One Roll at a Time: Teacher Technology Integration Reflection

I am a proud aunt to two nephews who live in the U.S. My friends, students and colleagues bear with me as I share videos of their latest and greatest adventures and learning. Today you’re being invited to join this group as well. When I reread my previous post about technology integration models, I realized I’m not so different than my nephew, Oliver, who’s 4.5 months old and also learning a new skill.

He’s learning to roll over.

Previously I wrote about using the SAMR model as a way to describe the technology integration in my classroom. Sylvia Duckworth’s pictoral representation of the SAMR model works so well for me when I plan to use technology with my students. It’s visual metaphor provides strength in knowing how I can move from enhancing learning to truly transforming learning for my students.

I also think the SAMR model can apply to Oliver and his learning to roll over. He is trying to move from the substitution of turning his head to modifying his view by rolling over. This small move but yet major milestone in a baby’s first year of life transforms their world.

Rather than reconsidering my classroom instruction, I decided to review the Technology Integration Matrix as a way to extend and build upon my prior understanding of different technology integration models.  During this reflection, I used the Table of Teacher Descriptors to review my own progress as a technology teacher. I, like Oliver, am learning new skills and thought a review of my skills, strategies and techniques could help to make me a better teacher and technology facilitator.

My reflection will be upon my recent enhancement of our current unit of inquiry about protecting the earth’s natural resources. For their summative assessment, students independently chose one of the natural resources they wanted to protect using one of the five different forms of taking action that are below.

They planned their work using an action plan template in Google Docs. A examples of my students’  action plans are:

  • speaking to other classes to encourage students to use fewer paper towels by speaking with them using persuasive language, creating a poster reminder in PicCollage to leave with the class and then tracking their impact by surveying students and creating a graph in Google Sheets,
  • creating an iMovie asking for less litter to go onto the ground and ensure the rubbish goes into the correct bins during snack times,
  • creating green screen movies to encourage others to use public transportation.

These are just a few of the action projects in process at the moment.

The TIMS Matrix is based on five levels of technology integration in which over time hopes to shift from teacher ownership to student ownership of their learning through five different attributes of learning environments. You can learn more about it here in the introductory video here.


The first area of the Technology Integration Matrix is focused on active engagement.

During this current portion of our unit of inquiry, I feel that I am at an infusion level. Students have chosen the iPad apps they want to help move their action plan forward with some guidance from me as needed. I provide tutorials through videos and also small group lessons to help support students with both the content and technology skills they need to be successful. I am not yet at the transformation stage as I think the lessons do not require technology as much of the products and work do not involve electronic collaboration.

In terms of being collaborative I’d score myself at a lower level, perhaps entry. 

There was not a requirement for collaboration for students at all in this process. As this action plan evolves in future years, I can see how students could choose the same action and then create a final piece to share collaboratively. They could co-create their plan and then implement it. I think overall, even outside of this current unit, this is an area that I score lower in at this time.

For being constructive in this current unit of inquiry, I would say I’m in between adoption and adaptation.

As I previously mentioned, Google Docs has been a required element for all students. Also, I found some electronic resources which I shared with students using Blendspace which I think provides them greater access at an adaption level and guides them to appropriate resources but I could provide greater choice and pre-teach more internet search skills which would help us to move to a more solid level of adaptation.

The attribute of being authentic, I think I’m at an adaptation level.

Students had voice and choice throughout this unit of inquiry. They chose which natural resource they wanted to protect, how they wanted to protect it by selecting a method of taking action and finally how they will share their learning. Even there I originally only provided 3 options to students: iMovie, Book Creator (digital book) and paper scrapbook. Since then some students have wanted to create a green screen and I’ve listened to their rationale and facilitated their work with it.

I do wonder if I may be at a higher level due to some student action taking place outside of the classroom but the technology tools being used aren’t transformational in nature. Since we began this unit, students have traveled over weekends and taken photos of trash and how their family picked it up and threw it away. This has inspired more students to take photos and even send it using their parents’ messaging apps to family members encouraging them to take action in their own communities.

In terms of being goal-directed, I think I am at the level of infusion.

Using Google Docs to create their plan, support their plan using technology to document their work (camera apps, Pic Collage, iMovie, Green Screen and more), as well as the template I created for students to use helps them to do this throughout. With them being third graders, I’m unsure how they could take a greater role in the goal-direction as they are still trying to develop their organizational and self-management skills.

It’s funny, I feel a bit like Oliver after completing this review, I thought I was successfully moving students toward transformational learning. I realize now that I was comfortable, rolling back to the side where I’m at ease. I may not realize all I’m missing. After reviewing my work in this unit, I’ve realized it’s time for me to roll over my arm. I’m ready to push myself up, roll over and smile at finding new ways to look at technology teaching in this unit next year.

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1 Response

  1. Dear Megan,
    What an insightful post; It was a joy and informative to read.
    Oliver is definitely the cutest baby, and it was so clever to compare his newly acquired skill of rolling over with using the Technology Integration Matrix (TIM) to analyze your inquiry unit about protecting natural resources. The same as you, I used the SAMR model as my first, and most familiar framework; however, it has been so helpful to see the video and the resources in your post that I feel the TIM framework is more comprehensive than SAMR. Especially, if you add the attributes which help teachers place themselves on the continuum within the matrix as you have done with your unit. In addition, It is inspiring to read how third graders are making choices and able to express their learning in varied forms. (I loved the graph for different ways to take action.) You have scaffolded the unit so your students become more independent. The Google template you shared really helped me envision the learning the journey that your students are experiencing. I agreed with you when you say that it could be a more collaborative unit –pairs or trios could work, and G Suite could definitely support that.

    In addition, I am also interested in looking into the TIM tools for teacher observation; however, I found out that they are only available with a paid subscription. The videos they provide are an incredible resource. In the school where I worked, we used ELEOT, but it wasn’t as descriptive as TIM when evaluating technology integration.

    Thank you once again for your post. I would love to see the final projects; they may inspire students in other places in the world. You never know!

    Carolin E.

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