Technology has become a significant and insidious part of the contemporary life. In fact, technology has come to be associated with efficiency in modern society’s operations as well as economic well-being. The invention of the computer has only been comparable to the advent of the printing press. The advent of computers has come along with various other innovations, including information communications technologies which have brought up even greater possibilities in various spheres of life. The concept of “globalization” is ubiquitous all made possible by technology. While this is the case in various other areas, including business, the same case is not synonymous when it comes to technology in education, especially in the context of pedagogical skills and approaches (Attwell & Hughes, 2010). The role of IT in education is an area that is yet to achieve pervasiveness, at least, not at the same rate as in other areas like business. However, it cannot be said that the education sector has completely ignored technology, as there is policy and rhetoric of technology as a critical factor in modern education settings. While this is the case, there is need to establish why implementation of technology in education remains a problematic area.
Implementation of technology in education suggests a major change in the way teaching and learning process takes place. The change is complex in educational settings as they are characterized by schedules that are busy, conventional pedagogies and many methodologies, approaches and technologies all of which are competing for the attention of the educator (Thomas & DeRuy, 2017). The mindset that allows for the comfort zone regarding teaching approaches has a major impact on the learning process supported by IT. Management of this kind of change in education is not easy. Therefore, the teachers are caught up in the mindset of continuing to do things the way they have always done. Management of change to IT, whether within the classroom, touching on the school or the entire system, has proven challenging because of the nature of the classroom, school, and the whole system. However, the challenge does not mean that IT cannot be effectively implemented in education. Success has already been achieved in some classrooms, schools, and education systems in different parts of the country and different nations worldwide.
Information technology has been proven as a change catalyst in the instructional approach, learning styles, and information access in the teaching and learning process. Technology is being implemented at different levels of education with varying success. For example, it has been proven effective that the use of technology to personalize learning can be effective in helping children with differing learning capabilities to learn at the same level (Dobo, 2017). The development in IT has supported personalized learning. Various IT companies are part of the change involving development of IT tools that support personalized learning. The tools are all aimed at finding the platform at which they will tailor skills and content to the student’s weakness. However, the challenge in implementing personalized learning is in the diversity in learning approaches assumed by teachers in different school. Research has revealed that personalized learning is usually diverse in different schools.
Research in the implementation of technology in education suggests a limitation on the part of the teachers, hindering the successful adoption and use of technology in education (Ferriter, 2013). There is evidence pointing to the possibility of the teachers being threatened by such changes and hence, faltering in supporting it. The nature of change has implication towards the resistance as the teachers indicate the issue with the focus on what technology can achieve instead of focusing on learning. Educational technology has not yet found a voice like the case in business. Although IT is posited to have the potential to transform knowledge and its access, it is yet to be agreed on how exactly this can happen (Wargo & De Costa, 2017). The kind of knowledge necessary in the 21st century is another area that is yet to be generally agreed even as scholars and experts approve that technology has the potential to change knowledge and its access. Evidently, the problem is not in technology, but in disconnects between it and the nature of education.
Research has provided evidence of major improvement in the use of IT in education over the last decade. However, there is still limited attention afforded to the pedagogies suited to supporting the use IT in education (Leijen et al., 2008). The focus on the use of educational technology has concentrated on the impact it has on educational outcomes or the skills critical for its implementation and use. The focus has been on putting the students first, investing in the process of learning, increasing engagement, development of skills, setting targets, allowing open access, developing frameworks, and raising standards, but there is still a limitation in terms of learning theoretical framework to facilitate the change (Attwell & Hughes, 2010). It appears as if there has been overarching understanding in Australia of the teaching and learning process that would support the technology, although that might not necessarily be the case. Research indicates that the kind of framework in teaching and learning that has the potential for supporting educational technology is still missing.
Among the factors that drive the development and exploration of new pedagogical approaches include the implementation of IT in education. The need for the change in the pedagogy to support IT is revealed based on the fact that the two appear to be out of step. The idea of the use of IT in the modern world might not necessarily be in support of education because of the social nature of IT (Wargo & De Costa, 2017). Hence, if implemented in the same form and the same environment, application of IT to teaching and learning can be counterproductive. Additionally, there is a possibility that the educational settings might fail to meet the expectations of the students. In fact, the accessibility, ubiquity, speedy feedback, and user-friendliness are critical factors in the everyday experiences of the learners in relation to IT that are transforming educational expectations. Such understanding is critical for success in implementing IT in education setup (Beetham & Sharpe, 2013). Evidently, technology is being used to support education, but the factors relating to the limitation in success are yet to be investigated, especially those relating to the nature of education.
