Characteristics of the Learning Environment
Last year, 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 the TPaCK blog post here. Earlier this year I wrote about the Technology Integration Matrix (TIM) Part I and you can read that blog post here. As mentioned in my previous post, 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 have already examined the Characteristics of the Learning Environment let’s explore the Five Levels of Technology Integration.
For those of you unfamiliar with it, 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.
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 Five Levels of Technology Integration. Each column of the TIM constitutes a level of technology integration. Every level of integration then ascends through increasing levels of technology integration. These five Levels of Technology Integration are: Entry, Adoption, Adaption, Infusion and Transformation. Let’s investigate each level in isolation.
Entry Level of Technology Integration begins when teachers use technology tools to deliver curriculum content to students (Florida Center for Instructional Technology, n.d.). Each level of Tech Integration then elevates through the five Characteristics of the Learning Environment: Active Learning, Collaborative Learning, Constructive Learning, Authentic Learning and Goal-Directed Learning. In Entry Active Learning the setting is arranged for some direct instruction and individual seat work also known as “drill and practice activities.” Students may receive curriculum from the teacher and/or other sources. Therefore, students access to technology may or may not be limited, but more than likely is highly regulated. Entry collaborative learning, is still arranged for direct instruction with individual seat work. However, students work alone utilizing technology, but may collaborate with peers without technology. During entry constructive learning, students receive information from teacher through technological means. Likewise, all students have access to the educator’s presentation. Moving on to entry authentic learning, resources available through technology are within the instructional setting such as textbooks and other supplemental materials. In other words, technology use is completely unrelated outside the instructional setting, Finally, entry goal-directed learning, occurs when directions, guidance and feedback all thru technology. This includes skill-building applications and the educators to track students progress across all levels.
Adoption Level of Tech Integration occurs when educators are directing students in the conventional as well as the procedural use of tech tools (Florida Center for Instructional Technology, n.d.). At the adoption level the teacher makes decisions about what technology to utilize as well as when and how to use it. Individual student exposure to technology may be limited; however, some tasks may require procedural knowledge of the technology tool. The active adoption learning stage, is designed for direct instruction and individual seat work with students having limited, but regular access to technological resources. Collaborative Adoption demonstrates using technology tools in conventional ways albeit collaboratively. This may be within the classroom, school, district or other location. Likewise, the constructive adoption displays a guided conventional use of technology for building knowledge by students. Moving on to Authentic Adoption, occurs when students are engaged in guided activities with meaningful content. And finally, Goal-Directed Adoption in which students are using technology in a conventional and procedural manner to plan and/or monitor. While students are still using technology in conventional ways, local control is still with the educator.
The Adaptation Level is the next stage of technology integration (Florida Center for Instructional Technology, n.d.). This is when the fun begins! Teacher facilitate students into exploring and independently using technology tools. Learning now becomes more student-centered instead of teacher-centered. One of my favorite sayings is, “guide on the side, not sage on the stage.” technology tools are now an integral of the lesson. While most technology decisions are left up to the instructor, students are guided in their independent use of technology. Students have a more familiarity with technology and a greater conceptual understanding of its uses. Therefore, students can work with less procedural instruction and explore different uses of technology tools.
The Adaptation Level consists of active adaptation, the conventional yet independent use of technology with some student exploration and choice (Florida Center for Instructional Technology, n.d.). Tools are now being utilized collaboratively with a little student choice and exploration in collaborative adaptation. In constructive adaptation students are building knowledge independently, while in authentic adaptation activities are connected to students lives. Finally, in goal-directed adaptation students are using tools purposefully to plan and monitor progress. Interestingly, in all five characteristics of the learning environment for the adaptation level, there is some student choice and exploration.
In the Infusion Level of technology integration the educator provides the learning context and the students choose the technology tools to achieve the desired outcome (Florida Center for Instructional Technology, n.d.). What makes the infusion adaptation level so different is a wide array of technology tools are integrated seamlessly and flexibly into teaching and learning. Technology is in sufficient quantities to benefit all students in making informed decisions about when and how to utilize different technology tools. It is important to note that the instructional focus is NOT on the technology tool, but rather student learning.
First, in the active infusion level of integration, students have a choice of tools with regular, consistent self-directed use (Florida Center for Instructional Technology, n.d.). Within the collaborative, constructive and authentic stages, students have their choice of tools for regular use in collaboration, building of knowledge and participation in meaningful activities. Last but not least, is the flexible and seamless use of tools in planning and monitoring progress in achieving the expected outcomes. Once again, it is important to note, students have regular, self-directed use of technology tools of their choosing.
Transformation is the last level of technology integration. This is where the real change takes place. In transformation the teacher encourages new and innovative uses for technology tools (Florida Center for Instructional Technology, n.d.). In transformation tech tools are utilized in a manner facilitating higher-order activities that more than likely would not have been possible without technology. Students now employ tools to acquire a specific learning outcome. This is achieved after receiving a conceptual understanding of the tools, paired with extensive practical knowledge about how their are used. Therefore, students apply their understanding and knowledge as well as extending their use of technology tools. Encouragement to use technology in unconventional ways by educators serving as guides and mentors is prevalent.
In the active transformation stage, students demonstrate extensive and unconventional use of tech tools (Florida Center for Instructional Technology, 2018). As with the infusion stage, in the collaborative, constructive and authentic levels of integration, students are collaborating, building knowledge and finding innovative uses for higher order learning not possible without the use of technology. Lastly, in goal-directed transformation, extensive and higher order use of technology to plan and monitor their progress towards achieving specific goals.
Each one of the five Levels of Technology Integration progresses through each Characteristic of the Learning Environment. As mentioned briefly earlier these are the Active, Collaborative, Constructive, Authentic and Goal-Directed Learning Environments. In Part I, I delineated each of the Characteristics and how they related to each of the Levels of Technology Integration. Below I have included a diagram of Technology Integration Matrix for your viewing. Last year I reviewed 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) provides a comprehensive and detailed perspective between the Levels of Technology Integration and the Characteristics of the Learning Environment. Hopefully, the information I have provided on TIM will assist you when integrating technology into your classroom.
All images and content used with the permission of the Florida Center for Instructional Technology at the University of South Florida.