Defining Technology Integration
After technology becomes available, it must become integrated into the daily routines, work,
and management of an organization. The goal of perfect technology integration is inherently unreachable:
new technologies develop, students and staff come and go. in other words, things change. But it is the process by which people and an institutional setting adapt to technology (and the changes that
ensue) that matters most with regard to integration. The process of technology integration is one of
continuous change, learning, and (hopefully) improvement. Developing a culture that embraces technology
is central to its successful integration. For example, sending important messages to staff via e-mail or
encouraging staff to use electronic calendars to schedule meetings fosters a culture that accepts technology
as "natural" to the business of everyday work. Ideally, technology will become routine, seamless, and both
efficient and effective in supporting organization goals and purposes.
Technology integration is defined in this resource as the incorporation of technology and technology-based practices into the daily routines, work, and management of an organization.
Many organizations and publications have struggled to define "technology integration." Although different language might be used, a major theme of these definitions is that technology is a means to an end, but not the end in itself. Here are three different but supporting views of technology integration:
|"Boards of education need to recognize that technology integration is as much about change as it is about technology. How board members
feel about change and their attitudes about people's ability to change or not change are crucial."
- National School Boards Association
"Technology integration is the process of teaching technology (technology education) and another curricular area simultaneously. In addition, it is the process
of using technology to enhance teaching for learning (educational technology)."
- EdTech Connect
|"Effective integration of technology is achieved when students are able to select technology tools to help them obtain information in a timely manner, analyze and synthesize the information, and present it professionally. The technology should become an integral part of how the classroom functions-as accessible as all other classroom tools."
- National Educational Technology Standards for Students, ISTE
Identifying Integration Standards
Standards are essential for assessing technology integration because they provide reference points for measurement (e.g., lists of observable performances that demonstrate the use of technology within a learning or management context). One current example of technology integration standards is the Providing Professional Development for Effective Technology Use
developed by the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL), which can be accessed online at http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/methods/technlgy/te1000.htm. The NCREL report lists the following desirable elements of successful technology integration in an education institution:
- a connection to student learning
- hands-on technology use
- variety in learning experiences
- curriculum-specific applications
- collegial approaches to learning
- active participation of teachers
- technical assistance and support
- administrative support
- adequate resources
- continuous funding
- built-in evaluation
A report that looks at this integration can be found by examining the January 2005 National Educational Technology Plan released by the U.S. Department of Education, Toward a New Golden Age in American Education: How the Internet, the Law and Today's Students are Revolutionizing Expectation. This report focuses on signs of progress in core subjects and the success of innovative new approaches to learning through advances in educational technology. It also profiles today's students and includes a sampling of the views and recommendations of more than 200,000 students in all 50 states. The report includes numerous details of successful initiatives and partnerships developed at the state level by school districts and by individual schools. It concludes with a series of recommendations for enhancing the use and benefits of new technologies, and places them within the context of long-term, systemic transformation, covering such issues as leadership, management, teacher training and funding.
Technology Proficiency in the Teaching/Learning Environment
Before educators can successfully integrate technology into the learning environment, they must first be proficient in its use. Good indicators for measuring technology proficiency are generally in the form of performance measures that are based on clear and reasonable criteria. One example of such a measure is the Educational Technology Standards
and Performance Indicators for All Teachers as established by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) (cnets.iste.org/teachers/t_stands.html). These standards specify a desired performance profile for technology-literate teachers. Schools and districts can use these performance standards to assess teacher technology skills.
The ISTE Standards for Basic Endorsement in Educational Computing
and Technology Literacy (Excerpted)
1.0 Prerequisite Preparation - Foundations
1.1 Basic Computer/Technology Operations and Concepts.
e.g., candidates will use computer systems to run software;
to access, generate, and manipulate data; and to publish results.
1.2 Personal and Professional Use of Technology
1.3 Application of Technology in Instruction
2.0 Specialty Content Preparation in Educational Computing and
2.1 Social, Ethical, and Human Issues
2.2 Productivity Tools. e.g., candidates integrate advanced features
of technology-based productivity tools to support instruction.