Research indicates that the issue affecting educational technology is the inadequacy of pedagogical underpinning. The most important factor behind the change in pedagogies is the need to develop an understanding of the necessary knowledge and skills necessary to use technology in support of education. The skills and knowledge for effective use of technology in learning and education should be grounded on a proper agreement between pedagogy and technology; otherwise, the implementation will be counterproductive. The idea of digital literacies has been advanced in previous research as it forms the basis for effective implementation and use of educational technologies (Beetham & Sharpe, 2013). There is no doubt that the digital technologies have developed, matured, and spread, allowing for more people to take part in the creation and use of technological applications. However, their application to education is an area that is still in need for deeper exploration.
Although the holistic study is yet to get grounded in practice adequately, research is currently focusing on the processes and theories relating to the application of technology in teaching and learning. The improved interest might be partly as a response to the idea that regardless of the increase in the schools and countries that are investing in technology for education, the outcome is not as expected. There is evidence of an increase in the use of technology in teaching and learning, but technology enhanced learning is yet to achieve the desired effect on education. On the other hand, the interest might be motivated by a response to the expectations and demands of the students as well as a reaction to the transforming demands in learners’ competencies (Beetham & Sharpe, 2013). However, regardless of the increasing research interest, technology is still inadequate, especially in the concepts that matches the pedagogical underpinnings or there is still a lack of pedagogical underpinnings to match technological implementation in education.
The recent years have seen an increase in technological tools, finding their way to classrooms. Technology has been integrated into education at a very growing rate, with teachers expecting the students to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to use the technological devices. However, there is also evidence indicating that the investment in technology has not achieved the desired outcomes in terms of educational achievements. There appears to be a gap in terms of the existence of an effective pedagogical approach to teaching and learning that is receptive to technology, as well as which that can be supported in the process (Wargo & De Costa, 2017). Clearly, technology cannot work in isolation or in an environment where structures are not in place to support its use. The purpose of the current research is to establish the pedagogical underpinning of technology in education. Indeed, to achieve this, the focus will be to answer the question on why technology has not achieved educational pervasiveness and the required impact, regardless of the continued investment and implementation in classrooms, schools, and educational systems.
The study seeks to investigate the idea that pedagogy should come before technology to prepare the ground for effective use of technology in supporting educational achievement. The basis for the argument is that the context within which technology is implemented has major influence in its success in improving engagement and for learning to take place. The approach taken in the study is an exploration of the experiences of a school, Bees Creek Primary School, following implementation of the Bees Creek Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Program. The study will indicate the general experiences of schools in Palmerston and adjacent rural areas with ICT to unravel the areas of failure in the implementation of ICT for the purpose of recommending changes for more effective integration and use. The role of pedagogy before education is the primary focus of the current inquiry.
The study will apply a qualitative approach in exploring the meanings which the experts on ICT and a number of schools are giving to the adoption of technology to support learning and teaching. The study is carried out following integration of a technology program in a school with the aim of evaluating its effectiveness in supporting engagement and learning. The study will indicate the areas of limitations with the aim of providing recommendations for the preconditions of adoption of technology. Backing for research on the issue will indicate the role of pedagogical environment in achieving successful integration and positive outcomes. Use of surveys will indicate the perception of educators on the implementation of technology and the impact the same has on academic achievement. The views will be used as benchmarks against expert opinions on the integration of technology. The analysis of the collected data will provide findings on the gaps in implementation, pointing to areas of improvement to make schools better in implementing technology in education.
The study will investigate the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of a technological application in school settings to establish the role of pedagogical underpinning in effective implementation and use of technology in education. The education program that is the focus of the study is the Bees Creek Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Program. The program was developed out of the commitment to provide innovative and flexible learning for the learners. The program is motivated by decisive integration and utilization of technological tools at the school level. The program is also founded on the realization of the importance of technology in the modern life, and the need to prepare individuals with the ability to contribute to the development of society. The development of technology has recognised the criticality of the novel breed of learners who can take part in building a global society.
