In many districts, classroom teachers are expected to be using instructional technology to enhance learning experiences for students. So how comfortable are teachers with using instructional technology? Some are at the entry level of technology integration, while others are at the transformative level. Still, no matter where the teacher lies on this continuum, the most important question that needs to be asked is what type of learning experiences are being created for students? In this regard, teachers now have to wear the hat of an instructional designer for web-enhanced learning.
Instructional designers apply a systematic methodology based on instructional theory to create content for learning events.” Source: www.eng.wayne.edu There are many prescribed instructional design models that instructional designers employ, but classroom teachers are not necessarily trained on instructional design models. Hence, teachers will need support with developing “systematic processes that can be employed to develop [web-enhanced] learning environments in a consistent and reliable fashion” (Reiser, Dempsey, 2007).
The Technology Integration Matrix (TIM) lists five possible learning environments that are suitable for powerful learning experiences for students. They are:
- active learning – students are actively engaged in using technology as a tool rather than passively receiving the information from the technology.
- collaborative learning – students use technology tools to collaborate with others rather than working individually at all times.
- constructive learning – students use technology tools to connect new information to their prior knowledge rather than to passively receive information.
- authentic learning – Students use technology tools to link learning activities to the world beyond the instructional setting rather than working on decontextualized assignments.
- goal-directed learning – Students use technology tools to set goals, plan activities, monitor progress, and evaluate results rather than simply completing assignments without reflection.
When designing lessons, teachers must always consider the instructional objective that they are trying to achieve which should be aligned with State Standards. Teachers should then think about the five learning environments, and which one will get them the closest to their learning objective. The environment will govern which instructional technology application will be chosen for use within the lesson. Then the lesson’s procedures and assessments can be constructed. Click here for a copy of a lesson plan framework based on the TIM Matrix that I created. This framework helps me to change paper based lessons into digital lessons.
Using the TIM Matrix has helped me to move from entry level technology integration to the adoption level. Now, to move towards my goal of transformational teaching.
Florida Center for Instructional Technology. (n.d.). The Technology Integration Matrix. Retrieved from https://fcit.usf.edu/matrix/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/TIM_Summary_Descriptors.pdf
Robert A. Reiser and John V. Dempsey, trends and issues in instructional design and technology (2nd ed.). Merrill Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 2006,