on education

thoughts from a graduate student at the university of mary washington

the technology integration matrix. week one.


Here we are, starting a brand new semester with a brand new class. This time, I’m enrolled in an Instructional Technologies course. I’ll be blogging mostly about things that fall under this realm. Happy to have you along for the ride. Without further ado, here we go:

This week, we’ve been asked to look at the Technology Integration Matrix, which is a matrix invented by some folks at the University of South Florida. It was originally designed in 2005, and has been updated since. It’s goal is to “illustrate how teachers can use technology to enhance learning for K-12 students” (Florida Center for Instructional Technology). You can view the matrix here. I strongly suggest that you go ahead and take a look at it if you aren’t familiar with it, or the rest of this blog won’t make a lick of sense to you. The goal for this week’s blog is to find an example on the matrix that I think works very well, as well as one that seems sketchy. (For the record, my endorsement area is PreK – 6, so these are the grade levels that I’m going to be concerned with.) In addition, I will supply my own example of technology use the classroom and try to fit it into one of the matrix’s 25 cells.

compelling example: 

I chose a 5th grade science example off of the matrix. Its classifiers are Collaborative Learning, Adoption Level. In the example, the students are using a white board to learn the states of matter (you know, solid, liquid, and gas?). In addition to the super-cool white board, they all have interactive clickers that they can use to answer yes/no, true/false questions. They get immediate feedback! The teacher can immediately tell if her students are having a problem with a concept, and the entire class can participate in getting to the right place.

I really love this for a lot of reasons. First, you can tell that the students are really familiar with the technology and that they love using it. In the student interviews, they all seem really excited about it and they specifically address how cool it is that they can figure out if they’re wrong right then and there instead of waiting for the teacher to grade a paper or come around to their desks. This seems like a wonderful way to put technology into the classroom that allows students to interact and engage with each other and the teacher in a non-threatening way that really gets them thinking.

sketchy example:

I had to click around for a while before I found an example that seemed like a waste to me, but it was there! I chose a 3rd-5th grade level keyboarding assignment. Its classifiers are Active, Entry. In this example, a teacher has her students do keyboarding work every single morning in hopes that when they do actual assignments using the computer, they won’t take as long typing because they’ll be all speedy-gonzales about it thanks to the daily keyboarding tasks.

First of all, 3rd through 5th grade?! I can think of so many other things to have them do for daily morning work. Typing words that pop up on a 2D shark doesn’t really make it that high on my priority list. In my opinion, the students will get the practice they  need with on the job training, so to speak. Sure, they might start out a little slowly, but they’ll get the hang of it without wasting that precious morning time on something like beefing up their words per minute. I can’t imagine that typing quickly is a part of the curriculum, anyway. According to the Florida Center for Instructional Technology, the “active” level has students discovering, processing, and applying their learning; engagement is also a key part of this level. “Entry” has teachers delivering curriculum content to students, and this level typically is designed to build fluency with drill and practice routines (n.d.). I’d give it the second half of that, but again, the teacher’s stated goal of just wanting her students to be faster typists doesn’t really match up to delivering curriculum content to me.

my own example, defined:

I’ll use a lesson that I actually did while I was student teaching in college several years ago. I was in an 11th grade history class in a suburb of Austin, Texas. I was actually specifically supposed to do a technology lesson, and my mentor teacher told me that they had a smart board in the library I could use. She hadn’t had much training on it, and I had never heard of a smart board before. But, I gave it a try. I took the class to the library and we set up in the computer lab, which is where the smart board was located. The goal of my lesson was multi-faceted: I wanted to teach them about immigration, and also about primary sources. Oh, and also about using technology. I used the smart board to introduce them to Ellis Island (yay, virtual tours!) and we listened to some stories from immigrants read by actors. I also used the board to navigate to the Library of Congress website, where I showed them how to look for primary sources. Once I gave them a run down, I turned them loose in groups on their computers and their assignment was to go on an online scavenger hunt for information on a specific immigrant I’d picked out and assigned to their groups at random (I made sure that there were primary sources to be found beforehand). They got to come up to the smart board in their groups to show us the things they found on their computers relating to their assignment.

This was a little tricky for me to figure out, but I’m pretty sure that this fits into collaborative learning since we all worked together and then they worked in groups, but then I also feel like it might fit into the authentic learning environment because they were learning about the real world and real people in it instead of abstract dates and facts about immigrants. I think that my lesson’s second classifier would be adaptation because the students explored and worked independently using the computers/internet and smart board.  


Here’s a photo I found online — to me, it illustrates a use of technology that’s super cool and super pointless all at one time:

(image source: http://www.journal-news.com/news/news/technology-turns-the-classroom-upside-down/nR995/)

Learning to write on a tablet? Cool! Learning to write on a tablet with your pointer finger instead of a stylus to mimic pencil-holding? Pointless. This seems to me like it should fit in the active, entry cell of the matrix.




Florida Center for Instructional Technology. (n.d.). The technology integration matrix. Retrieved from http://fcit.usf.edu/matrix/index.php


posted under INDT 501
2 Comments to

“the technology integration matrix. week one.”

  1. Avatar January 17th, 2013 at 1:24 pm Kayla Patterson Says:

    You’re good at this blogging thing. I have NEVER EVER in my life blogged. So using links etc. is not going to be easy for me. I might ask you to teach me!
    I really respected your opinion concerning the “sketchy” example. I have to totally agree with you that typing seems to not match with curriculum goals. I remember typing being a class in elementary school. It was on the same lines as library time or Physical Education. For a nine week period we attended typing class as a “special”. It was helpful I must confess but appropriate when not cutting into curriculum learning. Taking morning class time to train students to type faster to cut down on later computer use just seems like waste of very valuable educational time.

    I LOVE CLICKERS. I got use them in a college course my junior year and boy were they exciting! I can only imagine that elementary students LOVE them!!!

  2. Avatar January 20th, 2013 at 10:02 pm nkelley88 Says:


    I agree with you, the interactive white board is super cool! I think it’s a fantastic idea so that the students can get feedback right away which I think is a major plus.

    I was glad to see I wasn’t the only one who had a hard time trying to figure out which categories my personal example would fall under!

    Great post! I always enjoy reading yours 🙂

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