...and a little change knowledge
When done appropriately, technology integration with content-area subjects, like English/Language Arts, can motivate students, make learning engaging and support authentic learning. In his book, Stratosphere: Integrating technology, pedagogy, and change knowledge, author Michael Fullan states, “In essence, the solution consists of the integration of advances in pedagogy (especially built on how we learn), in technology (especially around engagement), and in change knowledge (especially around making change easier). If we get the combination right, the floodgates of learning will open and there will be an unstoppable explosion of energy and participation by all that will benefit individuals and the world alike” (15). The key to success is melding the three elements: technology, pedagogy, and change knowledge.
In the past, technology has been used as a driver, which does not optimise learning. So pedagogy, or the method of engaging learners appropriately, needs to be considered before pursuing a technological solution. In the English/Language Arts content area, students need to develop “New literacies [that] require a high level of critical sophistication from our students, and it is only through instruction and experiences with new technologies that they will develop these skill” (Roblyer, 263). Students need to develop the capacity to read a variety of media, whether digital, visual, graphic, or actual written text.
The 21st Century world that students live in today and in the future requires them to communicate and collaborate with those within and outside of school. This worldwide audience is engaging and motivating for students. Roblyer states, “New literacies are much more contingent on social interactions with others than traditional literacies” (266). Students now engage with the world by “publishing...online in blogs, wikis, Web pages, and e-books” which supports enhanced and authentic learning (266). While in school, students “...shar[e] their work [and] are able to comment on or annotate each other’s posted works, thus engaging in a collaboration that make them part of an ever-growing and changing community of learners” (Roblyer, 266). This work prepares them to work in the world after leaving school.
As to whether this can be integrated into a larger system such as a school district, Fullan identifies change knowledge as the way to make the most of the identified technology and pedagogy. While I’m not going to explore the concept of change knowledge in this post (look for a future one), Fullan identifies a key when he states, “technology and pedagogy must be integrated around the roles of both students and teachers” (68). So technology integration requires both to participate fully in it for it to be successful and and open the “floodgates of learning” to which he alludes.
Fullan, M. (2013). Stratosphere: Integrating technology, pedagogy, and change knowledge. Don Mills, Ont.: Pearson.
Roblyer, M. D., & Edwards, J. (2000). Integrating educational technology into teaching. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill.