Seeking opportunities to go One Step Beyond.

What a difference a week makes

red tulips on yellow tulips field
Photo by Eric Prouzet on Unsplash

Technology integration has always been important to me and it is the reason I joined COETAIL. I incorporate a lot of technology into modifications and accommodations for students to find success in the general education setting.  For example, I have some students who are using Dragon dictation software for speech-to-text. I have other students who use Storyline Online and Epic to access books and have texts read aloud to them. I also have some students using Lexia in order to further develop their reading and phonics skills at home.

One of the reasons I feel that technology integration is vital to the classroom is that “research has suggested that technology-enabled project learning has the greatest benefits as these allow students to be intellectually challenged while providing them with a realistic snapshot of what real-world problems look like.” (Brian Host, Education Technology, May 2019).  I want my students to feel empowered to participate and collaborate so I embrace the opportunities that tech integration, through mediums such as video production or Flip Grid, can offer students. This year, however, I have been faced with the challenge of time. I often feel that I do not have enough contact time with students and so I have been limited in how I integrate technology in my own classroom.


TPACK model diagram
Image by

In this video, Jen Lehotsky mentions that the three circles in the Venn diagram will not be of equal size as those pertaining to pedagogical and content knowledge will be larger than technological knowledge. If you were to visit my classroom a week ago, however, you would have seen that all tech integration that was happening was set firmly in the substitution or augmentation brackets of SAMR.

Image from Transformation, Technology, and Education (Ruben R. Puentedura)

I found learning about both the SAMR and TPACK framework really interesting. I knew that there was an element missing from how I was integrating technology into my classes but I couldn’t label it, now I can. Moving students’ work into Modification and Redefinition has been the biggest hurdle for me this year. I feel pressured by a lack of contact time with students and using a dedicated reading program that they are comfortable with. As a homeroom teacher, I had more opportunities for authentic and creative tech integration which has been lacking this year.

Something Changed

This week, however, I had the opportunity to include some video production in one of my classes. I have a student who is struggling to make progress in maths. She is able to solve grade-level maths problems, however, when she is working at home she has a lot of anxiety and doubts herself. In order to help her, I worked with her to create a video detailing the process for a 2-digit division. She talked herself through each step of the process and then edited the video using iMovie. I am excited to hear how this process helped her on Monday and, if it was useful, I will continue to help support her in creating tutorial videos.

I feel as though I am starting to see more opportunities for going (at least) one step beyond substitution with tech integration that will support my students’ progress towards ILP (Individualized learning Plan) goals. Time will always be a challenge, however, I am now feeling more confident in finding times when I can use technology to further support students. I am looking forward to hearing my students’ reflection and now thinking about ways that, if she feels confident, she could share her video tutorials with others.









2 Replies to “Seeking opportunities to go One Step Beyond.”

  1. Hello Simon,
    I really enjoyed reading your post and one-sentence specifically caught my attention, where you said “As a homeroom teacher, I had more opportunities for authentic and creative tech integration which has been lacking this year.” How do you do tech integration now during distance learning? What would be your solution, your advice for tech integration during these times?

    1. Hi Irena,

      One of the best tools I found during distance learning was FlipGrid. It allowed me to connect students from across the grade level with other students and provide opportunities for authentic collaboration and reflection. For one activity I had students post book recommendations that they had found on in order to try and promote wider reading. I currently live and work in China so it can be difficult for students to access quality English texts outside of our library.

      My grade-level team worked together to put together a provocation for our How We Express Ourselves UOI using Padlet. We found works from different artists and posted videos/ examples of artworks and had the students respond by sharing their reactions.

      For me, I try to ensure that the way I am integrating technology feels as authentic as possible. Additionally, I was lucky as the students were already familiar with the resources I mentioned so I wasn’t trying to teach them how to use the programs while simultaneously asking them to complete a task. I think it is important to provide the students with ample opportunity to mess around and become comfortable with the tools you are asking them to use before having them complete any work.

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