So, do we “integrate” technology, “embed” technology, or something else? I think we FUSE it! Dictionary.com says that fusion is the uniting or blending of two elements into a whole, as if by melting. It’s time to melt together to create a wholistic 21st century approach to education.
Technology has to work “seamlessly” (as Jeff Utecht says) into our teaching. We can’t be adding it for the sake of progress. Instead “learning determines the technology, not the other way around” (hear full podcast here).
While I was evaluating my own teaching, I was pleased to recognize the “four key components of learning” as Edutopia defines them (active engagement, participation in groups, frequent interaction and feedback, and connection to real-world experts) already in my classes. However, I am just now warming to the idea that technology is the mold in which my students are refined. This is difficult for me, because my mold is more like an ice tray of separate, time-tested (read “outdated”) learning pieces. If I take those out of their freezer (the comfort zone in which I currently teach my students) I feel like my structure, my form will disappear.
However, I cannot melt into my students’ learning style unless I’m willing to melt or fuse with their world. As much as I see the need for this and acknowledge my fear of going there, I still feel woefully inadequate about where and how to begin. I think this is where I need someone with vision.
While watching the Edutopia video of Harrison Central High School‘s technology integration, I kept asking: Who structured this change? Who inspired these teachers to work together and showed them what resources were available for their specific content area? As the Stratford Board of Education stated: “[Technology integration] cannot be legislated through curriculum guides nor will it happen spontaneously. Someone with vision—an administrator, a teacher, or a specialist—needs to model, encourage, and enable integration, but only a classroom teacher can integrate technology with content-area teach.” Maybe that’s what a Technology Integration Specialist and I do together? We have yet to have that kind of vision, spirit, or expertise at my school. No, what we really need is a Technology Chef- one who can melt the world of our students, into the static and frozen world of their teachers into a new recipe for success!