I. Definition of Training Piece
A. Purpose for Instructor
does that mean? After all, technology is a tool--a means, not an end.
Isn't talking about "integrating technology" in one's
instructional process therefore, like having a discussion about integrating
the use of pens and pencils in the classroom? Or integrating the use of
telephones into one's daily life? Ideally, integrating computer-based
resources into the teaching and learning process would be as natural and
veritably intuitive as picking up a phone to call your best friend. But
computer-based technology resources are still fairly new to many. In their
youth, other technologies that we now take for granted--electricity
and telephones for instance--went through this same explicitly focused
For faculty, the downside of this process is both the time commitment it
often requires, and knowing where and how even to begin. Identifying, locating,
evaluating, determining ways to use these resources, and then actually creating
the lesson plans that integrate them, can consume dozens of hours. The focus
of this module, therefore, is to identify techniques and resources to assist
faculty in reducing the time commitment it takes to begin to effectively
integrate computer-based resources.
B. Material Covered
In a previous module
we identified a number of new technologies. These included asynchronous
tools such as email, listservs
and newsgroups; web pages for delivery of content, lessons, exercises
and tests; and synchronous communication tools such as MOOs
(virtual environments/chat rooms), ICQ,
and Instant Messenger.
here, then, is not necessarily on materials or tools per se, but rather
on how to effectively go about integrating these tools--what are the
steps, and how can one reduce the time and effort entailed in utilizing
A. Definition of Concept & Theory
Before moving on, however, there is an assumption regarding
the role of computer and web based resources for teaching and learning purposes
that we need to make explicit. In a scale of technology integration (see
below), we may see on one extreme end the "Anytime/Anywhere" model. Such
a model typically excludes synchronous activities as antithetical to the
anytime/anywhere concept. At the other extreme (but not terminating because
we can go back centuries to include the use of earlier technologies) is
the traditional classroom instructional model which limits the teaching
and learning process to the confines of both time and place.
In between these extremes we have the model that this module works under--
that of technology in the service of a somewhat traditional teaching and
learning process. This may practically look like anything from a traditional
learning environment that happens to utilize some of these technology tools
for amplification, dissemination and/or communication. Or it may be a fully
on-line course with no face-to-face time, which retains the feel of some
of the social aspects of the traditional classroom through the use of a
variety of communication tools. This middle ground is where the bulk of
technology integration takes place and thus where our focus will lie.
One question we may ask is why bother using these tools in the first place?
The simple answer would be to say that the more tools instructors have in
their toolboxes, the greater the range of expression options, and techniques
they have to do their jobs. But in the case of technology tools, the answer
extends beyond this simple face-value response.
These technology tools serve to expand the teaching and learning process
in ways that traditional tools were never able to, for example, in bringing
current events from the perspective of other countries and cultures directly
to the students' screen. Social, political and historical discussions (not
to mention the students' own perceptions) are significantly altered through
such immediate contact with the opinions and experiences of others. Additionally,
communication among students, and between students and teachers is significantly
expanded through some of these tools. Furthermore, the learning experience
can extend well beyond the walls of the classroom and into both other learning
spaces, as well as into real-world interactions.
B. Summary of Relevant Research
Very little research on effective integration relates to post-secondary
education, but rather focuses on the K-12 environment. The little that does
relate to higher education typically revolves around the institution's responsibilities
and needs relative to supporting faculty integration of technology. That
is, research by instructional development and media specialists looking
at what infrastructures--in terms of hardware and software as well
as training support--are needed to effect a transition among faculty
to the use of computer technologies. This is useful to us here in that the
outcomes of these concerns--the campus support networks--will
be one of the resources we point you towards as you progress in your own
attempts at integrating these technologies. Furthermore, K-12 research is
not completely irrelevant to higher education; there are many strategies
and much information that can cross over to post-secondary applications.
report on a FIPSE project on integrating technology in the undergraduate
curriculum concluded that teaching with new technologies both stimulates
an increased and more effective use of more traditional technologies and
tends to make instructors better at and more interested in addressing student
needs in general. Furthermore, it can also generate more concrete curricular
innovation. It certainly makes sense that faculty who are willing to take
the plunge into new teaching techniques using computing resources would
also be generally more open to a employing a variety of new techniques and
As teachers, we tend to teach the way we like to learn. A study by Kolb
found significant discrepancies between students' preferred learning styles
and the expectations within their disciplines. The chart below highlights
some of these differences in style.
