Organizing for Instructional Results
Just "using" technology in schools is not the end goal; it is too broad and too vague to guide destinations, implementations, and assessments. Even the term "integrating" has come to be translated into classroom practices as "do something, do anything -- just use it." Scare resources and potential impacts become dissipated with this vague expectation for integration by the range of variables involved: the multiple technologies and thousands of software packages purchased, the range of learning pedagogies practiced, and the varied grade levels / content areas / standards being affected. Measuring "integration" then defaults to tracking efforts with technology use and exposure rather than targeted, focused learning outcomes. The question being asked with the increased technology budgets in schools is "what is the added-value." In other words, "what do we have now that we could not have had without the technology?"
Our Technology and Learning Spectrum is an instructional framework charting three broad categories of technology uses for teaching and learning: 1) Literacy Uses 2) Adapting Uses and 3) Transforming Uses. Groups will learn how several system indicators might interact together to create distinctly different categories of learning and technology. Access and staff development, for example, need to be organized differently depending on the learning category being targeted. As educators move from literacy uses to transforming uses with students, equipment ratios need to decrease and staff development needs to increase. Groups are able to use this framework to map their learning uses, and then intentionally organize essential indicators in ways that will target their preferred instructional uses.
Browse each of the three categories for a brief overview of characteristics and a scenario describing each type of technology use, its learning pedagogical focus, the equipment levels required and the approach needed for staff development.
Schools will be able to increase their visible impact with technology by intentionally focusing their equipment and staff development resources on the combination of literacy, integrating and evolving uses that works best for their students. View a sample mapping of learning uses in schools comparing their actual (present) and preferred (vision) uses across the three categories identified in theTechnology and Learning Spectrum chart.
The chart for "present uses" was determined by interviews, observations and ranking teacher artifacts. The chart for "preferred uses" was determined by interviews and technology plan(s) analysis. There are no "right" percentage of uses . . . only whether the present uses meet the expectations of the vision AND the results are considered worth the time and money. Consider these questions when evaluating your charts: 1) How close are the present uses to the vision of technology use? 2) What's in place to close the gap, if any? 3) What additional strategies might be added to the implementation efforts to increase the speed and breadth of technology's impact on student achievement?