Technology Integration Evaluation

I’m lucky enough to be in that age group that grew up with technology. I don’t mean with an iPad in my hand. I mean technology and I grew up together. I remember when we got our first VCR, home gaming console (ColecoVision), Computer (Thank you PCjr), Walkman, Discman, DVD, TeVo, Limewire, ITunes, Netflix etc. I learned how to do cursive and type. I learned how to use microfiche and the Internet. I learned how to change the margins and font on Word so that my 4-page essay was really 10 pages. ūüėČ

Seamless integration is when students are not only using technology daily, but have access to a variety of tools that match the task at hand and provide them the opportunity to build a deeper understanding of content.

What it means to integrate technology has changed so quickly over the past 10 years. I became a teacher in 2006. Post-internet, Pre iPads. What integrating technology meant back then compared to what it means now is completely different and it keeps changing every day.

My Tech Teaching Timeline copy


Image © 2012, by Dr. Ruben Puentudura

Today I feel that I am still constantly rotating between the different stages of the SAMR model, especially when trying something new. For example, I was really excited to use Google Forms for my students to sign up for their choices in a community outreach program. I thought forms would automatically collect their email addresses, but because email is turned off for fourth graders, it did not. So I had the students use post-its to collect the data and I was done in less time than the Google Form idea was taking. So, I learned, technology is amazing, but not always necessary. We need to be the gate-keepers of technology and find a balance. If tech is simply substituting for the good, ole paper and pencil and providing no real functional change, then we need to ask ourselves why we are using it.

When I started with COETAIL I came across this infographic on ¬† Since then, I have created a similar poster with my students to help them categorize the many tools they know and they best ways to use them. In doing so, my students gained a deeper understanding of the tools they know and their functionality. This enables them to be in the driver’s seat and understand how to use technology to meet their needs.

My overall evaluation of my technology integration is that in many ways it is in the transformational stage, and in other ways, it is in the enhancement stage and it continues to go through an ebb and flow between the different stages. My goal moving forward is to continue to empower my students to understand how technology can help transform their learning and be able to choose the tools that best support their needs.

Jennifer Byrnes

My name is Jen and this is my 10th year as an educator. I am a fourth-grade teacher at the American School of the Hague. I have lived and worked in the US, Uk, Italy, China and the Netherlands. I have taught grades K-4.

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2 Responses

  1. Hi Jen,

    It’s an amazing journey we are on! The devices your students now use every day would have sounded like speculative science fiction back in the VCR days (there’s nothing as cool as an iPad in the original Star Trek). What is waiting for us around the corner?

    I wonder whether we are too hard on Substitution. It’s the bottom of the SAMR ladder, but if it is replacing a worthwhile activity, the activity will still be worthwhile. Your Google forms example reminds me of the times when I have felt the relief of falling back on an analogue solution. I find myself doing this more and more; it’s an easy way to wrongfoot the students!

    Even when we are apparently substituting, moreover, with a digital device we are creating a record which we could compare year-on-year; we are building in the possibility to share what has been done; and maybe the students themselves will identify a way in which the technology can transform the task (the ‘deeper understanding’ in your Seamless definition above).

    “Do you think I’m only substituting?” ask my concerned colleagues, and I feel I have to reassure them that they have not failed in any way. Furthermore, Redefinition is quite a high bar which we need to reserve for the occasional triumph (I often have difficulty just defining what I’m already doing).

    Maybe SAMR needs a subterranean rung called Diminish which we can congratulate ourselves for having avoided, but then it would even be more difficult to pronounce.

  2. Hello Jennifer,

    I like the idea of the students making the Pedagogy poster. Talking through what are the “best ways to use them (Technology)”. I am wondering how I could incorporate this into my teaching of PE to MS and HS students. What were the types of questions that students asked you? What were the key questions that you used with students to create understanding about depth and use of technology?

    Your thoughts about how it was just as easy to do it with pen and post its because the email addresses where turned off is a timely reminder about how other systems of operation can get in the way. Steve’s point above about substitution methods allowing for a historical record is also something that I have been thinking about. It makes me think of the days of databases and how do we store this information. Tag it if you like and how much time does this take for what reward. I would love to find a simple solution to recording post its or pen and paper work for later use or comparison.

    You have made me think about SAMR from a different angle, thanks


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