A Powerful Model for Understanding Good Tech Integration
Good technology integration isn’t about using the fanciest tool, it’s about being aware of the range of options and picking the right strategy—or strategies—for the lesson at hand.
The biggest obstacle to teaching online probably isn’t the technology. Teachers seek out educational technology, in fact, because it “can have considerable positive impacts on student performance,” according to a 2016 study—improving test scores and allowing teachers to assess student achievement more efficiently. The big problem is how to integrate it: Beyond the sheer number of tech tools available, the same researchers identified “inadequate professional development and training” as the primary obstacle to using technology productively in classrooms.
Understandably, the emergence of the coronavirus has dramatically accelerated the process of integrating edtech, as educators around the country race to get online as fast as they can. But as many of our teachers have noted, the current state of K-12 online learning is more like triage—a form of crisis management—and not at all like skillfully managed distance education.
What’s missing from the conversation right now, which makes sense given the immediacy of the need, is a focus on the bigger question of what the highest quality technology integration actually looks like. That’s an important conversation to have, because in a post-coronavirus world there’s likely to be a greater emphasis on digital learning, even as we return to physical schools and take advantage of face-to-face opportunities.
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