2.3 Telecommunications and Information Access
2.4 Research, Problem Solving, and Product Development
3.0 Professional Preparation
3.1 Teaching Methodology
3.2 Hardware and Software Selection, Installation, and Maintenance
In total, there are 61 performance standards organized into the major categories listed above. Performance levels that correspond to acceptable proficiency are included for each item. A scaling procedure is defined, either in terms of a minimum threshold or by passing certain standards deemed important.
Reprinted with permission from National Educational Technology Standards for Students: Connecting Curriculum and Technology © 2000, ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education), 800.336.5191 (U.S. & Canada) or 541.302.3777 (Int'l), www.iste.org. All rights reserved.
Permission does not constitute an endorsement by ISTE. For more information,
A second approach to establishing technology proficiency indicators comes from the Fairfax County (Virginia) Public Schools, which has established eight teacher technology competencies divided into two competency skill areas: operational (standards 1-4) and integration (standards 5-8). The most frequent way teachers in the Fairfax County Public Schools meet the operational standards is by taking professional level technology courses, preparing a portfolio, or taking an operational skills test. For the integration standards, teachers can complete coursework, serve as a technology course instructor, prepare a portfolio, or give a presentation at a conference. The Fairfax County Public Schools offer many resources and training opportunities to help employees meet these challenging technology standards. These resources include school-based technology specialists, district-sponsored classes, and computer-based instruction available on both CD-ROM and the Internet.
Teacher Technology Competencies
Fairfax County (Virginia) Public Schools
A major goal of placing technology in the classroom is to provide new ways for students to learn. When students are able to choose and use technology tools to obtain, analyze, synthesize, assimilate, and present course-related information in an acceptable manner, then technology integration has taken place.
Establishing and implementing technology literacy standards for students can help teachers focus their efforts to integrate technology into the curriculum. Lists of competencies such as those provided in the examples below (and to the right) help teachers define expectations for student academic performance.
The ISTE NETS (National Education Technology Standards) projects have established six categories of
technology foundation standards for students:
Reprinted with permission from ISTE. For more information, visit http://cnets.iste.org/sfors.htm.
- Basic Operations and Concepts
- Social, Ethical, and Human Issues
- Technology Productivity Tools
- Technology Communication Tools
- Technology Research Tools
- Technology Problem-Solving and Decision Making Tools
As with standards for teaching staff (see above), student standards usually include performance indicators, as presented, for example, in the Profiles for Technology Literate Students (http://cnets.iste.org/students/s_profiles.html). These indicators describe the levels of competency that students should be able to demonstrate at the completion of various grade levels (e.g., pre K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12).
|ISTE NETS Profiles for Technology Literate Students
Sample Performance Indicators for Technology-Literate Students, Grades 6-8 (Excerpted)
(Numbers in parentheses below refer to the standard(s) to which each indicator applies.)
Prior to completion of Grade 8, students will:
Reprinted with permission from ISTE. For more information, visit http://cnets.iste.org/68pro.htm.
- Apply strategies for identifying and solving routine hardware and software problems that occur during everyday use. (1)
- Demonstrate knowledge of current changes in information technologies and the effect those changes have on the workplace and society. (2)
- Exhibit legal and ethical behaviors when using information and technology, and discuss consequences of misuse. (2)
- Use content-specific tools, software, and simulations (e.g., environmental probes, graphing calculators, exploratory environments, web tools) to support learning and research. (3, 5)
- Apply productivity/multimedia tools and peripherals to support personal productivity, group collaboration, and learning throughout the curriculum. (3, 6)
- Design, develop, publish, and present products (e.g., webpages, videotapes) using technology resources that demonstrate and communicate curriculum concepts to audiences inside and outside the classroom. (4, 5, 6)
- Collaborate with peers, experts, and others using telecommunications and collaborative tools to investigate curriculum-related problems, issues, and information, and to develop solutions or products for audiences inside and outside the classroom. (4, 5)
- Select and use appropriate tools and technology resources to accomplish a variety of tasks and solve problems. (5, 6)
- Demonstrate an understanding of concepts underlying hardware, software, and connectivity, and of practical applications to learning and problem solving. (1, 6)
- Research and evaluate the accuracy, relevance, appropriateness, comprehensiveness, and bias of electronic information sources concerning real-world problems. (2, 5, 6)
Another basis for assessment comes from the Nonprint Literacy Standards for Assessing Technology Integration, as developed by the National Research Center on English Learning and
Achievement (http://www.albany.edu/ltl/nonprint.html), which has divided technology competencies for grades K-12 into three skill areas: basic, critical and construction. Construction skills, as defined by these standards, refer to competencies involving the creation and use of nonprint texts for developing ideas and opinions, for communicating and collaborating with others, and for enhancing problem solving and personal fulfillment. The construction skills students should demonstrate by completion of elementary school are built upon basic and critical skills found in the Nonprint Literacy Standards (e.g., composing, developing, integrating, and presenting information in nonprint form).
