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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Technology Integration: How Do You Know if You are "Doing it Right?"

A common question that we hear from teachers about integrating technology into their classrooms is, “how do I know if I’m doing it right?” We love to hear this question because that tells us that the teacher is starting to analyze and evaluate how they are integrating technology and are looking for a way to gauge their effectiveness. We feel that the Technology Integration Matrix (TIM) best addresses the question of “doing it right.” According to the Arizona K12 Center at Northern Arizona University, “the TIM is designed to assist schools and districts in evaluating the level of technology integration in classrooms and to provide teachers with models of how technology can be integrated throughout instruction in meaningful ways.” There is more than one version of the TIM but the one that we most commonly refer to with our staff was produced by the Arizona K12 Center at NAU.

What is The Technology Integration Matrix?

The Arizona K12 Center at Northern Arizona University does an excellent job of articulating the characteristics and various levels of technology integration.

The Technology Integration Matrix (TIM) illustrates how teachers can use technology to enhance learning for K-12 students. The TIM incorporates five interdependent characteristics of meaningful learning environments: active, collaborative, constructive, authentic, and goal directed (Jonassen, Howland, Moore, & Marra, 2003). The TIM associates five levels of technology integration (i.e., entry, adoption, adaptation, infusion, and transformation) with each of the five characteristics of meaningful learning environments. Together, the five levels of technology integration and the five characteristics of meaningful learning environments create a matrix of 25 cells.

Picture courtesy of Arizona K12 Center

If you were to view the full version of the matrix you would find that within each cell there are two lesson plans and a short video of the lesson. The lessons are created to showcase how the teacher integrated the technology in their classroom based on the level of integration and the characteristics of the learning environment.

How the Technology Integration Matrix is used at JTHS

Presently we are asking teachers to focus on the top portion of the matrix or the Levels of Technology Integration into the Curriculum. As you examine this continuum you will find that it moves from teacher centered use of technology on the left, to student centered use of technology on the right. The student centered use of technology is the ultimate goal and it targets higher order technology skills. The TIM is extremely valuable in helping teachers identify how and at what level the technology is being integrated into the classroom.

A crucial component of targeting higher order technology use is identifying how the technology is currently being integrated. If a teacher evaluated their lesson and found their use of technology to be at the Adoption level, they then could determine what changes would be needed in order to move the lesson into the Adaptation level of the TIM if it is appropriate.

An important distinction to make is that not every lesson can or should be taught at a highest level of technology integration. That is not the goal at all. The highest level, Transformation, is a level that realistically can only be reached 1-2 times a year if done properly. This would happen so infrequently because transformation means that the students are using technology in a manner that reaches beyond the walls of the classroom due to the way the TIM defines transformation. Rather the TIM should be used as a guide to evaluate the use of technology in a lesson or the curriculum. The goal is to find the highest yet most appropriate level of technology integration in each instance.

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