Choosing the right technology to use with students can be a daunting task, with potential pitfalls adopting tools that might become unintended roadblocks to student learning and interaction. However, when technology integration in the classroom is seamless and thoughtful, students become more engaged and develop more control over their own learning. This article provides guidance on how to approach technology in the classroom, the affordances of technology, and the principles of technology integration. This article will guide you on the following:
A good starting point for technology integration is to start where you are comfortable. Are your students already using technology to complete assessments or meeting in a live online classroom? Maybe you are new to the use of technology for learning and have only heard mention of a few tools, or perhaps you already experiment with a range of technology tools. No matter where you start, it is essential to recognise and reflect on the change that needs to occur in your classroom, the new processes you will adopt and new ways students will engage in their learning.
To start with, you could focus on technology tools that can support students to complete assessments and achieve the unit learning outcomes successfully. Some example tools you may wish to adopt are listed in the table below.
curate media from a variety of sources
Microsoft One Note
Blackboard + Plus tool in the content editor
Videos (Mediasite, YouTube)
construct online learning activities to support active learning
create an online community of enquiry around your subject matter
facilitate students to build creative projects or portfolios
Some things to consider about choosing technology tools
Only choose technologies that will help students achieve learning outcomes
Avoid using technologies for the sake of having colour and movement or for offering interactivity with no underlying educational goal
Start small and start simple
Make sure the student has the support they need to use the technology successfully
Make use of any supports available including colleagues, educational designers or digital resources staff assigned to your faculty
The tabs below provide some further ideas about using technology tools in your teaching and support resources to get you started, including examples of supported technology approaches at SCU and knowledge base articles. Click on each heading to view the resource relevant to you.
What is it that you and/or your students should be able to do? There are some great models available, such asDigital Bloom’s TaxonomyandSAMR, that can offer guidance for any decisions regarding technology tools. Are you seeking to substitute, augment, modify, or redefine an existing teaching or learning activity? Make sure that it is clear from reviewing your objectives what your intended goals are.
Step 2: Survey the list of technology tools
Once you have your goals and objectives clearly in mind, the next step is to take an inventory of your current technology use as well as look at your environment for incorporating the new technology. What tools are you and/or your students already using? What are you comfortable with? What is working? What tools are already at your fingertips and/or perhaps provided/supported at SCU? What tools are frowned upon and/or blocked at SCU?
Step 5: Select your tool
Eventually, you finally need to take the plunge and pick a tool to use. Don’t worry..you aren’t stuck using the tool foreverIf you eventually change your mind down the road, you can always change the tool.
Step 6: How will it be used?
Clarify for yourself and/or your students how the tool will and won’t be used. It’s at this point you may want to revisit your objectives to ensure that your plan for use meets your stated learning objectives. Are you using the right tool for the right problem?
Step 7: Scrutinize your choice
After you’ve thoroughly used the tool for a specified period of time reflect on your use of the tool? Did it meet your needs? What unexpected issues did you and/or your students encounter? Is it working well enough that you want to stick with it, or is it time to try something else? You’re not locked into continuing to use the tool if it isn’t meeting your needs.
Some important considerations about technology are:
What is required to support student use of the technology? Will students know how to interact with the content or activity? What instructions do I need to give them?
How can I give feedback to the student on their interactions with learning content and activities? Are there mechanisms to automate some level of feedback or will I need to contribute my time?
What feedback can the students give me on the usefulness or otherwise of learning content and activities? How will I know if students are interacting with different technologies?
How will I know what is an appropriate balance of technologies to use in my unit or in each module? How much media is too much? How many learning activities should there be per module?
How should I sequence learning activities and content? Is there a common format or should I use my own judgement?
Some important questions about technology to keep in mind in the context of your faculty are:
What technology choices to support student learning are my colleagues making?
What technologies will students be using in other units in this course?
Will this be the first time students are accessing these particular technologies?
If you are unable to answer these questions, this would be a good conversation to start within your faculty!
Making informed decisions about technology integration requires thoughtful and purposeful design of learning experiences, materials, activities and assessment. Use the tenets behind the SCU Model to help guide your choices. When you use technology to support learning, it can help to learn about the menu of choices available to you. Remember to start small and build your confidence over time. Develop your unit and make technology choices in the context of your faculty, the course and the work of your colleagues. Be aware of the assistance and resources available to help you with technology choices including your colleagues and the Centre for Teaching & Learning.
The following technology guides are currently available to support you.