dinsdag 29 november 2011

Integrating technology into schools

Along with working with the TPACK model, the topic of integrating technology into schools is interesting to talk about. The topic is off course very broad and much is written about this topic. Many people have tried to describe the topic, find out what the problems with technology integration are, what the possible solutions are, etc. You can write at least a 1000 books about it. Therefore, to keep it a little bit small sized, in this blogpost I will discuss the topic as an elaboration on the design of the teacher training program scientifIK.

In the design of scientifIK, we have tried to encourage technology integration in the following ways:

* Different levels of technology integration in the classroom
* Personal guidance and reflection on experiences
* Trying to include the school management

Based on the literature about technology integration levels of Otero et al. (2005) and Moersch (1995) a framework of levels was developed (see the figure below). In this framework it is apparent that training starts at the level of ´exploration´. The two phases before exploration, ´non-use´ and ´awareness´, are the phases that go before the exploration level. In these levels, the teacher does not use technology yet, and when they follow the course they will do so, and therefore they will automatically enter the exploration phase. After the exploration phase, in which the teacher discovers the wonderful world of using technology in the classroom, he will enter the utilization phase. In this phase the teacher will actually use technology in the classroom. One level higher, or lower according to the picture, is the level were teachers will probably develop TPACK. In the scientifIK program we have organized the program according to these levels. As we thought that it might take some time for the teachers to develop their TPACK, the teachers spend at least six months on one level, and 18 months on the integration level which will take most time. As I have described in my previous blog, in each level also a higher level of TPACK was developed. I think that this disctinction in levels makes the program very clear and doable for the teachers. I also think that when teachers have to integrate technology in their classroom, it should go in steps and that the teachers should have some time to explore and use the technology first before they have to implement it.

I also think that the process of integrating  technology is a personal process for a teacher. Firstly, all teachers have different interests in technology, different competences, motivation and confidence about themselves using technology. When a teacher is trying to integrate technology in his lessons he will have to rethink and reflect on his lessons. This might be difficult or scary for the teacher. Therefore, I think it is also part of the professional development of the teachers. In many organizations employees get training and professional development opportunities and I think this should be also the case for teachers (or even more). Individual guidance can help the teachers to overcome their personal issues and difficulties with technology and might improve integration of technology. 

On the school level, the use of technology should be stimulated and facilitated. This starts with the availability of suitable technologies, assistance and a school policy on the use of technology. Suitable technology is technology that works, that has value for the money, that can be used for several years and that teachers feel comfortable working with. When it comes to implementation and integration, the process should not go too fast. It is of most importance that both teachers and school management are involved in the integration process. Many times, technology is bought by the school and the teachers are expected to use them right away. However, I think that the school management should provide time to the teachers to get acquinted with the material before they have to use it in their classroom. Another important aspect is that using technology into teaching is often voluntary for the teachers. No one will make a fuss about it when they do not use the technology at all. I think that this should be made less voluntarily, I think it will stimulate teachers to think more about integrating technology.

Off course, there are many more aspects of technology integration to discuss about....how about students' technology skills, mobile learning, long term effects of learning with technology, infrastructure and connectivity issues....For now I would like to end the story here, as I think this blog is already quite long.... :) will be continued....


Otero, V., Peressini, D., Meymaris, K. A., Ford, P., Garvin, T., Harlow, D., Reidel, M., Waite, B. & Mears, C. (2005). Integrating technology into teacher education. A critical framework for implementing reform. Journal of Teacher Education, 56(1), 8–23

Moersch, C. (1995). Levels of Technology Integration (LoTi): A Framework for Measuring Classroom Technology Use. Leading and Learning with Technology, pp. 40 - 42.  

maandag 28 november 2011

Using the TPACK model

It was quite an interesting experience to design a course for teachers instead of students. The TPACK model was the main model used as a backbone for the design. One advantage of using the TPACK model was that it gives you opportunities to divide the concept ´teaching science with technology´ into the three parts ´teaching´, ´science´ and ´technology´.

From the context analysis it was found that teachers were mostly not confident about their science knowledge and that they did not use technology for teaching very much. So it was necessary that in the training program we had to start with the development of the basics and that we could not start directly with training on the level of TPACK. The understanding of this idea from the TPACK model was valuable for the design.

Besides that, because the TPACK model seems to be divided into different levels, it makes you consider how you can divide your training program into different levels. The goal of the training program is to learn something, and different levels can give confidence to teachers that they have the time to learn, that they do not have to do everything at the right moment and it is motivating and stimulating that there is more to learn when they have finished one part of the program.

