Friday, December 7, 2012

Technology Integration: What I've Learned.

My first graduate class in integrating technology into education was very interesting.  This blog post will attempt to share some of what I learned.  I had heard the term Web 2.0, but really did not know what it all entailed.  Web 2.0 is the second generation of the Internet. Instead of being a passive reader of the Internet, Web 2.0 tools allow people to add, edit, and share their own creations on the Internet (Schrum and Levin, 2009).  Users can communicate and collaborate instantaneously on the net, using tools like Google Docs, wikis, blogs and podcasts.  Users can share information, pictures, and documents, some of which can be edited by several people simultaneously.  Tools like VoiceThread (see post below) allow users to share and discuss presentations, pictures, as well as ideas.  A tool called a Ning allows people to create their own social networks and share information about a common topic.  Blogs, like this one, allow a person to share ideas and information with anyone who has access to the site.  You Tube, and other sites, allows people to share videos, which have had a huge impact on our world news recently, or help people to learn how to do almost anything!  There are many educational tutorials on YouTube, including some on how to use Web 2.0 technology. The variety of tools available also allows teachers to reach all students with different learning styles.  Web 2.0, therefore, is a beneficial tool for teachers to use, in the classroom or outside of the classroom as supplementary instruction or review, along with their other teaching tools.  There are also alternative technologies and universal design tools that help all children, but specifically those with disabilities, to succeed in school.  Multiple ways of accessing the computer, for those with motor difficulties, for example, or technology that aids struggling learners with reading, writing and mathematics, are other forms of 21st century educational technology.  Many products, Dragon or Clicker6 for example, allow alternative input or feedback to the student.  Many of them can be modified to suit the educational level of the student.
Marc Prensky has written and spoken extensively on this subject of 21st Century education.  In his article “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants” (2001), he calls the current generation of students “digital natives” because they have been inundated with technology from the time they were born.  Because of this, he asserts that they “think and process information differently” (Prensky, 2001, n.p.) than previous generations did. Seventy-five percent of members of the generation known as the Millennial generation, those born between the early 1980’s and 2000, have a Facebook account, and a majority of them use the Internet for information or entertainment (Schrum and Levin, 2009).  We need to use these tools to reach our plugged-in students.  Experts suggest a learner centered education, as opposed to the old lecture format.  As Schrum and Levin put it, “teaching is not just telling” (p.12).   I have always believed that children need to learn facts, but they also need to learn HOW to learn, meaning how to find information and become lifelong learners.  They need to have authentic learning experiences, which they can obtain by interacting with students and people from other states and countries over the Internet.
But that does not mean sending them on to the Internet to surf randomly at their will.  There are tools and standards that teachers can use to design lessons and curriculum based around using the Internet.  Interestingly, when I started teaching office and publishing computer skills ten years ago, and was trying to develop a curriculum, there were no state standards for what we were expected to teach.  There were some guidelines.  Today there are state standards for Information and Communication Technology, as well as student, teacher and administrator standards from the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).  Common Core standards have technology interwoven into the core subject standards.  There are also safeguards and protocol that must be integrated.  There are sites mainly for education, like and Edmodo, which are alternatives to other blog sites or social networking sites.  Many of these sites have controls in place that allow the teachers to control who is able to access the sites as well as moderate posts (in case there is anything personal or offensive being shared) .  The WebQuest, developed by Bernie Dodge and Tom March, at SDSU, is a tool that allows teachers to organize and specify which sites their students are to use to complete their projects.  For more info on WebQuests, see  Of course teaching students about Internet safety and Netiquette are also important prerequisites and ongoing learning experiences.  Educational bookmarking sites, like and, among others, allow students to organize and save information for project reports, as well as share that information with their peers, when working on a group project.  Some may also be effective for saving student work in a portfolio, which is also a requirement by some state education departments.
Lastly, there are many roadblocks to integrating technology into education.  First, education for the teachers is an important part of 21st century education.  There are so many products and tools available, but if the teachers are not trained to use them, they may not use them.  Teachers need to research and learn how to use the tools before implementing them. The TPAK model shows how content, pedagogy, and technology all combine to develop a framework for integrating technology into education (Koehler, M. and Mishra, P., 2006).  It is important for teachers to seek out professional development opportunities, and 21st century websites like ISTE and (a Ning site) provide those opportunities.  There are also concerns about privacy and protection of our children. Laws like CIPA and COPPA, FERPA and possibly HIPPA constrain use of the Internet in education. Some districts block everything to ensure compliance with these laws, but we need to find ways to comply with the laws and ensure online safety without limiting the ability of teachers and students to use the web to expand their educational possibilities.


Prensky, M. (2001).  Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. On the Horizon, 9 (5).
Mishra, P. and Koehler, M. (2006).  Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge: A Framework for Teacher Knowledge. Teachers College Record 108 (6).
Schrum, L and Levin, B. (2009).  Leading 21st Century Schools. Corwin. Thousand Oaks, CA.


  1. Great explanation of Web 2.0. I like to think of it as interactivity. I remember the first time my work was reproduced by a teacher in a Voice Thread. No one knew what it was back then, now it's part of graduate level courses. Netiquette is Web 3.0. Web 3.0 is interactivity with rules for internet etiquette. Visually speaking it's rounded corners with squares mixed in.

    1. Thanks for the comment. And thanks for the link to the Netiquette site. Am looking for material to teach Netiquette to students.