Welcome to Integrating EduTech

I am so excited to be hosting a workshop, and two presentations at ISATT 2017 in Salamanca, Spain! Click here for information about the conference.

Acquiring Educational Technology: Identifying, Evaluating, and Integrating

Posted on Feb 25 ,2016

Posted in Current Research, Evaluating EduTech, Integrating EduTech

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Fostering Market Efficiency in K-12 Ed-Tech Procurement is a report from Johns Hopkins University in partnership with the education industry association (Morrison, Ross, Corcoran, & Reid, 2014). The purpose of this report was to examine how schools identify, evaluate, and acquire educational technology. In addition, the study wanted to look at how efficient this process was and what factors increase or decrease this efficiency. Through their research, Morrison et al. (2014) developed 5 Action Points that make up the typical process in acquiring educational technology.

  1. Action Point I: Budget and funding for Educational Technology.
  2. Action Point II: Assessment of needs for Educational Technology.
  3. Action Point III: Finding educational technology that address those needs.
  4. Action Point IV: Evaluation of educational technology for effectiveness.
  5. Action Point V: Acquiring the product

The study then goes through each action point with key findings and ways of improving the efficiency of the process along with other comparisons (Click here to read the full report). My research on evaluating education technology fits in mostly with Action Points III and IV.

Morrison et al. (2014) found that there was a challenge identifying products that meet educator’s instructional needs. Due to constant changes and advancements in technology, as well as the sheer number of products available, it is difficult to keep up with the latest available tools. Additionally, it is challenging for providers to promote their product, especially those who are less established in the market. Possible solutions included creating a national website with information on available products, creating a network where stakeholders can meet to share information, and connecting providers with educators (Morrison et al., 2014).

Once an educational technology product is identified, it needs to be evaluated for effectiveness in addressing the instructional need advertised, usability, cost, and other factors (Morrison et al., 2014). However, Morrison et al. (2014) found that there was no readily accessible source of evidence on the effectiveness of educational technology products from sources apart from the providers. Therefore, school districts depend on recommendations and word of mouth information from participants in pilot studies or by conducting their own field tests.

Through this report, Morrison et al. (2014) identified many areas within the process of acquiring educational technology that need to be addressed in order to make sure the most efficient products are being used within our schools. However, we should not stop here. As I have said before, it is not enough to just acquire an educational product and say go. Educators need to be assisted in integrating this product into their classroom. Even if an educator has gone through all these steps and found a tool that meets their instructional need, is cost effective, will work with the network they have available to them, and received the proper funding to acquire the product, it needs to be properly integrated within the classroom and used to its potential, or the tool will not work.

This is the basis for my research! Through this blog, my twitter, and my research projects, I want to create a handbook for teachers and school districts to help them through the process of acquiring, evaluating, and integrating educational tools to their full potential. If you have comments, information, or ideas to help me along this journey please contact me through this blog, I would be more than happy to listen to all that you have to say.

Other Posts You May Be Interested In

80,000 to 1: Where do you Start?

Evaluating Digital Tools

Evaluating Early Literacy Apps

7 Steps to Evaluate an App

5 Ways to Integrate Technology into Your Classroom

References

Morrison, J. R., Ross, S. M., Corcoran, R. P., & Reid, A. J. (2014). Fostering market efficiency in K-12 ed-tech procurement: A report from Johns Hopkins University to digital promise in partnership with the education industry association.


80, 000 to 1: Where do you Start?

Posted on Feb 11 ,2016

Posted in Evaluating EduTech, Integrating EduTech

samr-model-graphic

Edsurge recently released an article discussing the possibility that the educational gaming industry is falling back into the edutainment trap from 20 years ago. Within the article they reported that there are 80, 000 apps in the Education category of the Apple Store. Due to the fact that it is easier to create a drill and practice game than a learning platform, there are a lot more ineffective apps than beneficial. I am not saying that drill and practice games do not have their place and cannot be made effective in the right circumstance, however, educators need to be aware of how to evaluate these apps for their effectiveness and benefit within their classroom in order to sift through those 80,000 apps to find the one that is right for them.

Before you look at any digital tool, you need to decide what you want to gain from using technology in your classroom. Read my blog post on What Educators Want from Educational Technology to get some ideas. Remember that technology has the ability to take a lesson past what was once possible in the classroom. Dr. Puentedura laid it out nicely in the above graphic. Why use technology to locate places on a map when you can have students create a guided tour of the city? Which one requires a higher level of thinking? Which one will students remember and engage in? So think big but make sure your goal is aligned to your classroom vision, your teaching style, and the needs of your students.

Additionally, examine the SAMR Model. Which stage does your goal fit into? Is your purpose going to use technology to its potential? Think past using technology as a substitution for an activity you can already accomplish in the classroom. Think past using technology as entertainment and practice. Reach towards using technology to transform the learning experience in your classroom.

Finally, once you have constructed a goal that will benefit you and your students, you can start looking for a tool that will help you accomplish it.


Evaluating Digital Tools

Posted on Feb 3 ,2016

Posted in Current Research, Evaluating EduTech

Digital Learning Ecosystem

Since FETC 2016 I have been continuing along my journey of understanding how to evaluate and integrate educational technology into the classroom. I recently come across a report from Alliance for Excellent Education (2014) on using technology to support at-risk students here to read the report). Through their research they came up with several aspects of using technology that make up the Digital Learning Ecosystem. Using this report, I have developed 4 questions educators should consider before using educational technology in their classroom.

  1. Is the digital tool going to work well with the technology available to you?
    • Do you have the infrastructure to run the digital tool effectively (ex. Bandwidth, storage, etc)
    • Do you have enough access to use the digital tool effectively (ex. does it need 1:1 devices)?
    • Do you have technical support available to you or are you able to handle the installation and any glitches on your own?
  2. Will the digital tool fit into your learning community?
    • Will it work well within your classroom and with your students?
    • Will it fit well with your approach to learning and classroom management strategies?
    • Will it require parental involvement or at home access?
  3. Will the digital tool help you and your students accomplish your learning goals?
    • What types of skills will the digital tool help your students develop?
    • What sort of content does the tool work well with (ex. math, science, cross-curricular)?
  4. What sort of learning activities does the tool work well with?
    • Do they get to explore and create content through the digital tool?
    • Is it interactive and/or adaptive?

In addition, before jumping on board with any type of educational technology consider these 5 implications for policy makes and educators discussed within the report.

  1. Educators should aim for 1:1 devices, especially in low-income areas where students may not have access to technology at home.
  2. Educators should consider the speed of their internet connections to prevent user issues
  3. Remember that at-risk students benefit the most from technology that is engaging and interactive.
  4. Students should be able to use the digital tool to create and explore content.
  5. Students benefit most from blended learning environments. The digital tool should not replace the in-person collaboration between teachers and students as well as student to student.

References

Darling-hammond, L., Zielezinski, M. B., & Goldman, S. (2014). Using technology to support at-risk students’ learning. Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education. Retrieved from http://all4ed.org/reports-factsheets/UsingTechnology/