5 Essential Elements for Successful Tech Integration

In my last post I discussed a model of responsibility for teaching technology outcomes such as the ISTE NETs or Journey On.  Central to this model was that it should be a team approach with all teachers using technology as a tool within their classroom student’s with the help of a technology guide to oversee and monitor the process.   While this sounds good in theory, the successful integration of technology requires considerable planning and support.

There are several tools available to help teachers evaluate their use of technology, including the SAMR and TPACK models.  However, if a school wants technology to be fully integrated across curricular areas there needs to more support provided than simply handing teachers a sheet and asking them to evaluate themselves and their use of technology in the classroom.  There are five things that I see as necessary for successful cross curricular technological integration:

There needs to be someone guiding both teachers and students in their use of technology in the classroom.

Technology Guide

The technology guide or technology facilitator is responsible for the overall integration of technology within the school.  They ensure that all technology outcomes are being met and are suitable for the students.  The technology guide also provides support and training for teachers and students when needed on topics including how to operate specific programs, assessment, digital citizenship, technology integration, and Internet safety.  They should also seek out new technologies and evaluate their usefulness in metting the aims of the school’s technology plan.

Continual training is essential to ensure that skills and knowledge are current.

Training

Teachers need training in integrating technology.  This can be done by the technology guide mentor, outside presenters or other teachers.  However, topics need to be evaluated to ensure that they meet the aims of the school.

Successful technology integration does not happen overnight. People need time to learn, try new things and plan.

Time

Time needs to be allowed for integration to happen at a pace that does not overwhelm teacher. Time needs to be allowed for integration to happen at a pace that does not overwhelm teachers.Teachers also need time to plan collaboratively with the tech mentor and other teachers to brainstorm ideas and create plans.

There needs to be freedom for teacher when integrating technology. Recognize that there will be both successes and failures. Celebrate and learn from both

Freedom

When integrating technology teachers need to feel that it is okay to make mistakes and learn from them.  Teachers will be resistant to try new things when they are in an environment that will punish them for making a mistake.

There needs to be a plan in place otherwise nothing will be accomplished.

Plan

Teachers need a plan.  They need to know what the outcomes, who is responsible for which outcome, what the aims are for the school, what they achievement looks like, and what is expected of them.  This is probably the most crucial element, as without a clear and concise plan technology integration will fail.

A technology guide, training, time, freedom, and a plan are my five essential elements for successful technology integration into a school’s curriculum.  Admittedly it seems easy, however, in order to build a strong program that can continue to evolve there needs to be a lot of work put in.  What do you think are essential elements to ensure successful integration of technology in the classroom?

Image Credits

Tour Guide by andyaldridge found on Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed

Blogging Course for Teachers by Ikhlasul Amal found on Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed

The Passage of Time by ToniVC found on Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed

Embracing Beauteousness by Martin Gommel found on Flickr Creative Commons Licensed

Swooshable Planning by Bohman found on Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “5 Essential Elements for Successful Tech Integration

  1. Great post. Whilst I absolutely agree that all of those are vital – and without one it just wouldn’t work – I do think that time is often the most overlooked. I’m blessed to work at a school where we are helped to evolve with the use of technology in the classroom at as slow or fast a pace as makes us comfortable. That is certainly how I feel as a Head of Department – so long as progress is being made, I am happy. However, too often I’ve seen situations where change, especially with technology, is forced on teachers and for many it is a horrifying experience. So I entirely agree that if schools want to effectively integrate technology they have to be flexible and be careful to, as you say, not overwhelm everyone.

  2. Hey Brendan,

    You have provided a concise roadmap here for schools/teachers/educators to consider. I believe you have outlined the important points in a logical, accessible manner. This would be a grew resource for educators starting out. Your point about teachers needing more than a handout and a mission statement (self-evaluation) and the freedom to fail, I felt, were important elements as well.

    I noted (and have bookmarked) the Journey On site you linked. You are wise to stay abreast of trends back home and now have you profiled as a) someone with such intentions and, b) a possible insider should i ever become so inclined!

    Great work. If I were to make one suggestion it would be that you may have missed an opportunity to ilk/promote the Acceptable Usage teacher Assistant I have heard you devised wit a cohort. There was quite a buzz about it;-)

  3. Terrible trying to write comments on the subway. I often cannot resist the urge to submit before proofreading as there is a connection only while at a station!

    Forgive my mistakes. That would be “great” resource and “link/promote.”

  4. Zoe Page

    Situations where change, especially with technology are forced on anyone doesn’t end up well. As Adam says ” if schools want to effectively integrate technology they have to be flexible and be careful to, as you say, not overwhelm everyone.” That being said sometimes people need a nudge and when that is the case maybe people need to be able to pick their own guide.

  5. Great points! Having done exactly this job in 4 schools now, for the last 12 years or so, you have highlighted all of the important elements. Each of these could include a post on how to do them well so that everyone feels supported and able to move forward. Having said that, sometimes I find it hard to make a plan because technology is changing so quickly, I wonder if a vision is more of what you’re after here.

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