We need to go beyond looking at all technology integration efforts as equal. They just aren’t.
Teacher creates a Power Point to support a lecture vs. student creates a Power Point to document what he learned.
Question: Which example do you think has a greater potential of improving student learning?
Answer: The student created project. This assumes, of course, that the student is required to fully document learning with clear and high expectations above over just the visual aspects of the project.
A number of frameworks exist for looking at how technology integration can support learning. Overarching themes can be found in all of the frameworks. These themes essentially involve teachers becoming more student-centered in their efforts as they progress up each level. Additionally, teachers include higher level thinking activities and the technology use becomes more sophisticated and may even go beyond the classroom walls as the teacher progresses.
One very popular framework is the LoTI Framework developed by Dr. Christopher Moersh. This framework provides a way to examine technology use in the classroom. The framework moves from Level 0 (non use) to Level 6 (Refinement). This framework aligns nicely with Bloom’s Taxonomy and project-based learning. Essentially, the higher the level, the more student-centered the learning becomes. At level 6 the technology use moves beyond the classroom, reaching out to the outside world in some way. For example, a high school Spanish class may create a web-site for a third grade class also learning Spanish. You can also read about this framework in Dr. Moersch’s book, Beyond Hardware: Using Existing Technology to Promote Higher-Level Thinking .
Another framework comes from the ACOT research project which looked at how a group of teachers adopted technology over a ten year period. These stages are: Entry, adoption, adaptation, appropriation, and invention.
Here again, teachers become more sophisticated as they use a technology application. During the invention stage, a teacher may begin to use a technology application to support other learning objectives that had nothing to do with an original intention.
You can read more about this study in, Teaching With Technology: Creating Student-Centered Classrooms.
Another framework that examines how an organization adopts technology, is the diffusions of innovations theory. Dr. Rogers (2003) studied how a technology or new practice is adopted over time in an organization. The results of his work show that the adopters emerge in a bell-shaped curve. Rogers describes five groups in regards to adopting a new technology or new practice. These groups are:
1) innovators 2.5 % of the population
(2) early adopters 13.5 % of the population
(3) early majority 34%
(4) late majority 34%, and
(5) laggards 16%
Rogers also describes a series of stages that may occur during adoption:
4. trial, and
There are a number of other frameworks that exist. These frameworks help to describe what can happen to a teacher as they begin to learn about how to best use a specific technology application. As the teacher becomes more proficient with the technology, she can begin to more clearly see how to best use the technology to promote student learning. However, teachers need to be encouraged to think deeply about what their students are doing when using technology. They need to ask themselves about the thinking that students are doing as they use technology and encourage higher level thinking activities. An understanding of these frameworks may help school leaders understand that teachers may be in different places and that teachers may need additional time and support to move beyond beginning stages. Teachers would also benefit from knowing that they may move through stages. Knowledge is power.