I hope every educator will find something of interest on this blog. We all come to technology from our own personal background, and it is my aim to honor the wide variety of experience brought by all educators.

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Google Docs Tutorials

Google for Teachers

Technology Integration Plan

Photo courtesy Rhian vK, Flickr 
I know you make a "Technology Plan" for your school or district, but do you make a "Technology Integration Plan?"  Many of you do, and I hope you will comment and tell us about your experience, but I would like to say here that if you don't, you might want to consider it.

A Technology Integration Plan is essential in assuring that the equipment you have purchased and placed in teachers' hands is being used in ways which enhance student engagement and achievement.  If a student is engaged in what s/he is learning, there is increased understanding and memory.

What is Integration of the Technology?  When technology use is integrated, you can't tell which part is content and which part is technology.  Students are doing things to learn the content with the technology, and likely they wouldn't be able to learn what they are learning without the technology.  It's all bound together, like the image at the right.

Let's say you purchased Interactive Whiteboards last summer, along with ceiling-mounted projectors.  Perhaps you also acquired document cameras for your classrooms.  How do you monitor the use of that equipment?

Do you do walkthroughs?  These are popular for administrators to see how equipment is being used.  I have seen several of these instruments, and I know each school and district will make one to suit their own needs, but consider doing them with an electronic tool such as an iPad or even palm-sized Blackberry or iPod Touch.  If you have access to any of these with a data plan, create a Google Form with your questions, and when you enter a classroom, have the form up and ready.  It will look like a survey, which you simply go through while you observe.  Once you complete the questions, click "Submit."  The responses for each of your walkthroughs will be gathered onto one easy-to access Google Spreadsheet in your GoogleDocs!

Don't know how to use Google Docs or Forms?  Don't worry- it will be in my next post.

I'm off track- let's get back to the Technology Integration Plan.

As an Instructional Leader, you will want to know that your new equipment is being used in the best possible way.  After you have the free training from the vendor (if available,) watch for which teachers are learning how to build lessons which require students to engage with the technology in meaningful ways.  Ask for lesson plans to be provided to you which show student engagement.  Look for more than just the "magic chalkboard" use in which the teacher is showing off the board.  Insist that students are up out of their seats, walking to the board, and that each student is able to respond.  There is not room enough here to show you how such equipment should be used, but the Technology Integration Matrix developed in Arizona is interactive and will give you plenty of food for thought.  It's interactive, so be sure to roll over the topics to read more about each level of integration and see links to lessons which illustrate that level of integration.

Asking for integration at the higher levels will give you more confidence that the expenditures made by your district have the best chance of making a difference in student achievement!

...and everyone wants that!