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The Difference Between Technology Use And Technology Integration

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The Difference Between Technology Use And Technology Integration

by TeachThought Staff

Using technology for learning makes sense. Technology creates access, transparency, and opportunity. Any smartphone or tablet is media incarnate–video, animation, eBooks, essays, blog posts, messages, music, games. The modalities of light, color, and sound all arranged just so to communicate a message or create an experience.

But there is a difference, claims this graphic from teachbytes, between using technology and integrating it deeply into the learning experiences of students. This is, of course, what models like the SAMR model are based on–that idea of mere use to automate, to redefining what’s possible.

This is not a new idea, but what makes this graphic useful is the indicators offered that clarify Dos and Don’ts–kind of like an educator’s Goofus and Gallant.

Goofus gives iPad to students so that they can Google topics for a “research paper.”

Gallant helps students design their own open-ended and collaborative learning experiences, and uses apps like Behance or Storehouse to share them with the world. 

The chart continues this pattern, but misses the opportunity to make Highlights allusion for nuance:

Technology usage is random, arbitrary, and often an afterthought. 

Technology usage is planned and purposeful.

In all seriousness, it’s easy to say to “be purposeful.” It’s another to know what that looks like–which is where all of the indicators as a whole can be useful to you as an educator.

To the comments with anything you’d add. Or to make Highlights references no one else will notice.

The Difference Between Technology Use And Technology Integration

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Sue Houston

I would suggest that sometimes one must go through a few of the items on the left hand list to get to the right hand list. For example, time spent by a class learning to use the tools is well invested, so that later on the Ipads and so forth are used as fluidly as pencil and paper. It is only when students (and teachers) really master the mechanics that the full possibilities can be realized.

Geoff Siave

I agree in the main, Sue but we (teachers and learners) don’t need mastery before adventuring into authentic learning experiences. Learner level will get us going and the children in particular will usually fly faster than us adults. So be wary of holding them back in the name of “pass marks at “mastery” level.


Tech integration was a goal 15 years ago. IMHO if we’re going to raise the bar and push the discussion forward, the next level is tech fluency: http://mrmck.wordpress.com/2014/09/06/future-fluent/


I always integrate technology into my classroom–I think its a minomer that we need to be experts before we can share things with the kids. I most recently introduced a new educational app- TowerStorm for math and literacy. They’ve taught me how to play! By the way-I HIGHLY recommend this app for you math and English teachers. Saves all their work and gives me a report! Amazing. Its in the app store for iphone and ipad–also they have a web version thats at http://www.dimensionu.com

How do we find out about the authors of these pieces?

Chris Ogilvie-Taylor

The difference that I like and that we promote with our market leading
Interactive Flat Panel Displays (CleverTouch LED) is “Technology is used
to facilitate collaboration in and out of the classroom.” This surely
is one of the three primary purposes of classroom technology as teaching
evolves from the preach and teach model to the new learning and
discovering together paradigm. As teachers themselves evolve from
instructors to learning facilitators using the creative and multi-media
support that edutech so brilliantly and remarkably provides.

Learning Bird

Edtech needs to be implemented in a way that makes it organic inside the school and organic in a student’s education. An added extra is just extra, with little added.

Pete Kramlich

IMHO, technology integration is when the content transcends the technology. It is simply the message. Like when we tech geeks go to a concert and say “that’s cool!” without noticing the projectors, lights or speaker arrays… Rare. On both counts.