Over the last few years of blogging on the 8 Blog, I’ve shared a few different frameworks that can assist instructors with integrating technology in their classroom. Regular readers may recall the SAMR model which views technology integration as a hierarchy with “substitution” being the lowest form of technology integration and “redefinition” being the highest form. In the SAMR model, the focus is really what the technology affords and how it changes a specific lesson. For instance, Google Docs can be used in a variety of ways in a classroom. The tool can be used to replace a simple typewriter (substitution), as a peer editing tool (augmentation) or as a way to collaborate synchronously with experts from around the world (redefinition). The SAMR model offers a common vocabulary to describe these types of integration.
Despite its popularity amongst instructional technologists, however, the SAMR model isn’t the only game in town. Educators from the University of South Florida developed the Technology Integration Matrix. In the Technology Integration Matrix (TIM), the focus isn’t on the technology but the overall learning environment. The TIM examines five different characteristics of the learning environment (constructive, active, goal-directed, authentic and collaborative) and the way that instructors create lessons that utilize technology to support the different aspects. In this model, technology and student learning are more closely linked. Using the TIM with instructors, however, can be challenging. The overall matrix offers 25 different aspects to consider, since each of the five environmental characteristics is examined along a five level integration continuum. The individual descriptions are dense and weighty and some instructors have trouble applying the matrix despite the resources provided on the TIM website.
Checking out my Twitter feed yesterday, I came across a simple technology integration model that appears to be developed by Jennifer Roberts, a blogger and teacher from southern California. In Roberts’ model, the different levels of technology integration can be remembered through the simple acronym TECH. T stands for “traditional” with an instructor using technology to support traditional pedagogy. At the next level, E, the teacher “enhances” a lesson by integrating multiple tools for student learning. At the next level, C stands for “choice” with the teacher offering multiple technologies from which students can choose to tackle a broad range of goals. The highest level, H, involves the instructors “handing off” the lesson to the students and allowing them choice not only in the tools they use but the types of products they create to demonstrate their learning.
While the TECH model is a little simplistic, it successfully combines the best components from the SAMR and TIM. First, the simplicity of the TECH model can make it as easy to use as the SAMR model. Like the TIM, the TECH model focuses more on the student and the instructor roles in the classroom. At its core, the TIM seeks to promote less teacher control and more student choice in lessons. This same focus is apparent in the TECH model but in more digestible form.
While the different models provide some divergent views of technology integration, they also could provide some scaffolding to instructors new to technology integration. Used in conjunction with one another, they could help instructors develop a fuller view of technology integration. For instance, maybe the SAMR model is used to introduce the concept of technology integration to instructors. Later, the TECH model could be used to expand the view of technology integration until the TIM is used to fully analyze the overly learning environment supported through technology. Used in this manner, the different models can provide a complementary and developmental view of technology integration for instructors.
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