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How can a technology integration framework help educators find the most suitable digital learning tools and content for their unique teaching context?

Professional development for educators can take many forms. One kind of professional development is the creation of a coach/educator partnership, where communication and collaboration takes place over a period of time. This model is consistent with ISTE standard for coaches 3b which states “Partner with educators to identify digital learning content that is culturaly relevant, developmentally appropriate and aligned to content standards.” While coaches cannot be experts in every content or standard, they can leverage on the teacher’s expertise, and other resources to provide guidance and support. This concept led me to the following question:  

How can a technology integration framework help educators find the most suitable digital learning tools and content for their unique teaching context?

Technology Integration Frameworks help ensure and guide best practices for digital integration in the classroom. Digital tools and content should not be considered in isolation, rather used purposefully in a way that it creates high impact and equitable learning experiences for all students.

The article The TPACK Framework Explained (With Classroom Examples) from Schoology Exchange, presents the TPACK Framework in great detail, its benefits, and why it is important. The authors define “TPACK is a technology integration framework that identifies three types of knowledge instructors need to combine for successful edtech integration.”

Reproduced by permission of the publisher, 2012 by tpack.org

One of TPACK’s benefits is that it can start with a teacher’s lesson, unit, or curriculum before moving to technology integration. The video “Lesson Planning with TPACK” shows how to incorporate the TPACK framework in a classroom transforming a lesson plan to a TPACK lesson plan.

https://app.sophia.org/tutorials/lesson-planning-with-tpack-5

TPACK is one of several models for technology integration. Others include LoTi, RAT, SAMR, TAM, TIM, TIP, and PICRAT.  Regardless of the model chosen, coaches need to make sure educators

  • understand what it is and how to use it to enhance or transform the learning experience
  • can integrate it easily and seamlessly within their educational context
  • supports learning goals and best teaching practices

The article PICRAT Model for Technology Integration in Teacher Preparation (2020) offers the criteria from Table 1 to analyze the needs, benefits and limitations of several technology integration models in teacher preparation.

From: PICRAT Model for Technology Integration in Teacher Preparation

This article also includes the primary limitations, criticisms or difficulties of each model. For example, the article evaluates TPACK as follows:

  • Clarity: Boundaries are fuzzy, and hidden complexities seem to exist.
  • Compatibility: Does not explicitly guide useful classroom practices (e.g., lesson planning).
  • Fruitfulness: Distinctions may not be empirically verifiable or hierarchical (e.g., TPACK vs. PCK).
  • Scope: May be too comprehensive for teachers (i.e., lacks parsimony for their context).

This article advocates for the PICRAT model, which offers a clearer and more thorough model that can be used as stepping stones for educators. The graph below shows the PICRAT framework.

https://citejournal.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/v20i1general1Fig5-1.png

Recommended steps

  • Teacher selects a lesson or a unit
  • Teacher identifies the learning outcomes / content.
    • What are students going to learn in this lesson or unit?
  • Teacher determines pedagogical strategies for engaging students in the learning process.
    • How are students going to learn the content?
  • Teacher select assessment options?
    • How can students demonstrate they have learned the content?

With the coach’s support and guidance, the teacher

  • Considers digital content available that supports the specific learning outcomes of the lesson.
  • Considers digital tools that support pedagogical strategies for learning the specific content.
  • Considers digital technology that students can use to demonstrate learning.
  • Fill out the PICRAT chart by following the flowchart below to determine whether the use of technology is Replacement, Amplification, or Transformation.
https://citejournal.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/v20i1general1Fig4.png

The following chart provides examples for each category within PICRAT

Coaches are not always the content or methods experts. Nevertheless, coaches can use a teaching technology integration model, such as TPACK or PICRAT, to help educators learn about and find the most suitable digital learning tools and content for their unique teaching context and needs.

For further consideration

I have experienced that professional development often happens before the first day of school, which gives teachers insufficient time to fully learn, absorbe and properly implement what they learn. I believe that training can be more beneficial if it were to take place after the school year, when teachers can reflect on what went well and what can be improved.  Another option is to have regular coaching sessions throughout the year.  The training can help teachers focus on those areas they deem necessary of improvement. During the summer, the lessons can be redesigned unhurriedly and in collaboration of their PLC.

References

ISTE Standards for Coaches. Retrieved https://www.iste.org/standards/iste-standards-for-coaches

Kimmons, R., Graham, C. R., & West, R. E. (2020). The PICRAT model for technology integration in teacher preparation. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 20(1). https://citejournal.org/volume-20/issue-1-20/general/the-picrat-model-for-technology-integration-in-teacher-preparation

Rodgers, D. (January 19, 2018). The TPACK Framework Explained (With Classroom Examples). Schoology Exchange. https://www.schoology.com/blog/tpack-framework-explained

Zielezinski, M. (2016, June 25) What 7 Factors Should Educators Consider When Choosing Digital Tools for Underserved Students? EdSurge. https://www.edsurge.com/news/2016-06-25-what-7-factors-should-educators-consider-when-choosing-digital-tools-for-underserved-students

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