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Top Ten Posts of 2016 #6: Integrating technology. Yes. It’s different than simply using technology

I’m sure most of you are doing the same thing I’m doing right now. Spending time with family and friends, watching football, catching up on that book you’ve been dying to read, eating too much, and enjoying the occasional nap.

But if you need a break from all of the holiday cheer, we’ve got you covered. Between now and the first week in January, you’ll get a chance to re-read the top ten History Tech posts of 2016. Enjoy the reruns. See you in a couple of weeks!


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I’m spending part of  today getting ready for my METC presentation next week.

And as part of my presentation prep, I’m exploring what it really means to integrate technology. I started with the idea that just because teachers or their students use technology as part of teaching and learning, doesn’t necessarily mean that they are actually integrating technology into what they’re doing.

That idea morphed into the next:

Does it make a difference?

I’ve decided that it does. Using technology is different that integrating technology. Using a microwave to heat soup doesn’t make you a chef. Using Google Docs to create an outline doesn’t mean that you’re integrating technology.

But I was curious what others are saying so I started digging into what those differences might look like. And I ran across a older blog post by Aditi Rao over at Teachbytes. Aditi apparently was having a similar conversation several years ago when she created a handy-dandy chart that outlined her thoughts.

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The SAMR model has gained ground since she published her post and there are some strong similarities between the two. But I still like her work – there are some specific indicators here that can be helpful to us as we design learning activities. And taken together, a great conversation starter.

So what is technology integration in the social studies?

A planned and purposeful use of information and communication technology tools with the goal of engaging students and helping them develop high levels of historical thinking skills.

The opposite?

Technology for technology’s sake. Tools and apps that drive instructional design. Technology that focuses on teacher behaviors rather than student learning. A focus on platforms rather than results.

This means less notetaking during lectures and more online collaborative document analysis using Padlet or Google Keep. It means less sharing of digital worksheets and more product creation using tools such as Adobe Slate or Storehouse. It means more appropriate use of authentic simulations and less use of web-based textbooks.

It means that we need to use the SAMR model and documents such as this alignment of tools with thinking skills to purposefully plan for tech that supports learning goals rather than the other way around.

Aditi’s chart is a good reminder for all of us. Tech is a tool. Not the end in mind.

One Comment Post a comment
  1. Glad you found the chart useful! Thanks for sharing.

    January 4, 2017

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