The BYOD Program is founded on recognition of the opportunities available for the learners to become more innovative, and hence taking an active part in their learning. The program is also envisioned to allow the students access to technological resources which will improve their learning opportunities. The program is founded on a similar model as the personalized learning programs which allow the students to access tailored learning for better chances of success in the teaching and learning process (Sheninger & Kieschnick, n.d.). Creativity in the learning process is to be enhanced under the model which is founded on the curriculum standards of Australia. The program is implemented for learners in Years 3 to 6. The main objectives of the program include encouraging the learners to come to class with their own devices but with specifications given by the school to support and promote their learning; providing an environment that is safe for the learners to use technology during their school hours such that there is observance of safe, ethical, as well as respectful collaboration and communications; ensuring minimum standard in terms of the compatibility of the devices; enabling the learners to apply technology in developing their language on their own as well as in structured lessons; and providing the chance for the educators to go on tailoring lessons to the devices brought into the classroom by the learners.
Indeed, to implement the program, the parents will collaborate with the teachers to provide the students with the necessary devices that they will bring into the classroom. Internet will be provided to the students using the school’s Wi-Fi network. Therefore, to ensure compatibility, the devices will be provided according to some specifications, and only those that will meet the specifications will be allowed connection to the Wi-Fi network. The teachers have a responsibility to ensure that the program is used for the educational benefits of the learners. In this case, they will play a supervisory role in the use of the devices, but will not provide any technical support for the devices brought into the classroom by the students (SchoolNews, 2017). The school will develop the measures necessary to ensure that the students do not have access to harmful materials. In addition, no access of materials that would rather violate the BYOD Charter Agreement as developed to make the implementation of the program safer for the students. Where such a program is in place, it is critical for an evaluation of effectiveness to be carried out to find out whether it is achieving its educational objectives.
Therefore, to gather information on the effectiveness of the program, teachers with experience in the use of the program will be interviewed. A set of questions is developed that the teachers are required to give responses to for the research to establish their perceptions of success in the use of the program. Before the program is implemented, the teachers are trained on how to implement it. Thus, with the knowledge and skills, the teachers are an important factor in successful implementation of the program. The purpose of making an impact on the teaching and learning using the digital technology will be investigated based on the perceptions of the educators. Also, the educators have the desired outcome of the use of the program to enhance the learning process. In addition, in the event that the teachers have used a different program in the past, it is critical to compare the rate of success in achieving the educational objectives.
The teachers will provide responses in different categories, including what they have used the technology for, what objective they seek to achieve with the use of the technology, the impact it has on the learning process and whether the objective has been achieved. The teams of four teachers representing the staff of the school are used for the implementation, and hence, evaluation of the program’s effectiveness. The teachers are the actual implementers of technology in their classrooms and have an understanding of whether the technology is working to support education or not. The staffs have used the Rigour Relevance model for the purpose of reflecting on the relevance and usefulness of the technology they have used in their classrooms. The information is critical to understanding the context of the use of the technology. It is only where technology is relevant and meaningful that it can achieve the objective of supporting educational success.
The evaluation includes an assessment of the knowledge and skills critical for successful use of the program in enhancing education. Using the Rigour Relevance Model, the skills that have been developed towards proper implementation of the program are evaluated. The teachers have been revealed to be involved in a “bottom up” approach, upskilling themselves and one another as a critical factor for success (Sheninger & Kieschnick, n.d.). The teachers are evaluated in terms of the important role they play in the instructional process, and hence, in the implementation of the program. The teachers are a part of the environment within which the program is implemented. Their readiness for the change is also a critical factor for success. Where the teachers have exposure to best practice, success is inevitable. However, it is not always the case. Thus, in the evaluation, such exposure is assessed. The pedagogical framework for success in the implementation of technology in education is critical, and the teachers should have an understanding in theory and practice on the way to align technology to their pedagogical framework.
The study also benefits from information gathered from a review of documentary evidence on the effect of integration in educational achievements. One of the documents targeted for the review is the Digital Integration Policy. The policy is the guideline for the implementation of technological integration in educational settings. The alignment between the policy for the implementation of the BYOD program and the pedagogical underpinning is the focus of the study. Evidence from research indicates the criticality of striking such a balance for success in the use of the program to achieve the organizational goals. Evaluation is carried out on the basis of the availability of a vision or framework for the implementation of technology in education. Technological integration should not be implemented in a vacuum. Hence, the framework for implementation is a critical area of the evaluation process.
