A Model for Lasting Tech Integration

My last post dealt with how designers should use instructional technology, specifically performance supports, also known as job aids or just-in-time learning. While I’m a fan of performance supports in most cases (there’s always exceptions), some of the discussion board comments contained some resistance.

Which brings me to the next topic….

Once the instructional technology designer chooses a technology, how can she ensure buy-in from stakeholders?

To me, chapter 12 “Teaching with Technology” and chapter 15 “Integrating Technology into Activities and Tasks” in J. Michael Spector’s Foundations of Educational Technology complement each other.

First, both revisit ways in which educational technology has not lived up to its hype, nor, as we would say today, “disrupted” educational institutions. In “Teaching with Technology,” Spector’s perspective is broad, and his words temper ed-tech’s enthusiasm: “What is happen is an evolution not a revolution,” before throwing cold-water on promises of dramatic improvements: “This simply has not happened expect in isolated cases.” In “Integrating Technology,” Spector focuses on the integration of the interactive whiteboard in schools and how it did not necessarily make instruction more interactive. For those who may tire of headlines like “X is the new Uber for education” or most recently, “X is the Netflix of Education,” Spector’s realism is refreshing. It also creates a need for a better model of technology integration.

A better model may be created by incorporating Bruner’s nine tenets of culture and education into the eight technology integration principles. And here’s why.

For those who don’t have the book handy, the eight principles are

  1. Technology integration in education should enhance learning, performance, and/or instruction.
  2. Stakeholders should be informed and key users should be properly trained on new technologies.
  3. Training teachers and trainers how to make effective pedagogical use of a new technology is essential.
  4. Training of users on a new technology is critical.
  5. Proper support for a new technology should be in place prior to deployment.
  6. A systemic representation of the role and use of a new technology should be developed prior implementation.
  7. Technology costs should not outweigh the benefits.
  8. Technology should not be expected to quickly or magically transform learning and instruction.

Notice, three principles explicitly state training and one implies training (“support” should be not just technical support if and when something breaks but also training on how and when to access support). That’s half. Half of a successful integration depends on training. Now, take a moment to think about the typical K-12 school where time is a premium and many teachers’ focus is on the daily classroom responsibilities, instructional plans, and relationship building. It’s no wonder why many instructional technologies fail to evolve instructional strategies. Yet, even when there is time to learn, many teachers resist. Perhaps they were not informed (#2) or they lacked concrete lessons using the technology (#6).

As a whole these provide a prescriptive context for integration, but they do not help an instructional designer to understand cultural and social contexts of training and learninburners-9-tenetsg. What is needed is a descriptive model. Here’s where Bruner’s tenets* can provide IDT some insight.

Taken together Bruner’s tenets contextualize education and acknowledge how education impacts culture (#5, 6, 7, and 8) and how culture (and individuals within the culture) shapes education (#1, 2, 3, 4, and 9). When integrating technology into activities, two tenets seem most important:

  1. Education is interactional in the sense that teachers and learners interact dynamically with teachers providing scaffolding to engage students who are enactive in learning.
  2. What is learned can be externalized in the form of works that support discussion, debate, and further learning.

What I envision is creating a design model for implementation that uses the eight principles as a foundation and then at various steps includes these two tenets as part of an iterative process.

Such a model may look like this:

83

My question is, which tenets would you add to this model? How? And would this proposal even have a positive impact?

One answer: “We all know that one of the main measures of teacher effectiveness is by measuring how much the students have grown throughout the school year. So the only thing that I would add to your model would be a tool other than TKES to measure teacher effectiveness as it relates to students overall academic performance growth.”

What would be yours?

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