However, we also found out that the TPACK model alone was not enough to design the teacher training program. It takes into account many aspects of ´teaching about science integrating technology´ but for a training program other aspects are important too. Some of these aspects are preferences of adults in learning, motivation of teachers for learning and individual, team and school development. So, we used another model and theories too. This is also something that I will discuss in the next post.

The last thing that I would like to consider in this blog is that we also used an article about a specific TPACK model: the TPASK model (Jimoyiannis, 2010). In the TPASK model the content knowledge is always science knowledge and the pedagogies and technologies used have the focus on science education. We used the article to choose activities which we could use in our training program and this was very helpful. An interesting question is now whether is it necessary and helpful to develop more specific ´TPACK´ models focussing on other subjects, like languages and mathemathics. Or is this needless and can the basic TPACK model be used always? I think that it is certainly helpful to develop the ´new´ models to test and reflect on the TPACK model. Thinking specifically about activities to support TPACK development for different topics and the use of technology in different topics can also stimulate the integration of technology in teaching. And for some situations, it is better to have more specific models than a general one. However, for now, let´s just enjoy the usefulness of the TPACK model itself.


Jimoyiannis, A. (2010). Designing and implementing an integrated technological pedagogical science knowledge framework for science teachers professional development. Computers and Education 55(2010), pp. 1259 – 1269.

zondag 27 november 2011


The last few weeks I have worked on designing a training program for teachers from a primary school,  together with three other students from my master program at the University of Twente. We have called the teacher training program ´scientifIK´ because the underlying goal of the program was to make the teachers more confident about their science teaching (for the non-Dutch readers: IK means ´I´ in Dutch). Moreover, the training was also about integrating technology into science teaching.

The course was mainly developed on the basis of the TPACK model, which was described in my previous blog. The primary school for which it was designed was a fictive school, so unfortunately it will probably not be used. We had made our context analysis on the basis of literature about Dutch primary school teachers. 

Our main starting points were that a) primary school teachers are often not confident about teaching science because they feel that they do not know enough about the topics and b) that technology is not used very often by the teachers and therefore new, especially in the combination with science teaching. We also included some aspects of professional development of teachers, like creating space in the program for individual learning goals, individual coaching, the use of experiental learning and sharing experiences with other teachers. To make the training program more sustainable and integrated in the school, we explicity involved the schoolleader in the program and made sure that the training program would fit well into the school organization.

The training program was divided into three levels. In every level the following sequence of activities was repeated:

  • Pre-test: teachers´ TPACK measurement
  • Kick-Off: planning of the level, discussion about personal and school goals
  • Meetings: teachers develop knowledge and skills together 
  • Posttest:  teachers´ TPACK measurement
In between the meetings, teachers work on their individual learning goals and share these experiences with their colleagues on the ELO forum of their school. The teachers are encouraged to integrate what they have learned during the meetings in their classroom and to reflect both on their own experiences and the experiences of other teachers. This will be guided by the trainer. The trainer will also guide the teachers individually by email in between the meetings. In these emails the teachers can ask questions to the trainer and reflect on their learning experiences. 

In the exploration level, which was the first six months of the program, the teachers will develop their content knowledge by learning more about scientific concepts. In the meetings of the exploration level, different pedagogies and technologies are used to so that the teachers can get an idea about how they work. 

The second level is called the utilization level and consists of the next six months of the training program. Teachers work on integrating their science knowledge with different pedagogies and also try to use technology in their classroom. 

In the last level, which goes on for 18 months, teachers will learn to use the science content, pedagogies for science teaching and technology to support science education. In this phase, there will be less meetings but the teachers will learn more from designing lesson with TPACK themselves and reflecting on their own experiences in the classroom.

It was quite challenging to design for teachers, as I have never done that before and I do not have teaching experiences myself. A group of teachers is often more heterogeneous than a groups of students so for the context analysis you need to find out much more. In the design phase, you have to take into account workload and available time of the teachers for the training. But I think that the scientifIK program is quite interesting and unfortunately we are not going to implement it for real :(

In the next blogs I will go deeper into some other concepts of the design of the teacher program: the use of the TPACK model, the possible strenghts and weaknesses of the design and a general view on technology integration in education. For now, I would like to conclude with a cartoon which will be used in the scientifIK program...it highligths the difficulty of scientific concepts (even a ´simple´ one like why it is warmer in summer) and it shows that it is not that simple at all. We hope that certain fun cartoon will give someone the confidence to learn more about it, and that more people have difficulties with it!

If you are interested in more details of the scientifIK program, feel free to leave a reaction on my blogpost.