12 Ways To Integrate (Not Just Use) Technology In Education

There are a couple dozen ways to ‘use’ technology in education. There are also a couple dozen ways to integrate technology in education. Think those two things are the same? Think that throwing a few iPads and a few Edudemic blog posts into a classroom is the best way to launch a 1:1 initiative? In case you couldn’t guess, it’s not. So here’s a hypothetical to clear up my rhetorical questions even more:

Situation 1

You’re a school principal and decide to make the Apple iPad a cornerstone of your school’s curriculum. You give at least one to every classroom. Every student is told to get familiar with the device and you email out a bunch of Edudemic posts on awesome apps we like to all your teachers and students. Job done. Right?

Situation 2

You’re a school principal and decide to make the Apple iPad a cornerstone of your students’ learning. You hand out a handful of iPads to groups of students and have your teachers and other educators work with the students to uncover what apps and learning methods work best for them. You have a student-centric approach where the students are the main users of the iPad. You don’t make it all about the iPad. You make it all about learning and simply use the iPad as just another tool to enhance said learning.

Weigh In

Which principal would you want? What kind of teacher would you be if you threw an iPad into your classroom and basically used it mostly by yourself? That’s the crux of the discussion by the folks over at Teachbytes who came up with the fabulous visualization below. It details 12 ways to properly integrate technology into the classroom. It details what the difference is between ‘using’ technology versus ‘integrating’ and I simply love it. Hope you do too.

integrating technology chart


  1. Tricia Galloway

    April 25, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    Nothing like being a school parent raising funds like crazy for technology at your child’s school, only to see it gather dust in the classroom because nobody thought to integrate it into the curriculum (or even talk to the teachers about it (?) Some schools will push to get technology just to look competitive, but beware if you’re raising funds for something that will just sit there or worse, take time from real instruction.

    • C byron

      May 5, 2013 at 12:21 pm

      Totally, the whining I hear about needing training on the tech is so lame. It’s user friendly, you need to use it for it to be your friend.

  2. Sherri

    April 27, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Thanks–you make Situation 2 seem so simple. It’s a step by step process, and it takes time and planning. It’s one thing to write about it–another thing to do it. I wish there were more teachers sharing their successes (and lesson plans) with ways they’ve made Situation 2 happen in their classrooms. With the little I have done, I know it makes everything more engaging and more memorable.

  3. Darryl Joyner

    April 28, 2013 at 10:11 am

    You lost me at “cornerstone”. No device should be a cornerstone of children’s learning. Sound instructional design and execution is, and will always be the cornerstone. Devices, when used appropriately, can then play a key supporting role.

  4. Peter Sorrentino

    April 29, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    I agree with Darryl Joyner. Additionally, I would add that introducing technology successfully requires phases. Those phases will vary depending on the students, topics of study, readiness of infrastructure, etc. A great example of “merely” using technology might be to make all student materials, books, practice problems, vocabulary lists, project instructions, laboratory experiments, etc available on a tablet device that is issued to each student. One could easily argue that this is using but not integrating technology, I would.

    On the other hand, if this approach got more students doing the work required of learning, then it is a great use of technology. Could the technology be used in a better or more integrated way? Sure, but maybe that would require a year, two or three until it is developed fully, tested and implemented. A first phase of merely using the technology is likely to be good, but even it must be implemented properly. Subsequent phases should better integrate the tools/technology. On the other hand, one must be very careful that the technology not end up a distraction from the goal of learning the topics at hand.

    Technology initiatives often give the appearance of modern, good learning, when in fact the learning is diminished, but the entertainment factor is increased.

    With regard to costs (fundraising, etc) of property implementing technology, this is an area in which I find schools fail much too often. A very small percentage of the cost of implementing technology solutions is hardware (tablets, personal computers, phones, etc). Training and support is much, much more expensive. If those expenses are not property covered the return on the technology investment, if any, will be minimal. As an example, 10 years ago, prior to becoming a high school teacher, in my consulting we advised businesses that prior to deploying a personal computer/laptop, a return of over $10,000 per year per device should be expected. Otherwise the total cost will not be recovered. My former management consultant colleagues tell me that not much as changed about those numbers with regard to tablets and even smart-phones. The total cost (hardware, software, infrastructure, training and support) of which is about $7000 per year, give or take $3000 depending on many factors. I have not seen public education institutions that are realistic about these numbers, albeit, I have seen only a few. Usually, due to under funding, the return on the little investment made is disproportionately less than should be.

    • Debbie Stratton

      April 29, 2013 at 9:46 pm

      Technology integration could happen more seamlessly if teachers were given more opportunity to work on interdisciplinary lessons. Schools need more labs that are equipped

      • Debbie Stratton

        April 29, 2013 at 9:50 pm

        (oops,..hit enter too fast) Schools need more labs that are equipped with teaching tools with the ability for both students and teachers to demonstrate instructions and final product in a shared format. Time is something that is desperately needed for teachers to collaborate on interdisciplinary units to provide students the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned using technology available. This includes computers, video cameras, editing capability, and projectors to present final products.

  5. Jeff

    April 30, 2013 at 2:23 am

    I don’t get it… where are the 12 ways to integrate technology into education? Throwing out phrases like “technology is essential to the learning activity” in a neat list isn’t doing much of anything. Maybe I’m being a bit silly, but I just don’t see any value in what you linked other than the ad revenue you’ll collect because you successfully trolled me into clicking on a misleading title.

  6. Mrs. Technologie

    May 1, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    Agreed! IT should always be student-centric. We are not paid to push the iPad, we’re paid to teach students!

  7. Audrey

    May 5, 2013 at 5:37 am

    Technology can be very helpful, but they all take time to learn. We are bombarded with technology which many students cannot afford to buy. Education is what teachers are there for. If they have to spend time teaching use of technology; when do they find time to educate students in all the subjects they are expected to learn between 9 to 4. Students are already pushed into completing exams in a short time on topics they really need much longer to absorb; technology is not necessarily helpful when they are trying to get to grips with learning concepts, theories and essay writing.

    Teachers also need to be continually educating themselves on the subjects they teach as our world changes as we make new discoveries. How much can we expect these human beings to take on so much? They are expected to be mothers, fathers, friends, pastors or priest, counsellors, morality trainers, chefs, etc, etc.. When anything goes wrong in society – blame the teachers. And insist that whatever is lacking in society should be taught in school.

    To teach and sell technology: Expand libraries, get hospitals to include learning centres; get the City banks and companies to open learning in finances, insurance, etc. to students; open learning centres using technology in supermarkets, etc, etc……..