Nonprint Literacy Standards for Assessing Technology Integration
National Research Center on English Learning and Achievement
Construction Skills competencies (for elementary school students):
Reprinted with permission from the National Research Center on English Learning & Achievement, Copyright © 1999. Albany Institute for Research in Education. All Rights Reserved. For more information, visit http://www.albany.edu/ltl/nonprint.html.
- use computer-based writing tools to communicate thoughts, ideas and stories
- use computer-based drawing tools to illustrate thoughts, ideas and stories
- use digital cameras to illustrate thoughts, ideas and stories
- use multimedia authoring tools in the creation of knowledge products
- use presentation software in the creation of knowledge products
- use Internet authoring tools in the creation of knowledge products
- use audio tapes for self-directed and/or extended learning
- use videos for self-directed and/or extended learning
- use technology resources for self-directed and/or extended learning
- use technology resources for problem solving
- create nonprint media for personal fulfillment
- explain basic strategies for revising, improving and updating nonprint media.
- use telecommunications technologies to participate in collaborative projects
- work collaboratively to seek and/or communicate information in nonprint formats
- work collaboratively to create simple nonprint information products
Administrators also benefit from understanding and competently using technology as they manage and set priorities for a school or district. Experience as a hands-on user helps administrators understand the change process that students, teachers, and staff must undergo when integrating technology. Effectively utilizing technology also empowers administrators to manage large amounts of information and make data-driven decisions.
Standards for administrators generally focus on their role as leaders in enhancing learning and school operations through the use of technology. Standards established by national organizations and state education departments often represent a consensus among educational stakeholders regarding what measures can best assess effective school leadership as it affects the comprehensive use of technology in schools.
The following set of standards, referred to as the Technology Standards for School Administrators (TSSA), has been published by a broad coalition of national principal, administrator, and school board organizations. It provides a basis for assessing administrator technology competency.
Technology Standards for School Administrators (TSSA) Collaborative
- Leadership and Vision:
Educational leaders inspire a shared vision for comprehensive integration of technology and foster an environment and culture conducive to the realization of that vision.
- Learning and Teaching:
Educational leaders ensure that curricular design, instructional strategies, and learning environments integrate appropriate technologies to maximize learning and teaching.
- Productivity and Professional Practice:
Educational leaders apply technology to enhance their professional practice and to increase their own productivity and that of others.
- Support, Management, and Operations:
Educational leaders ensure the integration of technology to support productive systems for learning and administration.
- Assessment and Evaluation:
Educational leaders use technology to plan and implement comprehensive systems of effective assessment and evaluation.
- Social, Legal, and Ethical Issues:
Educational leaders understand the social, legal, and ethical issues related to technology and model responsible decision-making related to these issues.
For more information, visit http://cnets.iste.org/tssa/.
Another set of standards has been developed by the Utah Department of Education's Technology for Principals Leading Utah's Schools (T-PLUS) project. It sets four primary goals and twelve objectives that can be adapted to establish administrator self-report or peer-review mechanisms aimed at assessing administrator technology proficiency.
Technology for Principals Leading Utah's Schools (T-PLUS)
Utah State Office of Education and Western Governors University
Reprinted with permission from Technology for Principals Leading Utah's Schools (T-PLUS) © 2001, Utah State Office of Education and Western Governors University. All Rights Reserved.
