Search form

Effective Technology Integration: Three Models

EducationWorld is pleased to present this article by Monica Martinez, Director of Professional Development at the Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA). She is a Twitter fan for growing her own PLN and sharing resources with others. This article originally appeared in TechEdge, a quarterly magazine for TCEA members. To join or for more information, visit

Due to the rapid rate of evolving technologies and theories around learning practices, a need for continuous professional growth has reinvented how and what we should and need to learn. Keeping up the pace can seem overwhelming, and knowing who and where to go to for the latest research-driven strategies can be a challenge.

Models for Effective Technology Integration

phases of tech integrationAny professional development program involving technology in education should include addressing the phases of technology integration. Identifying these phases will help teachers and administrators assess their utilization of technology. Below are three models for helping you deliver effective professional development for integrating technology into the classroom.

Three Tiers of Technology Integration

The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction for the state of Washington developed the “Tiers of Technology Integration into the Classroom Indicators.” These three phases outline the use of technology as follows: teacher productivity, student productivity, and powerful, student-centered, 21st-century learning environments. The first two tiers highlight the use of technology for the purpose of the user being more efficient (like sending an email with attachments instead of having to walk to the office to give someone a message and the files), while tier three focuses on the students being actively engaged in using technology for building 21st-century skills (like reflecting and troubleshooting on a self-produced video to identify areas for improvement).

Resources to Support PD Initiatives


Google in Education

Online Courses

Teach Parent Technology

By clearly identifying how the technology is being used, teachers, students and administrators can determine which phases they use to more accurately assess their level of technology integration. While all three tiers are critical to creating true technology integration, it is important to recognize that simply using technology for productivity purposes means that we fall short of using technology to its full potential as a learning tool.

SAMR - Guiding Development

SAMR was developed by Dr. Ruben P. Puentedura as a model for thinking about technology in education. After assessing how companies were using technology and closely looking at other theories of technology implementation, Puentedura developed the SAMR model.

The phases within the model move from substitution of technologies, where the learning task remains the same despite the introduction of a newer technology, to the task being redefined as a result of the new technology. All together, there are four phases in the SAMR model (substitution, augmentation, modification and redefinition), where each phase identifies how the new technology is being used in comparison to older technologies. Identifying instructional practices between older and newer technologies will help show any modifications in an instructor’s teaching to match the potential of the tool. More information about the SAMR model can be found at:

Simon Sinek’s How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Simon Sinek presents a simple model for how leaders inspire action, starting with the question “Why?” Sinek explains this through the Golden Circle: why (you do it), how (you do it) and what (you do). He contends that this is the reason that some organizations and some leaders are able to inspire where others are not. Sinek makes the point that all inspired and successful organizations think, act and communicate from the inside out, starting with the “why.”

So how does the theory of the Golden Circle relate to how we use technology in education? When implementing new technology, far too often educators start with the “what” instead of the “why.” We first think of what tools we know, have access to, or are being mandated to use. And sometimes, the overwhelming number of choices leads us to enlist whatever is easiest. If we start with the “what,” the focus is on the tool, rather than the objectives or standards. Further, the skills learned are driven by the capability of the tool employed, and standards are only briefly highlighted or not at all.

When it comes to technology and learning, we should be asking: Why do we want to do this, how will I accomplish this, and what tool will I use to help me accomplish this? Sinek identifies these three questions as critical components of defining your success to inspire others. In education, inspired learners are life-long learners.


Education World®    
Copyright © 2013 Education World