I have decided to write this definition before reading the articles about technology integration. I am doing it this way because I want to analyze how my perception of my job as technology integration facilitator changes after having read the articles.
This is my first year, in my new job role. I believe technology integration means incorporating technology in the learning environment as students create, communicate, collaborate, research, and manage large quantities of information through problem-solving and critical thinking while adhering to correct ethical usage of digital works and applying the skills necessary in performing technology related tasks. The tasks could be project-based, challenged-based, or game-based, as well as any other method that someone later thinks of to help students to use the technology that is available to them. My definition comes from the technology standards based on the NETS as the foundation for integration.
I see myself as a coach for the teachers, who comes into the classroom to assist teachers to become more empowered to use new technology without the fear of failure at trying something new. I can assist teachers by finding resources and helping them set up the learning environment needed for their students. I can also be a sounding board to discuss their ideas about the “big idea” or concept that they want students to know when planning a unit based on a backward design approach to technology integration. I am also an advocate for technology integration at the resource planning level when administrators and department heads debate on where and how the educational money should be spend. I recently wrote a proposal that explained why I thought money should be allocated next year to put a set of iPads in the early education program for kindergarten and first grade rather than computers. I work closely with our computer department chair concerning all aspects of technology integration throughout our school. This has been the first year that we have dropped computer skill lessons for the elementary students by them going to a computer lab to learn skills in isolation. Instead at the beginning of the year, I came into the classrooms and taught a few skills on a timely bases based upon the projects and curriculum that were currently being taught. The teachers have taken the teaching role away from me, that I have had to come into the classrooms less and less, as the teachers have become more proficient in teaching technology.
After reading articles about technology integration approaches, the approach that I relate to the most is the Technology Integration: A Six-Pronged Approach as described in Tom Johnson’s blog post. According to Johnson, there are six key points in this approach:
- School meeting integration
- In-class push-ins
- Individual meetings with educators
- Organization of technology groups
- Online presence
- Professional development
Since this is my first year as a technology integration specialist, I found this article very helpful in understanding my role and also helpful for other teachers that I work with to read, so that we all have the same understanding of my role. The elementary teachers this year started an online presence, but I would like to expand that presence into some of the other areas that Tom Johnson mentioned in his article. I would also like to see this trend filter throughout our school’s k-12 curriculum. I had introduced “blogs” to my high school digital photography students and I could tell that few of the students had any previous knowledge about how to post on a blog site. I know that we are just getting started with technology integration in our school and I think this article will help to remind me what I need to be doing in the years to come to further our efforts.