Possible Indicators for Assessing Technology Proficiency in the Teaching/Learning Environment
- Are teachers proficient in the use of technology in the teaching/learning environment?
- What percentage of teachers are achieving acceptable performance on standards-based performance profiles?
- Are students proficient in the use of technology in the teaching/learning environment?
- How many student courses incorporate instruction in technology tool skills into their contents?
- What percentage of students perform at or above grade-level-specific performance levels on standards-based profiles?
- What percentage of students are demonstrating competency at the basic skills, critical literacies, or construction skills levels?
- Are administrators proficient in the use of technology in support of school management?
- What percentage of administrators are demonstrating acceptable technology proficiency performance on standards-based profiles?
- What percentage of support staff are demonstrating acceptable technology proficiency on standards-based profiles?
- What percentage of administrators are using computer-based technologies on a variety of administrative tasks?
- What percentage of support staff are using computer-based technologies on a variety of administrative tasks?
Technology Integration in the Teaching/Learning Environment
Learning Standards and Student Assessment
Integrating technology into the curriculum involves turning technology into a tool that enhances student learning in a subject matter area or multidisciplinary setting. The technology becomes as accessible as all other classroom resources and an integral part of how the classroom functions.
There is no better driver of technology integration (or, at least, incorporation) into the teaching/learning environment than the inclusion of technology-related dimensions or items on teacher evaluations. Applying similar expectations to administrative staff evaluations further supports this goal.
One indicator of technology integration into the curriculum is the incorporation of technology proficiency (see above) into student and teacher performance standards. This use of a technology proficiency indicator is not the same as direct evidence of technology use, but it stands as evidence of institutional commitment to technology goals. This type of institutional acceptance, backed with support from teachers, parents, and administrators, is one way of ensuring that the adopted innovation (such as technology) will not disappear when circumstances change. The Oklahoma Priority Academic Student Skills (PASS) is one example of such a standard for students.
An Example of Student Standards in Instructional Technology:
The Oklahoma Priority Academic Student Skills (PASS)
Instructional Technology should prepare the student for lifelong learning in a rapidly changing technological society by providing a basic understanding of technology usage, processes, and systems. This knowledge is necessary for all students regardless of educational or career goals. The Priority Academic Student Skills (PASS) was written to provide utilization of technology throughout the curriculum. These priority skills were purposely designed to be broad in defining the basic skills for instructional technology statewide.
Each level of technology skill is built upon by previous levels. The skills addressed are:
- operation of the computer
- application software as a tool
- problem-solving skills
- telecommunications skills
- ethical and legal issues in technology
Priority Academic Student Skills (PASS)-Intermediate Level. The student will:
For more information, visit http://www.sde.state.ok.us/publ/pass.html.
- Operate a computer system in order to use software successfully.
- Demonstrate the usage of a wide variety of application software.
- Demonstrate skills in using productivity tools in problem-solving applications.
- Use computer-based technologies and/or telecommunications to access, synthesize and utilize information.
- Investigate the growth and development of technology in career areas.
- Describe legal and ethical issues related to computers and telecommunications including, but not limited to, such areas as computer copyright material, fair usage, privacy, security and computer viruses.
- Demonstrate appropriate keyboarding skills.
- Determine appropriate computer applications for task performance (i.e., what technology applications are most appropriate for specific academic purposes).
Barriers to integration include inappropriate hardware and software, insufficient staff training, and inadequate planning. It is important to remember, however, that the physical presence of hardware in a classroom says little about whether and how it is used in instruction. Simple counts of computers should not be used to measure technology integration. Even counting the number of classes taught in a "computer laboratory" setting is inappropriate as a measure of technology integration because technology-specific skills may be the only thing taught (as opposed to course content enhanced through technology use). Instead, measurement should be based on observing actual student access and usage.
A different sort of technology integration occurs with distance education. Offering courses via technology and a remotely located teacher provides a school or district with a way to extend the curriculum, and allows organizations to share a scarce or expensive resource (for example, a Latin teacher). The number of distance education courses offered to students is an indication of the infiltration of technology into the school's instructional base.
