Technology integration is described as the utilisation of technology resources in classroom practices and the management of a school. Examples of technology resources are computers, tablets, software applications and the Internet. The definition only scratches the surface of what technology integration entails. Several frameworks seek to provide insight into the many complexities of technology integration.
The technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge framework known as TPACK describes and highlights the teacher knowledge needed for technology integration. The TPACK framework identifies an emergent form of knowledge, technological pedagogical content knowledge. It recognises three components of teachers’ knowledge: content, pedagogy, and technology. The teacher essentially integrates and applies all components of knowledge simultaneously whilst they are teaching.
The TPACK framework draws our attention to how technology integration relies not merely on the teacher’s technology knowledge. Besides a teacher knowing how to use the technology resources, they would need to have the content knowledge of what they want to teach and the pedagogical knowledge of how to teach. Effective technology integration is about how the teacher can maintain the dynamic equilibrium among the three components continuously. It would require appreciation and the development of rich connections among all three components in a complex way in their classroom.
The TPACK framework helped me understand that technology integration is a delicate balance and emergence of the three knowledge components. It has made me aware of the different knowledge domains that I rely on and draw upon when planning a lesson with technology integration. Once I have decided on the content that I would like to teach, I would simultaneously merge pedagogy and technology knowledge to determine how best to use the technology resource to teach.
Another conceptual tool providing insight on technology integration is the SAMR model developed by Ruben Puentedura. The SAMR model has four tiers representing technology’s progressing sophistication and transformative power. The four tiers are substitution, augmentation, modification and redefinition. The substitution and augmentation tiers indicate that technology integration has enhanced learning. In contrast, the modification and redefinition tiers indicate that technology integration has transformed learning.
The SAMR model focuses more on the sophistication of technology integration based on how the technology resource was used to achieve a particular learning task. At the same time, it considers the manner in which students interact with the technology resource and the learning experience they are provided. For instance, when students are required to answer questions on a Google Form, it could be considered as a substitution. The technology resource has been used to merely replace the traditional activity and material. It is an activity that could be done even without technology. The flowchart adapted by Lissa Layman provides guidance on how the SAMR model could be used to identify technology integration practices.
I have used the SAMR model to reflect on my technology integration. It has extended my thinking on how technology can be integrated. For instance, when I realise that the technology integration is at the substitution tier, I try to think about how I could engage students more and transform their learning experience.
The Technology Integration Matrix (TIM) provides a framework that incorporates both interdependent characteristics of meaningful learning environments and five levels of technology integration. The matrix consists of 25 cells with descriptors indicating how technology can be used to enhance learning and describes the role of the student and teacher and their interaction with technology.
I recently came across this framework. At first, I was intimidated and overwhelmed by the matrix itself because of all of the cells and descriptors. However, incorporating the learning environment helps guide you to think about the purpose in which you wish to use technology, whether it be for collaboration or goal setting. Once you have determined the characteristic of the learning environment, you are able to go across according to your comfort level and technology knowledge and experience to determine to what extent you would use technology.
Upon looking at the matrix, I began to reflect on the level of technology integration in my own practice. As I read the descriptors on the roles of students and teachers, I began to realise that my level of technology integration tends to be more on the level of adaptation. After reading the descriptors for infusion and transformation, it has given me direction and understanding as to how I could extend and transform my technology integration. I will be referencing this particular framework more frequently in pursuit of a more transformative technology integration.
T ariple E Framework
The Triple E framework seeks to determine the degree to which technology has helped students achieve the learning goals. This particular framework places emphasis on evaluating the learning goal instead of the specific technology tool. There are three main components in this framework: engagement, enhancement, and extension. It provides educators with a basis on which they could build as they integrate technology in their classroom. It is more of a practical tool that can be used to evaluate instructional strategies, learning goals and purposeful technology tool selection. The evaluation rubric is useful in determining how well the technology resource has achieved the learning purpose. It provides a systematic way to record and evaluate technology integration.
Each technology integration framework demonstrates the many complexities and levels of technology integration. They provide a different lens through which the teacher can implement and approach technology integration. At the beginning of my teaching, I found the SAMR model useful in guiding how technology integration could be assessed. Once I became more familiar with the four tiers, the descriptions felt somewhat limited, and there were different understandings of what constituted modification and redefinition. By gaining more experience and confidence in technology integration, I became determined to use it at the augmentation tier. I wanted to leverage technology in order to enhance the learning experience.
After coming across the TIM framework, I have been rethinking how to create learning experiences where technology empowers students to take ownership of their learning and be more innovative. The incorporation of the characteristics of learning environments and levels of technology integration demonstrate various ways in which students can learn. The descriptors for both teachers and students provided further detail on how it can be established and achieved. It has given me a clearer idea as to how I can extend and deepen the level of technology integration in the classroom. It opens my mind to new possibilities for technology integration.
While each provides their insight, they all seek to achieve effective and transformative technology integration that enhances students’ learning experience. However, there is only so much that the frameworks can achieve. They require understanding and reflection from teachers as they implement the framework in their own teaching.
Koehler, M. J., & Mishra, P. (2009). What is technological pedagogical content knowledge?
Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1), 60-70.