Hey, That’s My Job!

I started my readings this week by looking at the article written in 2007 on Edutopia titled What Is Successful Technology Integration?. While reading what immediately struck me is that while there are a couple of mentioned technologies that are not as heavily used today, the article is still relevant. What also struck me is that if you removed the date and gave that article to some teachers even 10 years on, they would be like “Wow, this is so relevant and new.” Which tells me two things. Firstly, that the articles points were valid in 2007 and are still valid in 2017. Secondly, that my job is safe for at least the foreseeable future!

As a Tech Integrationist (or IT Integrationist, or Tech Coach, or ICT Teacher or whatever term you are used to hearing!) I have had people tell me, “Oh, your job won’t exist soon because once all teachers will reach a point where they are integrating technology and they won’t need you.” Well, I disagree. I think that with the speed with which technology changes makes my job is safe for a while. I think that schools who take on the attitude of “We have everyone trained, so now we can eliminate the tech integration jobs because we don’t need them anymore.”, are doing a disservice to their teachers. They are leaving their teachers without the support that they will need to continue to move forward. Yes, they may be great at integrating technology at that point in time, but do you want to keep them at that same point for the next 5 years or do you want them to continue to develop and grow. I argue that if you want them to continue to develop and grow then you will continue to need Tech Integrators in your school.

Who is going to do the research? Who is going to challenge practices? Who is going to tell you “great you are at the Augmentation or the Modification step in the SAMR step of the SAMR model but what are you doing to move the Redefinition?” Who is going to keep track of the updates for applications and devices? Who is going to show teachers what is new and how they can tweak the practice that they are already doing to move themselves into better more authentic Tech Integration?

This article also made me think about that fact that many people do not know the difference between Technology Integration and Technology Implementation. I was a part of a group of educators who helped the IB develop the document titled Teaching and Learning with Technology and a big part of the early discussions were based on the difference between Integration and Implementation.

Another article I have saved from the past, is What’s the Difference Between “Using Technology” and “Technology Integration”? Which has a good visual to help see the difference between using technology vs integrating with technology?

I also like Jeff Utecht’s post titled I don’t want to integrate it, I want to embed it! I think his point is where all tech integrators what to be. Not an add-on that teachers use to ask for help but actually part of the process of planning for units from the ground up. Giving teachers that voice to remind them that they are embedding technology already but if they tweak this or that then they will be redefining their technology use, their curriculum, and their classrooms. Being able to make small changes to units to move technology use up the SAMR model instead of having to always suggest seemingly huge steps.

Our assignment this week is to look at the SAMR or the TPACK model and see where we are in it. This is where the “fun” part comes. Notice the “” marks! I say fun part with sarcasm because, how exactly can we do this? How should we rate ourselves and our technology use? That is a question that is asked repeatedly and I still don’t really know how best to answer it!

I generally go with something like. Well for Book Creator I would put myself in the level of Modification and Redefinition. But for iMovie, I would put myself in the realm of Augmentation and Modification. For me, it depends on the technology that I am using. It also depends on what I am doing with that technology and who I am working with. Many times I am working with a teacher and we are simply trying to move them from the Substitution to the Augmentation. I think because of this sometimes my own practice gets a bit stuck because until I have a large number of teachers above moving towards Modification and Redefinition, I am not challenged to move myself along either. Because I have found that sometimes I am too far removed from the lower steps and I intimidate teachers with suggestions because they are still in Substitution and what I am suggesting might be in Modification, which they are not ready for. So when I evaluate my own tech knowledge sometimes I find that I get stuck in a lower level than I would expect from myself.

For example, I have moved my knowledge of Google Sites from Substitution through Augmentation and I thought that I was getting closer to moving up the SAMR model but then I got feedback from my Course 3 Final Project. Some of my feedback from Ryan was:

“Your site is full of information, but if we look back at some of our learnings about visual literacy and design in this course, I feel like it may be a bit too text heavy. While it’s great to have lots of info, if it was turned into an actual resume it would be quite a few pages. Something to think about. In our quick click society, it may need to be paired back to a more visual experience. Could you think about it as a digital story? What story are you trying to tell via your website? The portfolio page is a great example of this as it tells the story of your work in an engaging, multimedia way.”

I hadn’t even thought about that fact that for most of my website I am simply in the Substitution stage. I have basically made a paper resume on a website. BORING! Some of this is because of my complete aversion to wanting to be on video. And some is simply because until another Tech Integrator looked at it and said “but, hey it isn’t really that new and innovative.” that I went, “Huh, So true! I hadn’t even realized that I was only in Substitution”. This is exactly why I think my job is safe for the foreseeable future, but what us Tech Integrators/Coaches have to do is help the directors, principals, board members, and HR departments understand is that there will never be a point where we are not needed if we are effectively moving technology towards being embedded into the school culture, curriculum, and pedagogy.

These two videos explain the SAMR and TPACK models by their creators.

Sources:

“SAMR.” Grandview Instructional Technology, Grandview School District, http://www.csd4tech.com/samr.html.

Rao, Aditi. “What’s the Difference Between ‘Using Technology’ and ‘Technology Integration’?” TeachBytes, TeachBytes, 20 Apr. 2013, teachbytes.com/2013/03/29/whats-the-difference-between-using-technology-and-technology-integration/.

Koehler, Matthew. “TPACK Explained.” TPACK.ORG, TPACK.ORG, 9 June 2017, matt-koehler.com/tpack2/tpack-explained/.

“How to Apply SAMR.” FUTURE-U.org, future-u.org/samrmodel/.

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