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Education Opinion

An Example of Integrating Technology the Right Way

By Patrick Larkin — December 01, 2015 2 min read
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I am frequently involved in conversations with educators surrounding the integration of technology resources in their schools. Many of these discussions center around one-to-one initiatives where schools are looking to put a web-enabled device in the hands of every student. While reviewing the details necessary to do this work well, I often hear stories of schools and districts who rush too quickly to the acquisition of the devices without having meaningful discourse within their school communities as to what they are looking to accomplish and how the devices will help them in attain these outcomes.

A short time ago, I was fortunate attend a local one-to-one summit at Nipmuc Regional High School in Upton, Mass. It’s a school that has done an exemplary job charting its course to becoming a one-to-one school. Principal John Clements and his team shared some very concrete steps that are useful for any school looking to add more technological resources to support teaching and learning. While I encourage you to spend some time looking at nipmuctechintegration.weebly.com, the website that Principal Clements and his team created, I would like to highlight three key steps:

  1. Start with collaboration - The members of a school community are likely to have a range of opinions and experiences related to technology integration. When developing a shared vision for one-to-one learning in your school, your team can benefit from the perspectives, creative solutions, and best practices of other districts.

  2. Let your beliefs drive teaching and learning - Research on technology integration shows that one-to-one implementation is most effective when “a vision has been developed in collaboration with all stakeholders.” (Check out the planning document used at Nipmuc to help staff and students develop the vision.)

  3. Market your vision - Marketing the vision for one-to-one learning is a critical component of establishing community support, funding, and student teacher buy-in. (Check out the concrete examples here of how Nipmuc markets its vision.)

Following the overview of the steps needed to get everyone invested in this one-to-one program, the Nipmuc team went on to review five concrete ways to help ensure integration success:

  1. Model technology integration best practices - Don’t wait until the devices are in your teachers and students hands before modeling technology integration best practices.

  2. Technology SMART goals - One of the most impactful ways to support your teachers is to help them assess best practices. (The administration created optional SMART goals that staff members could use in the teacher evaluation process. This was a great idea since Massachusetts educators have to develop these goals anyway. More than 70 percent of the staff members at the school adopted the SMART goals.)

  3. Develop a common model of technology integration - At Nipmuc they have adopted the SAMR model to allow teachers to have a shared definition of impactful technology integration.

  4. Professional Development - Professional development needs to be differentiated, ongoing, and modeled by school leaders.

  5. Teacher Collaboration - Promote teacher leadership and teacher-to-teacher collaboration to model and share best practices of technology integration.

Whether you are in the early phases of integrating technology throughout your school or well into the process, the steps outlined by the administrators at Nipmuc Regional High School are worthy of review.

The opinions expressed in Reinventing K-12 Learning are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.