Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Three Secrets to True Technology Integration

“When I come to your class to observe you, I would like to see a lesson with technology integrated into it.” That statement coming from an administrator is scary to many teachers. I’ve known some teachers to panic when asked to integrate technology into a lesson for an observation. What is the secret to a good technology integrated lesson? Keep the planning simple. True technology integration is a habit of mind that is routine and transparent. True technology integration happens spontaneously. It’s just done, almost without students realizing it. It happens when teachers are able to introduce lessons and units, reinforce what was taught, extend important concepts, enrich interesting topics, assess for content understanding and remediate student mastery.

Here are three secret steps that I refer to as the “ICE” method to help create worthwhile, relevant lessons that integrate technology:
1. Investigate. What will students learn in reference to the curriculum?
Identify what you want your students to learn based on your curriculum. Use goals, objectives, lesson plans and assessments as you normally would. Technology should never take the place of good instruction.

2. Create. What will students do with the technology that will help them learn the curriculum?  
Form a lesson that utilizes some form of technology to introduce, reinforce, extend, enrich or assess an objective from the curriculum. Try to incorporate activities that utilize at least one of the four Cs: Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication and Collaboration.

3. Evaluate. What 21st century skill(s) will the activity address?
Assess what students learned with the assistance of the technology and how the activity reinforced one of the four Cs. Create a rubric and checklist that considers the use of technology with the activity.

Administrators can’t mandate technology integration—they have to model it and give recognition when it is happening (I will save that discussion for another post). However, because technology integration is rarely planned for, or assessed for its effectiveness, considering these three secret steps may make planning a technology integrated lesson a little less scary for teachers.