As well begin to move into a new school year, I feel it valuable to provide some literature-informed insights on our technological horizon, along with some strategies to help leaders (both formal and informal) successfully navigate upcoming changes and challenges, and leverage technology in ways that impact staff, students and learning positively.
What’s on the Horizon?
To assist us in understanding technology in school, it is important for us to understand what is pushing contexts to innovate and change, and what is hindering progress. Technology adoption is being accelerated by numerous emerging trends, pedagogical shifts and learner needs, including (Acer for Education, 2018; Adams Becker, Brown, Dahlstrom, Davis, DePaul, Diaz, & Pomerantz, 2018; Freeman, Adams Becker, Cummins, Davis, & Hall Giesinger, 2017; Rogers, 2018):
- coding as a literacy
- redesigning learning spaces
- a focus on measuring learning
- a emphasis on deep learning
- creating cultures of innovation
- the proliferation of Open Education Resources (OER)
- cross-institution and cross-sector collaboration
- interdisciplinary learning
- machine learning
- flipped learning
- 1:1/BYOD becoming a standard
Conversely, technology adoption is being hindered by (Acer for Education, 2018; Adams et al., 2018; Freeman et al., 2017; Rogers, 2018):
- the need to improve digital literacy
- teaching computational thinking
- learning to create authentic learning experiences
- rethinking the role of teachers
- how to sustain innovation through leadership changes
- addressing the achievement gap
- ensuring digital equity
- bandwidth capabilities
- systems security and outsourcing
How do we approach this successfully?
Technology integration and use must be planned to aligned with the values and beliefs held by a school’s culture. Values and beliefs are what is believed to be most important to a school, and shape how the culture perceives reality (Gruenert & Whitaker, 2015). Most values in schools are learned, such as football, planning time of technology in teaching and learning. Effective change connects to the deepest values of your staff and inspires greatness (Kotter, 1996). Therefore, in order to support successful technology change, we must connect the technology to existing key values. In other words, we must answer the question does your culture’s definition of effective teaching include technology as an effective learning tool? Below are three strategies to support effective technology integration in your context.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Standards for Teachers: In today’s classrooms, all teachers must have competency in ICT. Many school districts, government agencies and international organizations have standards and resources available to support leaders in ensuring schools have frameworks to lead professional learning (PL) in this area. A great way to establish a sense of urgency for professional growth is to begin with a brainstorm activity where staff collaborate on what knowledge and skills they feel are necessary in this area. Then, introduce any district or government standards, and compare lists. To extend, you can also provide standards from external resources and literature to solidify expectations. For example, ISTE has an excellent yoga-inspired summary great for PL, even providing opportunities to integrate kinaesthetic learning. Yes, I have done this, with great feedback from staff. From here, staff can then set an individual goal for improvement in one area.
Improving Teacher Self-Efficacy: While knowing how to use technology is necessary, this is not enough if teachers do not feel confident using it (Ertmer, & Ottenbreit-Leftwich, 2010). Spending time to increase self-efficacy can be accomplished in a variety of ways, including helping teachers gain successful personal experiences, providing time to witness technology successfully supporting students, working with knowledgeable peers, allowing time for teacher to play and explore tools, and starting small. Co-planning and co-teaching are excellent methods to support all of these (Ertmer et al., 2010). Providing release time to tinker and plan, with the expectation that co-teaching results, will help move teacher practice forward.
Connections to Pedagogical Beliefs and Values: Effective technology integration depends on a consideration of the interactions among technology, content, and pedagogy. This is known as TPACK (Mishra & Koehler, 2006). TPACK is the interplay of three primary forms of knowledge content (CK), pedagogy (PK), technology (TK). However, the TPACK approach goes beyond seeing these three knowledge bases in isolation. Successful technology integration for pedagogy around specific subject matter requires understanding the relationship between these components while also considering:
- the individual teacher
- school-specific factors
To help better explain the overlapping intersections, please see below. Please keep in mind that pedagogical preferences also influence technology integration in teaching and learning. For example, teachers who currently hold more traditional pedagogical practices, such as direct instruction, tend use use technology in low levels. In comparison, teachers who hold more emergent pedagogical beliefs, such as constructivism and connectivism, tend to use more technology. When working with staff members, we must first discover if the teacher believes there is value in the technology being proposed (PCK & TCK).
Yes, this is big work, and yes, this work requires time, resources and supports for your staff. However, it can be done. If we begin with understanding the values and beliefs our our context’s culture and use the correct resources/supports, we can navigate our unexpected technological future.
Acer for Education (2018, January 12). 8 education technology trends for 2018. Retrieved online from http://eu-acerforeducation.acer.com/education-trends/8-education-technology-trends-for-2018/
Adams Becker, S., Brown, M., Dahlstrom, E., Davis, A., DePaul, K., Diaz, V., and Pomerantz, J. (2018). NMC Horizon Report: 2018 Higher Education Edition. Louisville, CO: EDUCAUSE, 2018. Retrieved online from https://library.educause.edu/~/media/files/library/2018/8/2018horizonreport.pdf
Ertmer, P. and Ottenbreit-Leftwich, A. (2010). Teacher technology change. Journal of Research on Technology in Education 42(3), 255-284. Freeman, A., Adams Becker, S., Cummins, M., Davis, A., and Hall Giesinger, C. (2017). NMC/CoSN Horizon Report: 2017 K–12 Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium. Retrieved online from https://cdn.nmc.org/media/2017-nmc-cosn-horizon-report-k12-EN.pdf
Gruenert, S. and Whitaker, T. (2015) School culture rewired: How to define, assess and transform it. Alexandria, Virginia USA: ASCD.
Kotter, J. (1996). Leading change. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
Mishra, P., and Koehler, M. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108(6).
Mundy, M., Kupczynski, R., and Kup, K. (2012). Teacher’s perceptions of technology use in the schools. SAGE Open, 2(1).
Rogers, C. (2018, January 10). Edtech 2018: 17 emerging trends. Education Technology. Retrieved online from https://edtechnology.co.uk/Article/edtech-2018-17-emerging-trends