Preferences Patterns of Faculty and Students
By providing multiple sensorial and experiential opportunities (audio,
visual, manipulation of and interaction with materials), technology resources
provide tools for addressing differences among students' learning styles,
as well as between teachers' and students' learning preferences.
Integrating technology resources provides teachers with a variety of benefits.
Among these are included:
- Enhancing learning resources--This happens when instructors specify
sites for students for students to review as well as when students encounter
and research sites themselves. Because web pages can be more current than
published texts, web updates to and expansions on to published information
can augment course content.
- Expanding modes of communication--Technology provides a means for students
to interact with one another more readily outside the classroom through email,
listservs and ICQ. These expanded modes of communication are a two-edged sword
for instructors, often requiring more instructor time for the expanded possibilities
for student-teacher communications.
- Amplifying discussion opportunities--the limited meeting times of the
traditional class impact the amount of time students have to reflect, discuss,
and augment course content. Listservs and newsgroups provide an opportunity
to extend class discussion time and make it available to students and instructors
on an "anytime/anywhere" basis. Deeper understanding of course content can
be developed through such discussions.
- Insuring student access to course information--lost syllabi, homework
instructions, etc. are eliminated as excuses when these materials are readily
- Capturing student participation and production--a logistical benefit
to instructors is the ability to capture student participation and production
through their postings to newsgroups, listservs, and in their synchronous
online discussions. Students or instructors can compile course portfolios
to illustrate student progress and participation.
Benefits to the student include addressing learning styles differences,
disabilities, time and space constraints and the ability to review further,
to provide for self-directed study and real-world applicability of course
"Blending appropriate technology tools into the curriculum supports many
of the dimensions of learning described by Marzano (1992) in his book, Dimensions
in Learning. His model establishes a learning environment in which students
develop positive attitudes and perceptions about learning, in which they
have experiences where they can acquire and integrate knowledge, where they
have opportunities for extending and refining knowledge, [and] where they
can use knowledge in a meaningful way." (from: Handler, M., Integrating
Technology into the Instructional Process)
A. Exploration Exercises for Instructor
Task 1: Start with the "New Technologies" module if you are
not already familiar with a variety of technology tools (many mentioned here).
The exercises in that module also provide some orientation to approaching
the integration of tech resources.
Task 2: Go to UCLA's Faculty
New Media Center site. This is the most focused resource I know of on
integrating technology for higher education. Keeping in mind the tools you
found interesting and possibly useful in the New Technologies exploration,
browse this site. With the suggestions provided, how can you apply some of
these technologies to your current instructional environments?
Task 3: Check out Ten
Principles of Wise Media Use (also from UCLA's FNMC).
Look at principals 3, 4 and 5 in particular. Efficient integration of technology
almost always includes these points. For example, rather than thinking about
what you can make the technology do, consider what the students can do with
that technology. The questions under Principal 3 are very useful ones to
ask yourself as you consider a technology resource. "Making the medium fit
the content" (Principal 4) has a correlate of "pulling from your curriculum."
That is, using a technology resource should not necessarily be an additive
function but rather a means by which you can do what you're currently
doing but in a better way. Sometimes this means more work, but always it
should mean a more meaningful and/or effective learning experience for the
B. As you integrate technology into your curriculum, keep in mind the following
- Start small so you can build with confidence
- Beg and borrow (but don't steal) wherever you can. There are many
teacher-developed resources that are explicitly available for sharing, editing
and amending (Track Star, for example, is one that comes to mind). One of
the great advantages of the Internet is the opportunity it provides for
us to build upon one another's efforts rather than individually co- and
re-inventing the same materials.