Assuming that the program is already underway, there are specific areas that will be evaluated. The first area is the nature of data collected to assess the impact of the program implemented at the school level. The second area is the particular impact the program has on the achievement of the participating students. There is an evaluation of the particular impact of the program on the 21st-century skills, information, self-direction, visual literacy, and global awareness (King et al., 2015). The extent to which the program is impacting on digital literacy and engagement of the students is another key area in the evaluation. The particular uses of technology by the students have also been investigated. The precise skills of the teachers and students to facilitate technology use are an area under investigation. In essence, the best practice and policy support for the use of technology are also assessed.
The survey carried out in the process of evaluating technological programs implemented in NT schools reveal the level of effectiveness in the use of the program to support teaching and learning. Analysis of the data collected provided the evidence of effective implementation of the program. The schools have successfully implemented the program where the students come to school with their devices, but following standardised specifications. At the time the data was collected to test for effectiveness in supporting teaching and learning, it was evident that all the students in the years that were covered would bring their devices in the classroom, which would be connected to the school Wi-Fi for internet connectivity. It was also evident that the learners could access the devices and had skills on how to use them for the learning needs necessary for each session. Evidently, the teachers also showed evidence of knowledge and skills in computer literacy. Hence, from the survey and observation, it was evident that the teachers and the students understood what they needed to use the devices for.
Analysis of the Response
However, the impact of the technology on student achievement does not appear to be of major concern for the teachers and administrators. In fact, this is indicated by the response to the question relating to whether there is a formal collection of data for determining the impact of technology on student achievement. The response to the question indicated that 71.43% did not think there was a formal collection of data to establish the impact of the technology. Only 28.57% believed that such data was being collected. Following implementation of the program, it would be advisable to collect data to evaluate the impact of the program. Such data would indicate the need to continue using the program, stop using it, or change it to make it more effective. Hence, where the data is not available, there is no way of indicating objectively how the program is impacting on learning or student’s achievement.
From the realization that there is no adequate data to indicate the impact of the technology on the student’s performance, the following area of evaluation cannot be objectively explored. However, the teachers were asked to respond to the question relating to the extent to which the data collected is indicative of the positive impact of technology on student achievement. The responses to this question- were not a clear yes or no. Instead, the majority of the respondents indicated that the positive effect as revealed by the available data was to some extent (80%). Probably, the response would be none (0%) or comprehensive (20%) if detailed data was collected to test the impact of the program on the achievement of the students. However, such data was not available.
Like the response to the question on the positive impact of the technology on students’ performance, there was no clear-cut positive or negative response to the question relating to the respondent’s perception on the indication of the data on the impact of the technology on “students’ 21st Century skills (i.e. information literacy, visual literacy, self-direction, or global awareness).” In fact, the response to the question indicated that five of the responses (100%) who responded indicated that the impact was to some extent. Indeed, this indicates that the respondents were not convinced about the negative or positive impact of the technology on the skills. The question, “To what extent does data indicate technology is impacting students’ technology literacy?” received the same responses as the preceding ones. All of the four respondents (100%) who answered this question responded to some extent. The response indicates that the respondents were not sure about the positive or negative effect of technology on technology literacy of the students who were using it.
In terms of the effect of the technology on student engagement, there were more positive responses. From the survey, out of the five respondents (30%) who responded to the question, three answered to some extent, while two (40%) thought that the effect was comprehensive. From the response, it shows that the educators witnessed some form of engagement with the students when they were using the technology. It is more positive given that none of the respondents gave a negative response. Regarding the frequency of use of the technology by the students, it was clear that the students use the technology for different purposes and different levels of frequency. The table below shows the results of the survey indicating the frequency of use and the different purposes the technology is used for.
