Having had to stand in front of thousands of educators and educational leaders over the last year, I’ve endured my share of skepticism and criticism about true integration of technology in the classroom. I use ‘true‘ as it relates particularly to Dr. Ruben Puentedura’s model for Technology Integration – SAMR. Too often, colleagues in the profession have satisfied themselves with a very basic use of technology – that of a mere SUBSTITUTION. Digitizing a text book or putting a test online is not really what we’re talking about here.
With my arsenal of rebuttals depleted, I finally came to the conclusion that many of my adversaries had utterly dismissed the notion of creating a plan for true integration. I realized quickly that I had to shift my focus from actual use to planning for use!
Teachers, Principals, Vice-Principals and Superintendents – here is why you are doomed to fail if you have no plan.
1. A Contract Between You and Thyself – A Vision
Let’s face the well known fact that if it’s not in writing we hold an idea or promise to no account. The first step to any successful change begins with a visualization of what the learning activity will look like. This visualization can only be achieved when it has been articulated, in word or picture or recording. The plan is the first step towards visualizing what a successful lesson will look like from beginning to end. Without this contract – we let ourselves off the hook if we don’t get around to the lesson because it becomes too intimidating. Visualization is the true means to success.
2. Guaranteeing More Than Substitution:
If your plans are older than 3 years then they are already outdated. The plain fact is that most tenured educators and educational leaders are doing what they’ve always been doing. Unless you examine your plans, you will never really find opportunities to move them along a spectrum of evolution. A lesson from 1990 that sits on Power Point instead of an overhead is really a poor excuse for a 21st Century Lesson. The existence of a plan ensures a deeper examination of engagement and results attained by true integration – and a move towards evolution.
3. An Opportunity to Improve
Even if the plan disintegrates into a furious ball of chaos (which it may…) it still provides a backbone from which to add new approaches and new ideas. No plan – no real new opportunities.
I know it’s not revolutionary, but like I used to say to the kids in my swim classes about practice – it’s not flashy – but it works.