In a post last fall, I discussed the SAMR model, which identifies different levels of classroom technology integration. In the model, technology integration is viewed along a hierarchy. For instance, some educational tasks involve simple substitution with instructors integrating technology to replicate something they may have typically done in low-tech ways. Maybe they replace their traditional chalkboard lectures with Powerpoint slides or stop using their typewriter and move to a word processor. Higher forms of technology integrations would involve a redefinition of classroom activity, with students collaborating with experts, authoring new content and publishing their work to the world. In a redefined integrated task, the student’s role evolves from being a consumer of information to being a producer. Maybe students are blogging about their research or sharing their findings in a wiki. In a redefined classroom, the student isn’t just a passive receiver of information but an active participant in a worldwide forum.
While the SAMR Model offers a basic framework for discussing technology integration, when I shared the post last fall, I wrote that I had some reservations about using it. I felt that the model focused too much on tasks and tools and too little on the most important component of what we do: student learning. In my online travels recently, I came across the Technology Integration Matrix, which really alleviates some of my reservations with the SAMR model. Developed by some folks at the University of South Florida, the Technology Integration Matrix (TIM) offers a more comprehensive view of technology use. Rather than four levels of technology use, the TIM identifies five different levels of technology integration. Rather than just looking at the technology, the TIM also connects these levels to the roles of the teacher and the student in the learning process. These levels include:
Entry: At the Entry level, the instructor uses technology primarily for content delivery. At the Entry level, instructional activities may include listening to or watching content delivered through technology or working on activities designed to build fluency with basic facts or skills, such as drill-and-practice exercises. In a lesson that includes technology use at the Entry level, the students may not have direct access to the technology. At the Entry, the instructor makes all decisions about how and when to use technology tools as well as which tools will be used.
Adoption: At the Adoption level, technology tools are used in more conventional ways. Similar to the Entry level, the instructor makes decisions about which technology tool to use and when and how to use it. Students’ exposure to individual technology tools may be limited to single types of tasks that involve a procedural understanding.
Adaptation: At the Adaptation level, the instructor incorporates technology tools as an integral part of the lesson. While the instructor makes most of the decisions about technology use, the instructor acts more as a facilitator, helping to guide the students in their independent use of technology tools. Students have a greater familiarity with the use of technology tools and have a more conceptual understanding of the tools than students at the Adoption level. Students are able to work without direct procedural instruction from the teacher and begin to explore different ways of using the technology tools.
Infusion: At the Infusion level, instructors integrate a range of different technology tools seamlessly into the teaching and learning process. Technology is available in sufficient quantities to meet the needs of all students. Students are able to make informed decisions about when and how to use different tools. The instructional focus is on student learning and not on the technology tools themselves. For this reason, Infusion level work typically occurs after teachers and students have experience with a particular technology tool. The teacher guides students to make decisions about when and how to use technology.
Transformation: At the Transformation level, students use technology tools flexibly to achieve specific learning outcomes. The students have a conceptual understanding of the tools coupled with extensive practical knowledge about their use. Students apply that understanding and knowledge, and students may extend the use of technology tools. They are encouraged to use technology tools in unconventional ways and are self-directed in combining the use of various tools. The teacher serves as a guide, mentor, and model in the use of technology. At this level, technology tools are often used to facilitate higher order learning activities that would not otherwise have been possible, or would have been difficult to accomplish without the use of technology.
Additionally, the TIM associates these levels of technology integration to different learning environments. In their book entitled Learning to solve problems with technology: A constructivist perspective, Jonassen, Howland, Moore, & Marra (2003) identify five interdependent characteristics of meaningful learning environments: active, constructive, goal directed, authentic, and collaborative. The TIM connects the five levels of technology integration with each of these characteristics to form a more complete picture of how instructional technologies are used and how different learning environments foster different levels of student ownership, responsibility, decision making and activity. Besides discussing technology integration conceptually, the TIM website also offers video examples of what technology integration looks like in K-12 classrooms for different content areas which can help instructors visualize what authentic technology integration looks like in practice.