In the school, there are various expectations from the teachers in terms of the use of the technology. There were three categories of responses to this area of study. The first one was that the teachers are expected to use the technology over the time regularly they will be teaching on a daily basis. In fact, nine out of 15 (60%) respondents replied positively to this question. The second category was the expectation that the teachers would use technology sometime over the time they will be teaching. Two out of the 15 respondents (13.33%) answered positively to this category of response. The third category of response was the lack of explicit expectations for the use of technology on the teachers, and they can make the decision on their own on how to utilize it. The remaining four respondents (26.67%) responded positively to this category of response.
Three other categories of responses projected were based on the expectations that the teachers would use the technology. The first one is the lack of a common understanding regarding the use of technology in enhancing learning, for which only one respondent (6.67%) responded positively. The second category, in this case, asked whether some knowledge is shared by the teachers on how the technology would be used in learning. In the response, there is an irregular implementation where, in this case, 13 respondents 86.67% gave a positive response. The last category is that some common knowledge is shared on the use of technology in enhancing learning and that definite guidelines are followed in its implementation. In this case, the question got only one positive response.
On being asked whether the school has realized the particular skill necessary for the students to be effective in the use of the technology, the question got more negative responses than positive ones. In this case, nine out of the 15 (60%) respondents had a negative response while six respondents (40%) thought the skills were identified. The question was critical for success in the use of technology and positive impact on learning. Without the necessary skills, it might be challenging for the students to use technology for the positive impact on their achievement.
The respondents were asked whether there was a particular program or plan to support the learners in developing digital literacy. The question relates to the possibility of the availability of a program aimed at covering diverse skills in technology or if the students have separate courses to learn and develop the skills. Ten out of the 15 respondents (66.67%) gave a negative response, while only five respondents (33.33%) gave a positive response. In this case, the response indicated that without the skills, it is challenging to achieve the desired effect of the technology.
The area of best practice in the use of technology at the school indicated inadequacy. The question on the frequency of exposure to best practice witnessed only four out of the 15 respondents (26.67%) indicated that it occurs on an ongoing basis, ten of the respondents (66.67%) indicated that it happens occasionally, and only one indicated that it occurs almost never. The results provide evidence of an area in need for more exploration to ensure an increase in the use of best practice in the use of technology.
The question relating to the availability of a vision or framework on the use of technology by the teachers and learners also revealed a serious limitation. None of the respondents indicated the availability of such a framework which has been shared with the teachers. Five out of the 15 respondents (33.33%) indicated that there has been a framework, though not written, which has been shared with the teachers. Four out of the respondents (26.67%) indicated that there is a framework which is not written and which majority of the teachers does not know about. The remaining 6 respondents (40%) indicated that no such framework existed. Lack of such a framework or vision in the use of technology indicates a limitation because the framework provides the way forward in the implementation of the program.
Success in the implementation and use of technology in support of education should be in line with the Australian Curriculum’s ICT Capability statement. The statement indicates that the learners should be in a position to develop the ability to use information communication technology for the activities that relate to access to information as well as management, creation of information and presentation, decision-making, problem-solving, creative expression, communication, and empirical reasoning. Hence, technology should be highly suited to support learning through research, creation of multimedia information artifacts, data analysis, properly designed solutions, and supported information processing. Technology in education should also be better placed to achieve effectiveness in communication and collaboration. However, while technology has been implemented in the school, it has not achieved the said objectives because of the manner in which it is implemented and the environment within which it is expected to operate.
The responses given in the study provide evidence of a situation where technology is not adequately implemented such that it can support teaching and learning. There is no doubt about the presence of technology in the classroom, but there are limitations in terms of the potential for the technology to achieve the learning objectives. Technology is implemented in an environment where there is inadequate best practice as well as a lack of effective framework or vision towards its use in the school. There is also evidence of a lack of adequate structures to support its use in education, and hence suggesting on the issues relating to its capacity to achieve the objectives. Although there is some level of engagement in the use of technology, it is not to the extent that it will achieve the objective of enhancing the educational achievement of the students. Within the context in which the program is adopted, there is a high potential for counterproductive results as the students can easily get distracted.
Technology in support of education is possible where the students have an understanding of the expectations in the use and have developed the necessary skills for effective use. The respondents indicated the possibility of an environment where the students lack the necessary skills for the use of the technological devices in supporting learning. There is also the possibility that the teachers lack the necessary skills to provide instruction using the devices. The students are required to develop the skills they can use for their work beyond education, the “essential 21st Century skills.” The essential skills that are developed at the school are useful for the students even after completing their education. In fact, the skills, including communication, critical thinking, innovation, collaboration, and global citizenship are critical for the students. Thus, the lack in this area has serious implications at the school, particularly because the skills are necessary if technology has to offer positive contribution to education.
