Posted tagged ‘instruction’

What Principles Should Guide Tech Integration?

February 9, 2010

As with any new tool or resource, integration and implementation should be done judiciously and with a full understanding of the rationale behind it. As pointed out in Deubel’s article, these tools “should not be implemented just for the sake of adopting technology” (2010). Otherwise, schools run the risk of chasing trends fruitlessly, becoming reactionary and chaotic collections of gadgets and doo-hickeys instead of dynamic learning environments.

There are three essential principles that should guide technological integration in the classroom: content, added value, and assessment (Dexter, 2002). This parallels the relative advantage charts, where content –> problem, added value –> relative advantage, and assessment –> expected outcome.

Content: What Are You Trying to Teach?

Teachers should consider what their learning outcomes are – true in any situation, but particularly important when considering the integration of instructional technology. Associated with this is understanding what cognitive skills are being exercised in an activity. Different technologies will be helpful – and, of course, unhelpful – depending upon whether students are practicing recall, analysis, or creation. As Sara Dexter points out, “When learning outcomes drive the selection of technology in a classroom, the educational technology will be a better fit for teaching and learning, supporting the achievement of the designated outcomes” (2002).

Added Value: What Will Technology Bring to the Classroom?

The next principle involves determining what result the technology will have in the classroom – what the relative advantage of integrating said technology would be. A convenient reference for this is Andrew Church’s Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy, which shows how different technologies might be utilized in order to exercise different skill sets (2008).

Deubel’s article lists several key questions to be answered before integrating new technology. If the teacher can answer yes to at least one of the questions, then the technology may be helpful to students. These key questions explore whether the technology would assess prior knowledge, enhance organization of information, promote active engagement, provide feedback, acquire monitoring/evaluating skills, and adjust to student differences (2010).

Within this principle lies the critical point in the integration of educational technology. There are many exciting digital toys available to us, and more are created every day. The savvy educational technologist must carefully filter which of these gadgets will and will not bring any added value to the classroom. It’s bursting with potential and features, but will Google Wave actually benefit the average history class (O’Donnell, 2009)? As cool as it may look, does the English classroom really need a combination taser/MP3 player (Newman, 2009). Wait – don’t answer that…

Assessment: Will Technology Help Assess Student Learning?

Assessment is one of the fundamental elements of instruction (Danielson, 2007). A professional educator is constantly assessing student ability, knowledge, and learning – all a part of what one of my favorite professors called “knowing your students”. Another part of assessment is that a well-constructed activity will provide assessments directly to the students, allowing them to see how they are progressing.

Two of Deubel’s key questions ask whether a new technology will “provide the instructor with relevant information about students’ knowledge and skill level” and “provide frequent, timely, and constructive feedback” (2010). The critical issue, then, is whether a particular tool or resource will help teachers with effective assessment, and/or whether it will provide students with the tools for self-assessment.


Churches, A. (2008). Bloom’s Taxonomy blooms digitally. Tech&Learning. Retrieved from

Danielson, C. (2007). Enhancing professional practice: A framework for teaching. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Deubel, P. (2010). Technology integration: Essential questions. Retrieved February 6, 2010, from Computing Technology for Math Excellence Web site:

Dexter, S. (2002). eTIPS-Educational technology integration and implementation principles. In P. Rodgers (Ed.), Designing instruction for technology-enhanced learning (pp.56-70). New York: Idea Group Publishing.

Newman, J. (2009). 10 totally ridiculous combo gadgets. PC World, November 27, 2009. Retrieved from

O’Donnell, E. (2009). Google Wave and schools. Teaching matters: Innovating for student success. Retrieved from

What is Technological Literacy?

February 8, 2010

The definition of literacy has changed as new tools have entered the educational environment. According to the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory and the Metiri Group, contemporary literacy includes “scientific literacy, economic literacy, technological literacy, visual literacy, information literacy, multicultural literacy, and global awareness” in addition to the more traditional reading/writing literacy (Deubel, 2010). This technological literacy, also called digital literacy, refers to a person’s ability to find and assimilate information online, to successfully accomplish tasks using digital tools, including the creation of new digital documents, and to make judgements about the content found online (Jones-Kavalier & Flannigan, 2006).

It is no longer sufficient to teach our students how to decode information they find in a book or how to write a paper using pen/paper or a word processor. Students need to learn how to research and communicate using existing and as-of-yet unimagined digital technology, which means that they need to learn more than “how to use this application” – they need to learn how to learn new applications. A low-tech correlation is the student of music; a piano teacher strives to teach her students how to play piano, not just a given set of songs. A well-trained pianist can teach himself to play any song within his range of ability, and a well-trained 21st-century student can teach herself to use any digital tool or resource.