Two distinct ideas are brought together when considering technology integration and student assessment. On the one hand, there is interest in knowing whether student assessments include measures of technology proficiency or utilization, be they direct (such as including items in a mathematics test that require use of a calculator) or indirect (such as an assessment that involves a student presentation done in a computer graphics program, such as PowerPoint®).
Examples of student assessments of technology proficiency can be found at
Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators [http://school.discovery.com/schrockguide/assess.html].
A number of rubrics and portfolio guidelines are provided, including ones for Internet use, primary source utilization, and multimedia.
On the other, there is also interest in knowing the extent to which technology is used as a tool for administering assessments. The difference, then, is that the second issue addresses the use of technology as a tool for conducting student assessment, while the first issue addresses technology as a topic (i.e., skill or subject matter area) on a student assessment.
Technology can also be infused into the business of school management: for example, bus scheduling, cafeteria service, payroll, attendance, communications, and facilities maintenance. Information passes between principals and teachers, teachers and parents, central office and school offices, and districts and states.
In these and other areas, there is a wealth of opportunity for communicating more efficiently and effectively. The integration of technology into educational administration involves, at its core, the promotion of efficiencies in sharing information. Although these uses of technology may appear less glamorous than, say, allowing students to point a telescope remotely over the Internet, the potential effects of technology use in school management are no less revolutionary than in other areas of enterprise management.
Possible Indicators for Integrating Technology into the Teaching/Learning Environment
- To what extent is technology integrated into the learning environment?
- What percentage of teachers use computer-based technologies on a variety of instructional and instruction-related tasks?
- What percent of students use computer-based technologies on a variety of instructional and instruction-related tasks?
- How many courses are offered through external (state or regional) and internal (district-wide) distance education?
- Are technology proficiency measures incorporated into teaching and learning standards?
- Has the school or district adopted standards for technology proficiency for students? If so, are they also integrated into general or subject-area standards for learning?
- Do general or subject-area (student) standards include items related to proficiency in the use of computer and networking technologies?
- Has the school or district adopted standards for technology proficiency for teachers? If so, are they also integrated into general or subject-area standards for teaching?
- Do teacher standards include items related to proficiency in the use of computer and networking technology?
- Are technology proficiency measures incorporated into student assessment?
- Do student assessments include items directly or indirectly related to technology proficiency or use?
- How many student assessments are technology-based?
- Is technology integrated into administrative processes?
- To what extent has the collection of student attendance information been computerized?
- To what extent has the collection of staff attendance information been computerized?
- To what extent has the staff/human resources management system (e.g., substitute teacher management systems) been computerized?
- To what extent has the transportation management system been computerized?
- To what extent has the food service management system been computerized?
- To what extent has the special education management system been computerized?
- To what extent has the curriculum management system been computerized?
- To what extent has the library management system been computerized?
- To what extent have building-level access security control systems been computerized?
- What percentage of administrative applications offer web-based access?
- Does the LEA have a computerized fixed assets (capital assets) security and tracking management system, a digital imaging system, and an access control system?
- Does the LEA have a food services point-of-sale (POS) system?
- Does an integrated management system exist for the purpose of linking two or more major administrative functions?
- Are special education data integrated with the organization's student management system?
- Are special education data integrated with the organization's transportation application?
- Do building administrators and office staff have access to student data, financial data, and staff data?
- Do building administrators and office staff utilize online budget development, purchase orders/requisitions, or action forms/board resolutions?
- Do staff members have remote access to their payroll/benefits data, district policies, and/or attendance/sick time/vacation records?
- Does a student administrative application provide dynamic online data related to student attendance?
- Does a financial administrative application provide dynamic online data related to school budgets and/or purchasing?
- What is the ratio of administrative applications hosted on-site vs. off-site?
- What percentage of teachers use computer-based technologies on instruction-related administrative tasks?
- What percentage of teachers have access to data warehouse/data mining tools?
- What percentage of teachers provide homework/lesson plans online?
- Is technology proficiency integrated into the evaluation of instructional and administrative staff?
- Are teachers required to demonstrate technology proficiency or obtain a certification in technology?
- Are items related to technology proficiency, use, or integration in instructional settings a component of teacher evaluation procedures?
- Is assessment of technology proficiency or use a component of administrator or support staff evaluation procedures?