The study provides evidence in support of previous research which indicate failure in integration of technology in education. It is evident from the results of the survey that technology has not been taken seriously in supporting educational achievement. There is also evidence of a lack of purposeful integration in the pedagogical structure. The devices have been added into the learning experience which is a positive addition to education. However, the problem is not the addition of technology in education, but how technology is added into the pedagogical framework (Schwartz, 2013). Clearly, the school has added technology to education without necessarily changing the environment and the culture within which the technology has been implemented. The perception of the teachers on the lack of improvement in the performance of the students following implementation of technology is due to the inadequacy of the framework for the adoption of the program.
The schools appear to be ill-prepared to adopt technology. The evidence is seen in the lack of a proper plan, vision or framework for the implementation of the technology. Any project requires a framework to guide its implementation and provide the way forward in its use. Such a framework would provide the basis for the development of the necessary skills for effective use of technology. It would also ensure that the way is paved for the use of technology for enhanced educational impact. Technology is meant to facilitate the process of teaching and learning, but this can only take place where the environment is conducive for its integration. The school should prepare for the integration of the new technology such that it perfectly fits into the instructional process. It is also critical for the technology to become adequately embedded into the teaching and learning activities. However, this can only be done where a plan is in place to achieve a perfect alignment of the two, pedagogy and technology.
With technology, it is possible for the learners to create their knowledge and get actively engaged in their learning process (Holland, 2017). However, to achieve this, it is critical that the necessary skills are developed. Research indicates the importance of constructivist pedagogy, creating an environment that is supportive of the use of technology. From the case study, there is evidence indicating that learning is not taking place in an environment that is authentic and real where the use of technology comes naturally because the structures are already created towards this end. From the case, there is evidence to point to the fact that the program is implemented in the same environment as was in place before bringing the devices to school. The evidence is, for example, in that most of the teachers perceive a lack of a framework and skills developed to support the implementation and use of technology among the greatest challenges. The content used together with the technology to teach is the same content that was in place before the technology was brought into the picture.
Research indicates the criticality of setting the foundation for the implementation and use of technology to support the learning process (Young, 2016). The work involves development of the necessary framework and the development of skills for the students and teachers to implement the program. Evidently, technology can be used for various purposes, some of which are distractive and counterproductive to education. Implementation of the BYOD program has been done in such a way that leaves the room for the devices brought by the students to be used in ways that do not support learning. It is true that there is a policy in place to guide implementation, but pedagogically, there is something missing. The implementation only indicates the creation of a policy to direct the implementation but does not indicate any changes in the context within which the program is being implemented. Evidently, the program is implemented in the same environment as was being used prior to its implementation.
The implementation of the program does not indicate how the content or context will change to accommodate the transformation. There should be theoretical frameworks for the implementation of the program to ensure success in its support for teaching and learning. Hence, prior to the implantation, data should have been collected to indicate the areas that necessitated changes to accommodate the technology. The instructional environment prior to the technology cannot be the same guidance used with the integration of technology. Pedagogical changes should come before the technology to achieve success in implementation, the use, and academic achievement (Sheninger & Kieschnick, n.d.). In the evaluation of the program, there is evidence of a lack of achievement of the set goals because of the nature of the environment within which the program was implemented. For example, the teachers indicated a lack of attainment of success in academic achievement as an impact of the technology. In fact, this is indicative of the failure in creating an environment suited for the integration of the technology.
Research indicates limitations in the implementation of technology in education based on the failure to create a conducive environment, pedagogically. Hence, the primary recommendations following the research evidence is to create the necessary structures for effective implementation of technology in the schools. In this case, the administration of the schools should begin by setting a proper plan for the integration of technology in the educational settings. The pedagogical intent should be the basis for the creation of the plan to implement the technological program. In fact, whatever approach is assumed, the goal should be to pave the way for the implementation using a properly designed plan (Young, 2016). The plan will include all the requirements for an effective environment, including the need for a change in culture to make one that is more receptive to technology. Any change in the curriculum or programs should be laid out in the plan before investing in the technology.
