There is such a great push to have educators infuse technology in the classroom, but without a road map it can be overwhelming. First, there is the professional development piece. There are countless technological applications that one can choose to implement in the classroom- enough that you have a choice between a few different apps or web 2.0 tools to use for the same purpose. In order to figure out what works best for you, trying them all is almost a necessity. One can now choose the application that is most comfortable or available, given the resources at hand.
Last Wednesday, I participated in delivering a presentation about technology use and student engagement. Prior to the presentation, I came across a great framework to consider the levels of technology use. The SAMR model, developed by Ruben R. Puentedura is definitely worth reviewing as it provides a framework for technology use in the classroom. Puentedura identifies four levels of technology integration/infusion. At the base level, technology is purely being subbed in for tools that had been used previously. Same old, same old, but now a computer is being used to do the same task. Moving into the augmented stage, the use of technology simply improves how the task was previously completed. The use of technology makes the task easier, better. At the level of modification, without the use of technology the lesson wouldn't happen. The use of technology is integral to the delivery of the lesson, or the exploration of the concept by students. The redefinition stage is where I imagine all tech savvy educators exist in an energized state of being. The use of technology pushes down the classroom walls that hold the exploration of the world at bay. Technology use at this level allows students to think deeply and critically, to gain access to information previously unattainable, and explore and represent ideas in a way that was previously inconceivable. There are technological applications that will allow educators to operate at any of these levels. The question is: what kind of an educational experience to we want to provide for our students?
Please have a look at this great matrix I found that delves a little deeper into Puentedura's SAMR model. It is a great tool for any teacher who is looking to appropriately infuse technology within the classroom.