- Harvest from your students. You might be pleasantly surprised at the resources
they can bring to your attention.
- Get to know your campus faculty computing support folks. They are often
quite pleased to find faculty who come to them interested in integrating
tech resources, and supportive of those faculty's efforts and interests.
- Network with computing-using colleagues. This is one of the most direct
ways to find useful materials and approaches for their integration. Again,
it's the concept of building upon one another's efforts.
- Get to know the tech publications and organizations within your discipline.
This is another invaluable source for new ideas to apply to your instructional
C. Student Exercises
This is an exercise for student and teacher alike. Do you know your own
style? How does it correspond to those of your students? You can find out
by taking an online survey at the DVC
Learning Style Survey for College site. Complete the survey and compare
your results. Are there any surprises? What technology tools might you use
to fill in the gaps between your approaches and your students' needs?
D. Skill Connection
1. Online Activities & Communities: As mentioned in this
module, one of the greatest benefits of technology is the ability for instructors
and student to continue to build the classroom community outside of the
classroom. For information of developing on-line communities, visit the
Online Activities & Communities module.
V. Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I want to create a course web page. What's the best way to get this
A: See Tip #4 above. I always recommend that faculty find out what--
if any--web development software is recommended and/or supported by your
campus computing or faculty development services. By starting there, you insure
that you won't be learning this all on your own. Furthermore, it may be that
your campus has adopted a course delivery system like Zebu, WebCT, Blackboard,
etc. If so, you may have ready-made templates for creating your web page.
Q: What tool is the best to start with?
A: Answering this by naming a tool would be like telling the soon-to-be
building owner which tool is best to use in constructing her edifice. In both
cases, the tool needs to fit the task (see Principal #4 in Ten Principals
of Wise Media Use above). Know your goals and review the technology options
with those goals in mind. You will find no single tool that is suited for
all your instructional and learning needs.
Q: Are there workshops or other opportunities to further expand my ability
to integrate tech resources?
A: There may be several depending upon your discipline. The computing-using
special interest group of your favorite professional organization may provide
sessions and workshops at its annual conference. Campuses often host faculty
development workshops and/or are willing to host them upon faculty request.
Houghton Mifflin and other corporate organizations may have workshops on this
topic for your discipline. Finally, there are numerous free, online development
programs available on periodic bases (check out Virtual
University for example).
VI. Helpful Resources
Helping teachers integrate technology into their curriculum and class environment
is one of the main goals of this site. Here you'll find stories about that process,
and numerous examples of how technology integration can be accomplished.
This website is designed to assist faculty of post-secondary institutions in
becoming familiar with issues, examples and discussion topics associated with
using emerging technologies in teaching and learning. Using this educational
resource, faculty are encouraged to travel the web at a comfortable pace to
identify where courses are offered over the Internet, how technology can be
used in the classroom, and to discuss issues that will affect them in the future.
The EDTECH listserv is the discussion list for teachers from novice to expert
on everyday use of educational technology in the classroom. The quality and
quantity of messages is exceptional ranging from the highly specific to the
big picture issues.
Management: Integrating Technology Centers Into The Classroom
K-12 classroom ideas, many of which are adaptable to the post secondary environment
TappedIn is a education-oriented MOO which offers services to multiple educational
organizations including MathStar, the National Institute for Science Education,
ED's Oasis and Blazing Learning Trails.
Kolb, D.A. (1981). Learning styles and disciplinary differences. In Arthur
Chickering and Associates (ed.), The Modern American College (pp. 232-255).
San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
To attend a workshop on this topic or bring one to your campus, visit this site
or call Faculty Training at (800) 856-5727.