Besides, the schools should have the necessary skills for the educators to implement and integrate technology in their education systems. The plan should include the basis for continuing professional development towards the end of developing the necessary skills for the use of technology. The teachers need to have the necessary preparation to be able to implement the program more effectively. The proposal is for the upskilling of the ability of the teachers to apply technology in their teaching. The Rigor/Relevance Framework provides the backing on the way the upskilling should work, from the acquisition of knowledge to application, assimilation, and adaptation. The teachers are the primary implementers of the change and cannot effectively meet their objectives without the necessary skills (Sheninger & Kieschnick, n.d.). For instance, they cannot develop the necessary skills on the learners when they lack the fundamental technological skills. Hence, as the schools invest in the technological platforms, they should also invest in training of the teachers to develop the technological skills for use in implementing the program (Sackstein, 2017).
The NT schools should come up with the framework for integration that will work according to the needs of the particular school. The Bees Creek program is one of the examples that can be used as the framework for the implementation of technology in schools. However, in assuming this approach, it is critical to understand that the needs and structures of each school are different. Hence, whatever works for one school might not work for another. Therefore, it is critical to explore and understand the environment within which the program is being implemented to establish how integration can be achieved effectively (Schwartz, 2014). The teachers will be able to design instruction based on such understanding. With the necessary knowledge and skills, the teachers can be able to design the framework that can work in their schools or classrooms. As a rule, the program should not be integrated without the most effective framework.
In fact, to implement a new technology like the case of The Bees Creek program, it is critical to have a successful strategy informing the users of the benefits. However, the benefits can only be achieved where the users have adequate training in the skills necessary for its use. Hence, alongside the efforts to develop the favourable environment and to improve the skills of the teachers, working with the learners to develop digital literacy is critical for success. Even where the students have the basic knowledge on how to use their devices, it is critical to understand that what they know does not necessarily support their learning process. Hence, it will be critical to take them through the basics of skills development if they have to develop digital literacy. Even as they develop other skills, the basic computing skills are critical as they will support their learning process (Schwartz, 2014). The skills will allow the students to explore the world of technology as they learn more and take an active part in their learning process.
The change in the pedagogical underpinning is the basis for success in the implementation and use of technology to support education. Mostly, the implementation of technology assumes a “top down” management framework where the policymakers design the necessary changes and pass them to the teachers, who are the implementers of the change (Malik, 2015). While the approach could be necessary to a certain extent, it is not the perfect model for designing the pedagogy underpinning for the implementation of technology in education (Etsmagazine, 2016). When introducing a new change, particularly, it requires changes in pedagogical approaches so as to change the approach to teaching and learning. In fact, it requires more input of the teachers than of the policy makers. Hence, when integrating technology into the learning process, it is critical for the teachers to lead the change. The teachers have an undemanding of what an ideal learning environment looks like. The change in culture of the classroom should be directed by the teacher to create a new context for the adoption of technology.
For the purpose of maximizing buy-in by educators, it is important that they own the process. It is critical that they have an understanding and ownership of the framework for the integration of technology in their educational settings. Hence, the most appropriate way of achieving the ownership is engaging in a “bottom up” approach to implementation of technology in education (Young, 2016). However, the approach should be highly targeted and particular to the change that is taking place. It should also be aligned with the context of the teacher given that as one goes further down the ladder, the context becomes narrower and more specific. Some of the strategies that can be followed under the model include action research, peer coaching, and design thinking (Etsmagazine, 2016). The strategies can all be applied in a complementary manner. The teachers should be largely engaged in the process to develop a better understanding of the change and effectively implement it.
In conclusion, pedagogy before technology will play a critical role in the successful integration of technology in the education setting. The idea promoted, in this case, is for the teachers to come up with the change in the instructional framework to make the setting more appropriate for the integration of technology. Where the context is not appropriate, then the integration will not meet the objective of educational achievement. The teachers should develop the necessary skills and develop those required for the learners to make the most out of the technology in education. While the task is challenging, it is possible and the most appropriate way of allowing greater pervasiveness in educational settings. Collection of data on the environment of implementation is the basis for success in the desired changes in the context. The teachers should work with the learners and the administrators if relevant and purposeful changes have to be implemented.
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