Characteristics of the Learning Environment
Previously, I discussed what TPaCK is and how it should affect our teaching. I delineated the acronym stands for Technology, Pedagogy and Content Knowledge in my previous post. You can read my blog post here. Twenty or thirty years ago, long before the explosion of technology in education, teachers worked at perfecting their craft or pedagogy along with their mastery of subject area content knowledge. TPaCK gives educators an overview of technology integration in relation to content and pedagogical knowledge. What it does NOT do is delineate how educators are to achieve TPaCK or what it should ‘look like.’ In writing about TPaCK, I frequently found another acronym that intrigued me…SAMR, or Substitution, Augmentation, Modification and Redefinition.
While examining SAMR, I discovered the Technology Integration Matrix or TIM! I like the simplicity of the SAMR acronym, but it is not as detailed as the Technology Integration Matrix. This two-part blog post will explain the Technology Integration Matrix. It is a five-by-five matrix, the columns comprising levels of technology integration and the rows comprising the characteristics of the learning environment. Since, we can all relate to the learning environment, and it is probably the easiest, I will examine the Characteristics of the Learning Environment first. However, let me provide a little background.
The Technology Integration Matrix (TIM) was developed by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology (FCIT) at the University of Central Florida. It was established in 1982, working for over 30 years with educators in integrating technology into curriculum. The Florida Center for Instructional Technology developed the matrix as a guide for the convoluted task of evaluating technology integration within classrooms. The matrix affords common language for comprehensive pedagogical technology integration by all actors within the learning environment as well as their ancillaries. This theoretical framework is based on the constructivist theory of learning being an active, constructive and thereby continually evolving process, as well as an educator’s best practices. The matrix was originally established between 2003-2006, with a second version completed in 2010-2011. In this most current version the descriptions of the matrix were revised and even expanded with video references in Language, Science, Math and Social Sciences. Even background, what is the Technology Integration Matrix (TIM)?
As mentioned earlier it is a five-by-five matrix delineating the Levels of Technology Integration and the Characteristics of the Learning Environment. In this blog post I am going to focus on the Characteristics of the Learning Environment. Each row of the TIM constitutes a characteristic of the learning environment. Every level of the learning environment then ascends through increasing levels of technology integration. These five Characteristics of the Learning Environment are: Active Learning, Collaborative Learning, Constructive Learning, Authentic Learning and Goal-directed Learning. Let’s investigate each level in isolation
Active Learning occurs when students are actively engaged in using technology as a tool rather than passively receiving information from the technology (Florida Center for Instructional Technology, 2018). This characteristic then climbs through five different levels of integration: Entry, Adoption, Adaptation, Infusion and Transformation. In Active Entry students are passively receiving information, similar to watching a video. Next is the Active Adoption Level in which students are using tools but in a conventional and procedural manner, much like writing an essay on Google Docs or Microsoft Word. This is followed by the Active Adaptation Level whereby students still have a conventional use of tool, but now there is some choice and exploration by students. This is similar to making a presentation, regardless of the modality. Near the top is the Active Infusion Level where students conduct regular, self-directed use and choice of tools. Finally, the Active Transformation Level, occurs when students use technology tools extensively in an unconventional way. This might be similar to students doing a green screen video as an on-site news reporter.
Collaborative Learning occurs when students use technology tools to collaborate with others rather than working individually at all times (Florida Center for Instructional Technology, 2018). At the Entry level, Collaborative Entry, students use tools individually. No collaboration among classmates occurs. During Collaborative Adoption, students are using technology tools in a conventional way, but collaboratively, such as a classmate editing a document. Collaborative Adaptation occurs when there is student choice and exploration collaboratively. An example might be, students deciding which application to utilize and then working together to complete it. Collaborative Infusion is regular use and choice of tools when collaborating. Finally, Collaborative Transformation is working together with peers as well as outside resources in a manner not possible without technology. For example, participating in a book study with another class within their district OR someplace else in the United States.
Constructive Learning commences when students use technology in connecting new information with their own information rather than just passively receiving the information. During Constructive Entry information is just delivered to students, and nothing more. Constructive Adoption is when technology use is guided for conventional knowledge building. This would similar to watching a video. Constructive Adaptation is similar to Constructive Adoption, but now technology use by students is independent and there is a little student choice and exploration. Constructive Infusion is where the change really occurs. During Infusion students are regularly using technology of their choice to maintain, acquire and build knowledge. Finally in Constructive Transformation is where the change really occurs. Here students build knowledge extensively through an unconventional use of technology.
The easiest way to explain Authentic Learning is relevance. This is when students use technology tools to interact with learning activities in the world outside the classroom instructional setting. A prime example of this would be Problem Based Learning or PBL. Authentic Entry level learning is unrelated to the world outside the classroom door. It is important to note students may find this boring. Change begins to take place in the Adoption Level where there is guided use of technology tool and activities with some relevance to the outside world. Authentic Adaptation displays students choice and exploration using technology independently in some way connected to their lives. This might be observed whens students write to the mayor about the homeless problem. Authentic Infusion Learning is when students now take adaptation to a new lever, using technology on a regular basis in a meaningful activity. Last, but not least, Authentic Transformational Learning in which students use technology in a local or global context innovatively for higher order thinking and learning.
Finally, is Goal-Directed Learning where students use their technology tools to set goals, plan activities, monitor their progress and then evaluate the results NOT complete assignments with no type of reflection. Goal-Directed at the Entry Level directions are given and the instructor performs step-by-step task monitoring. Goal-Directed Adoption is the normal policy and procedural use of tools to plan and monitor goals. This might be similar to using Google calendar for setting due dates and see what is coming up. Goal-Directed Adaptation, occurs when students have some choice and exploration and use tools in a purposeful way to meet their goals. This may be like using Google hangouts to converse with team members. A flexible and integrated use of technology tools to plan and monitor progress towards goals is visible in Goal-Directed Infusion Learning. Lastly, students using technology extensively to plan as well as monitor progress is within Goal-Directed Transformational Level.
Each one of the five Characteristics of a Learning Environment progresses through each Level of Technology Integration. As mentioned briefly earlier these are the Entry, Adoption, Adaptation, Infusion and Transformation Levels. In Part II, I will delineate each of the Levels and how they relate to each of the Characteristics. Below I have included a diagram of Technology Integration Matrix for your viewing. Earlier I had review TPaCK and what it was as well as SAMR. As you can now see TPaCK is a concept between Technology, Content and Pedagogy. SAMR is brief explanation of technology and how to go about integrating it. The Technology Integration Matrix (TIM) is a comprehensive and detailed matrix of technology integration and the learning environments. We will dig deeper into the matrix next time.
All images and content used with the permission of the Florida Center for Instructional Technology at the University of South Florida.