Technological literacy builds upon the commonly-accepted cognitive hierarchy of Bloom’s Taxonomy, as adapted for the digital age by Andrew Churches. As we see in the diagram below, technological literacy concepts are present at all levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy – from bookmarking and searching, to linking, tagging, blogging, podcasting, and even computer programming (2008).

Bloom's Digital Taxonomy Map, created by Andrew Churches in 2008

Ultimately, in order for our students to be technologically literate, we must go beyond putting them in front of computers. Our students need to learn to create and collaborate online, to be critical and thoughtful researchers and problem-solvers, and to be good “netizens” who exercise courtesy, judgment, and safety in their online activities (ISTE, 2007).


Churches, A. (2008). [Diagram illustrating activities and objectives within Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy]. Bloom’s digital taxonomy map. Retrieved from

Deubel, P. (2010). Technology integration: Essential questions. Retrieved February 6, 2010, from Computing Technology for Math Excellence Web site:

International Society for Technology in Education (2007). The ISTE national educational technology standards (NETS-S) and performance indicators for students. Retrieved February 6, 2010, from

Jones-Kavalier, B.R. and Flannigan, S.L. (2006). Connecting the digital dots: Literacy of the 21st century. EDUCAUSE Quarterly, Vol. 29, No. 2, 2006, pp. 8-10. Retrieved February 8, 2010, from

Relative Advantages: Secondary English

February 6, 2010

My relative advantages chart for the high school English classroom is online.

Timeline of Educational Technology History

February 2, 2010

I used Dipity – which was kind of a headache, incidentally – to create this timeline of some highlights in the history of educational technology.

I started to add all kinds of earlier technology – pencils, ballpoints, etc. – but ultimately didn’t….

Educational Technology Enriches Expression, Exploration, and Engagement

January 30, 2010

A Personal Statement Defending the Use of Technology in Schools

The appropriate and well-supported integration of  technology into classrooms is vital to enrich learning and increase student achievement. These tools and resources provide improved opportunities for students to create and express themselves and to explore their world to construct understanding. They also improve student engagement.

 Avenues for Expression

 Technology in the classroom offers an ever-widening variety of opportunities for students to express their thoughts. Web 2.0 publishing tools, such as blogs, message boards, and wikis provide students with a collaborative voice – sometimes for the first time, as with introverted students (Henderson, n.d.), second-language learners (Zeinstejer, 2009), and those with other special needs. New creative tools are unveiled every day, offering users of any age the opportunity to express themselves in new ways and for new audiences (Duffy & Bruns, 2006).

 Gateways for Exploration

Technology can provide students with access to a wealth of information. Databases, wikis, and specialized websites increasingly dominate information resources; a student with an internet connection and a curious mind can travel through space and time without any of the difficulties associated with planning field trips. By integrating educational technology into the classroom, teachers can harness students’ creativity and social behaviors for the purpose of learning (Duffy & Bruns, 2006). 

Tools for Engagement

If the traditional classroom is to continue to reach and serve young people, it must evolve along with the other elements of students’ lives. Students already use Web 2.0 tools to communicate, publish, collaborate, and play (Applegate & Gonzales, 2009). Adopting these tools for instruction helps keep education relevant and interesting to contemporary students. Classroom hardware, such as Clickers, have also been shown to increase engagement among students who might otherwise become detached from instruction (Briggs, 2008).


Applegate, Perri and Manuel Gonzales (2009). The Power of Web 2.0 [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from

Briggs, Linda L. (24 Sept. 2008). Using Classroom Clickers to Engage Every Student. Campus Technology. Retrieved from

Duffy, Peter and Alex Bruns (2006). The Use of Blogs, Wikis and RSS in Education: A Conversation of Possibilities. In Proceedings Online Learning and Teaching Conference 2006. Retrieved from 

Henderson, Lynne, et al. (No date). Shyness and Technology Use in High School Students. The Shyness Institute. Retrieved from

Zeinstejer, Rita (2009). Enhancing Lessons the Web 2.0 Way [PowerPoint slides]. Retreived from


January 26, 2010

(c) andyp uk via Flickr

I’m required to keep a blog for my EDTECH 541 class. After giving it some thought, I’ve decided to launch a new blog rather than using my existing edublog. There’s nothing particularly “hot” on the other site, but I would still prefer to maintain my anonymity as an edublogger as long as possible – it just seems like the safest policy. Besides, I’m not sure how well the mandated blog topics for the course will fit into the “feel” of my existing edublog. This way, I can keep them separate until (and if) I want to combine them.

Besides – this means I get to set up a new blog! Always a good thing… 🙂