Saturday, January 21, 2017

What is Technology Integration Success?

Technology Integration Success. What does it look like? For me? For the programs I'm a part of? For my students? For the teachers I support? Success is a big word full of many nuances. Often times I will leave school finding myself reflecting on what feels like a successful day... perhaps it's seeing a teacher tackle a tech project, feeling that a teacher is seeing the WHY regarding tech integration, watching a student get excited about their learning, seeing growth and understanding with technology as a support to learning. It could be many things that make me feel like a day is successful. 

I think one of the things that many schools haven't done well in technology integration is defining what successes look like. I think technology hit the market for education so quickly and dramatically that many schools got the cart before the horse. 

Instead of deciding WHY technology should be a part, it just was and the groundwork for expectations and philosophy of use is begging to be written. But it's not our kids that are asking what are the expectations? why are we using technology? it's our teachers. Our students accept that technology is a part of their world and they see the value of it as part of their education. I also believe they are the first line of attack/understanding when a bad technology decision is made and should be heard during technology adoption processes. Students know when something is quirky, slow, or not helpful immediately. The difference is that we as teachers often keep trying to make the system work while the student looks for other solutions. I've seen it first hand over and over. Teachers will be asking students to create something using technology and inevitably someone says "is it ok if I use this app/website instead? I find it easier/faster/cheaper/better."

Students are adaptive. They adapt to different adult personalities all day long and they adapt to different expectations all day long. They, sadly, are used to not getting their WHY questions answered. But that's not fair. As educators we have to show them that technology comes with rights and responsibilities. In order to best do that Schools need framework to show how technology can possibly enhance education but in that we must also prepare students for a future of constant access to a powerful resource that magnifies heart issues.

Call it digital citizenship or digital stewardship but the bottom line is there has to be an understanding of these rights and responsibilities in regards to this world of constant connectivity. Creating a constitution of connectivity that can be referenced, respected, and acknowledged as a common ground regarding the WHY,  the HOW, the WHO, the WHEN, and the WHERE gives teachers both the freedom to explore and develop their curriculum with technology in a supported environment. A framework also gives the hesitant teacher the push to make sure all students are equally being taught valuable technology skills for their future. 

So the WHY is the philosophy of technology integration. The WHO is integration expectations. The WHEN and WHERE are the adoption of standards to meet the HOW and WHY. Easy, right? 😉

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