools they have learned. Include examples of how the tools can be used for learning. Add written instructions to which they can refer back if they are stuck. This is our wiki, maintained by the inimitable Linda (@lindawollan)

10. Be persistent.

Never miss an opportunity to suggest a way in which technology could enhance the learning. Offer to take care of the tech side yourself, if it means teachers will try something new in their teaching. Never, ever give up.

 

10 thoughts on “10 steps to successful tech integration…

  1. Hi! My name is Molly Dekin and I am an elementary education student at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, AL. I am currently enrolled in a class called EDM-310; Microcomputing Systems. In this class I am learning the important role that technology plays in the classroom. I guess in some ways I am one of those people who is just a slow on accepting change. That is why I enjoyed your post so much. I understand how important technology is in the classroom yet there are people like me that you have to spoon fed. It is great to know that I am not the only one trying to grasp this change. Please keep up the good work of encouraging teachers to take the plunge. I have learned from this class alone that the number of students that can be reached through technology is limitless.

    Molly Dekin
    http://dekinmollyedm310.blogspot.com/

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  2. Hi,
    My name is Courtney Starkie and I am a student in Dr. Strange’s EDM 310 class at the University of South Alabama.

    It is good to hear that more people are joining the blogging world. I think your tips listed above are really good! Before this semester, I did not have a blog nor had I ever blogged before. However, I really enjoy it now and I am so glad that I have been introduced to it. I think one of the most important points you brought up was to offer support. I believe that showing your support to others in this situation is important because not everyone is a technology expert. I had to learn a few things when I started this process and thanks to the great EDM 310 staff we have, I think most everyone in our class has become more familiar with it.

    I enjoyed your post and look forward to reading more in the future. Feel free to check out my blog and the cool things we are doing in EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama.
    http://starkiecourtneyedm310.blogspot.com/

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  3. Very noble list, and very encouraging to those who may not be experts.

    I have always had a problem with the phrase “Integrate Technology.” I think a misconception is that the curriculum stays static and we plug in tools that work. Instead we really need to look hard at the structures of our classroom. Here are 4 changes we can make RIGHT NOW:

    1. Switch Homework and Schoolwork. Use screencasting or vodcasting to record direct instruction to be viewed at home. Use class time for practicing in a collaborative setting…when the kids need to interact.

    2. Have students write for authentic audience and purpose. Teachers are NOT an authentic audience. Create writing situations that address REAL people for an outcome valued by the student.

    3. Replace Completion with Creation. I have seen some “Integration” that amounts to the dreaded “packet” completed on line. Focus on students creating valuable artifacts.

    4. Promote peer reliance. Instead of disseminating info, divide classes into groups, let them become experts in one area, and use their findings to teach others.

    Notice how tech. is not mentioned in any of the suggestions. However, technology is ESSENTIAL in making those changes. And the result on all of them? Higher achievement.

    “Integration” didn’t work in the 60’s because existing conditions PRIOR to the integration did not exist. The same will happen now unless essential conditions are changed.

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    1. Great response, thanks!

      I’ve used the word integration in this context:
      ‘the act of combining or adding parts to make a unified whole’ (World English Dictionary). There’s no way a curriculum should stay static anyway, with or without technology. I have posted many times with my thoughts about focusing on learning, rather than curriculum, or tech or even teaching.

      Your suggested changes are excellent and I couldn’t agree more with the points you are making. But the fact is that there are many, many educators who don’t get that yet. For instance, I was approached by a school to’ in-service them on technology’. My post is an attempt to share some practical tips for getting reluctant users to gradually start the journey towards the desirable end you describe… which is far from common practice in classrooms.

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  4. E, I loved this post! I definitely will share these ten steps as I work with teachers! I would love to hear your input or sources you may have used in developing technology standards or curriculum expectations for the different age groups within your school. I may possibly be stepping into a technology coordinator position next year for a K-4 school, and I’m beginning to develop ideas for the position. I’d love to have your input! Thank you!

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  5. Hi! My name is Raley Zofko and I am an EDM 310 student at the University of South Alabama. As part of an assignment, we are supposed to comment on blog posts and such. I love this post because it truly spoke to me. Sometimes I read things and I have to try hard to get something from it and better myself but this just jumped right out at me and helped a lightbulb go off in my head ; ) I think all of the 10 tips you gave are close to perfect and cannot wait to try these for myself! Thanks for sharing!

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