Technology Integration Bootcamp #1: Starting With The Why

Welcome to the U Prep Technology Integration Exchange! Our first monthly topic is a Technology Integration. We’ll discuss some models and approaches to help frame the “what”s and “how”s of technology integration, but we’ll start with the why.


(Video made in Keynote with Recording feature, uploaded to Vimeo)

Teachers talking Teaching (Further Reading):

Here is a sample of a few teachers’ ideas around their technology vision statements. You may be interested in what other teachers have to say about why they are working to use technology integration throughout their teaching, or you may need some inspiration to help you find your why. If so, explore below.

Join In:

Please share anything from a couple of sentences on up!

  • What is your “why?” What do you hope that technology can help you or your students do in your classroom? What are you striving for? Share your technology vision statement or ideas by posting a comment below.
  • Read others’ thoughts below– reply to them if you have a comment, follow-up question or just like what they said. Continue the discussion!



 Add your comment
  1. I have lots of reasons for using technology in the classroom, but the big ones:
    –Allowing every student to create something unique
    –Using all my classroom time in the most efficient/effective use possible, and
    –Teaching students skills necessary for real-world success.

    • I like all these goals, but is technology actually required in order to make a unique product? And in fact, might there be a risk of technology making things LESS unique in some ways? (I’m kind of just playing devil’s advocate here; I get the point you’re making, especially when it comes to customizable content.)

      • Dana, I think you’re hitting on what Walter Benjamin wrote about in “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” ( particularly that “Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be.”

        For me, I try to use technology to work at the service of art, rather than using it always as a medium in and of itself. I agree that drawing on the iPad can be amusing, creative, and instructive, but I tend to think there’s something that paper can do uniquely.

    • Tech in the class room represents using the using of current tools to acheive the goals (in my case) of a liberal arts education. A liberal arts education is intended to set those who possess it free; free from the control that others who have not read widely and learned to write and think critically ceed to those who have. I am a fan of the liberal arts, and I am a fan technology. However, I am not a fan of technology used in a head down fashion. Tech should be used in the classroom, but students should also be reminded that their education cannot be complete until they realize they need to look up from it to fully understand its implications, uses, and benefits.

  2. I really sit on both sides of the fence with this one. On one hand, I’m not a Luddite, and fully acknowledge that we live in a world where NOT using great resources feels absurd. That said, I definitely struggle to figure out how I want to integrate tech into my classroom — not just because it can feel overwhelming (although it can, even though I’ve been an enthusiastic and savvy technology user for a long time now) but even more because what I teach (fine art) is SO much about physical experience.

    I do worry that we’re in an era where both kids and adults are so connected to their devices that they’ve utterly lost touch with the physical world, in its subtlety and small moments of beauty, and with its complexity and richness. Drawing on your iPad is cool, but it’s not the same as drawing on paper. Your body and brain don’t get the same kind of feedback, and you spend more time aware of your tools. (And as far as I can tell, most everyone doing really interesting digital art has been trained in hand work first.) But you know, the immediacy of online approval, feedback, “likes” and attention make for tough competition. Why spend hours or months or years learning how to do something when you can take the short road and still get lots of positive feedback?

    I also relate to the people who feel like they don’t have enough time to explore, much less integrate, new things — although there are plenty that interest me. (It’s like that stack of books: they’re all interesting, and I do want to read them all. And I probably will. Eventually. When I find the time … Right??!)

    And while I don’t agree with them, I do also understand the people in the Hybrid Technology blog post who wondered, “Why change? What did these teachers have to gain by embracing technology in their classroom? Why should they spend hours familiarizing themselves with a tool when what they were doing was perfectly fine?” It’s hard to create and hone your curriculum; it’s even harder to think about taking it all apart and doing it differently!

    So I’d like to have technology be a supportive presence in my classroom. As a way to differentiate and collect when it comes to research, as a way to easily and quickly document student work (in progress and when it is complete, for my own use and in student portfolios), and as a way to make sure everyone can participate (not just the kids who speak up quickly). But I also want to figure out how to sort through ALL the bazillion options without wasting a lot of time.

  3. Jeff’s three points are spot on. I would also add that technology can facilitate fun, and novel fun can have a positive impact on student learning. In talking with my colleagues, I feel like we have a pretty good grasp on “why” technology is important, but the real issues teachers grapple with are time and implementation. Where do we find the time to learn the technology, and how do we implement that technology without hindering learning? I would encourage teachers to utilize the educational support staff. Want to run a lesson by us? I’d love to hear about it, do some tech research for you, and offer some rad suggestions!

    • Good point about the fun; your QR codes come to mind, because as an information junkie, I adore being able to find out more about something just by scanning it with my phone.

      Extra good point about time and implementation.

  4. I find the “physical vs. virtual” dilemma a false dichotomy. Contemporary society requires fluency in both physical and virtual skills, and no course is expected to be 100% virtual (not even computer science). This is a “both, and” moment, not “either, or.”

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