Integrate or Integral

keyboard_book.jpgI recenlty read a great post by David on his blog and it struck me that in our efforts to help teachers see and discover the great learning potential in new technologies that we sometimes get frustrated with them for not seeing things our way… that integration is not good enough… that technology use must be integral to everything they teach. I totally agree with him that it should not be seen as an add-on and that really we should be learning specialists who understand the potential of technology rather than technology specialists who are helping teachers teach with it. However, sometimes I think we have been guilty of not understanding where teachers are in their pedagogical beliefs and have not brought those beliefs into the equation. What teachers believe about teaching and learning directly impacts how they will leverage new technologies. For example, does technology help facilitate collaboration or problem-solving? Does technology supply tools that help amplify thinking, spark creativity, or visualize ideas? Does technology empower students and facilitate self-directed learning or the pursuit of unique interests?

Or, in along more traditional lines: Does technology help me generate worksheets, create puzzles, assess quantitatively, present information, create displays, find resources for my lessons, communicate with parents…

We have to understand the pedagogical framework that teachers are working from rather than impose our ideas of how technology use should look if it is integral to learning. What kind of learning? I think that the real issue here that drives technology’s integral role is how we view learning. Because let’s face it – for some, technology is just a pain in the neck and they use it as if they were putting a square peg in a round hole. They use it to please their superiors. Or, they try their best to steer clear of it altogether. So, I think the work that still needs to be done is to help bring vision back to teachers who have lost it, to help teachers no longer excited about learning new things find that spark, to rekindle their desire to connect with students, to help teachers take risks and to make failure safe, to reward collaboration and innovativeness, to foster a community of practice… I think THIS is where technology becomes integral. Any less, and technology, at best, is integrated. At worst, tolerated.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Change, classroom, conflict, integration, Learning, pedagogy, teaching

3 Comments on “Integrate or Integral”

  1. […] a visit to Steve Ransom’s blog since it had been a while and I found these words of wisdom in Integrate or Integral: So, I think the work that still needs to be done is to help bring vision back to teachers who have […]

  2. M J Says:

    Yes, I totally agree,

    I am a technology integrator in a newly establshed school in UAE. I realize that teachers deal with ICT as an overload o their shoulders.

    Some schools use ICT as a marketing tool but not as a teaching aid.

  3. Stephen Ransom Says:

    It’s a much bigger task than simply getting teachers to use the tools (toys) that were purchased for them. Sometimes it may feel like my wife buying me a new vacuum…. thanks.

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