Webb and Cox (2004) highlight that teachers need to think critically about their pedagogy and how ICT can be integrated into it. ICT is not an afterthought, rather part of the planning process. As teachers are planning, they need to think about what they hope to achieve. From there, they can think about the pedagogy and strategies that will work best and the tools and their affordances they require to make it a reality. ICT cannot be seen as separate from good practice and planning, rather, seamlessly integrated.
Do all teachers use this complex pedagogical reasoning in my organisation? No. But I think the more technology is seen as just one of many resources rather than something that should be used, we see more and more teachers shifting their ideas of technology integration.
I love watching the teachers teach who understand technology integration though. It is as if the technology is just an extension of their normal classroom practice and the students don’t see it as anything else either. It is used when appropriate, and when it’s not appropriate, it isn’t used, allowing both teachers and students to leverage their devices in effective ways. Our school and administration have put a lot of time, money and resources in supporting teachers in getting to this level. While not everyone is there yet, it is the direction we are moving as a school with more and more teachers having a deeper understanding of appropriate and effective technology integration each day.
Teachers need to be willing to not be at the centre of the classroom. This is a huge pedagogical shift from ‘traditional teaching’. As mentioned in Somekh (2008) in the various examples, the roles of teachers and students had to change and become co-constructed. Teachers are no longer the sole expert and need to take on the role of being more of a facilitator and supporter. The students have greater access to information through technology which allows the way they learn and what they learn to become more flexible and varied. Through effective technology integration, students can develop transdisciplinary skills rather than just technology skills that can benefit them throughout their life (ie: collaboration, time management, creating, investigating, etc.).
In order for this shift to be successful, teachers need to feel supported in a safe environment where it is okay for them to try things and make mistakes. Teachers should receive professional development in a variety of forms to support technology integration into their classroom. This is often best done with a technology coach who can guide them through effective practice.
This year, I had to work with all teachers in teachers in the early years to implement our new e-Portfolio programme for students, teachers and parents. In the past, the teachers were responsible for continually upkeep paper portfolios with comments the children said about pieces of work that the teachers wanted the parents to see. There was a huge shift to making it all online and having the students drive the reflections, making it more authentic for the students. In doing this, teachers had to change what they thought portfolios were and how reflections were meant to be recorded and used. This was done by starting small and growing the successes to other classes. Teachers received professional development not only on the specific application and the technical components of doing the e-Portfolio but also professional development on how this could look and work within the classroom. I worked with the teachers and co-taught at times, worked with small groups of students and met one-on-one for additional support. Students were choosing the work they wanted to share by the end of the integration. The students would document their work using photographs or video. They could then create audio or written reflections (depending on their development levels and personal choice) that would be shared online. The teacher allowed for a time within centres throughout the week for students to use the iPads to add to their e-Portfolios. Student motivation and engagement went up as they were in control of the learning and that they had an authentic audience (their parents) that would immediately see their work online. For teachers, the time and effort they needed to maintain the portfolio drastically went down, allowing them to reallocate that time to focus on student learning.
Section 5.3 of: Somekh, B. (2008). Factors Affecting Teachers' Pedagogical Adoption of ICT. International Handbook of Information Technology in Primary and Secondary Education. J. Voogt and G. Knezek, Springer US. 20: 449-460.
Webb, M. and M. Cox (2004). "A review of pedagogy related to information and communications technology." Technology, Pedagogy and Education 13(3): 235-286.