Evaluating Your Instructional Needs and Students’ Needs: The Technology Integration Matrix and the Learner Variability Tool

By: Matt Rhoads, Ed.D

Dr. Matt Rhoads is a Tech and Instructional Leader and Innovator with hands in Adult Ed, K-12, and Higher Education. He is the author of several books and is the host of Navigating Education – The Podcast.

To see what specific lessons and instructional strategies look like within classrooms, concrete examples, resources, research, and step-by-step directions can help us think about how they would look in our classroom.  If we were to plan, build, and implement a specific lesson or to utilize specific strategies and technology integrations, having the examples and illustrations there can be game-changing. Sometimes we cannot go observe another classroom within our school to see this in action. Therefore, we need resources we can access that can help us with this as it is critical to see what lessons and instructional strategies look like before implementing them in our classrooms. Whether you are a teacher, coach, or instructional and technology leader, these two resources that you can use to evaluate instructional and student needs as well as find strategies to implement and satisfy them in our classrooms and schools. Luckily, there are two great resources that can help us do this as well as support us in evaluating and reflecting on our lesson and instructional practices. Ultimately, the goal is not only to provide awesome resources to share research-based strategies, but to also help mitigate aspects of siloing we see in education as we do not get many opportunities to see things outside of our own classrooms, schools, and districts.

The Technology Integration Matrix and the Digital Promise Learner Variability tools are free and research-based tools that can help us see lessons and strategies that can be integrated with the technology being implemented. What we are going to do is to illustrate a number of steps of how you can find lessons and strategies using these tools for you to research, evaluate, and then implement into your classroom.  We will begin with the Technology Integration Matrix followed by the Learner Variability tool. 

The Technology Integration Matrix (TIM)

The TIM is a research-based matrix that allows teachers to see where specific strategies and technology integrations fall in regard to the learning environment and the levels of technology integration. Each level represents various ways you integrate strategies and technology to amplify student learning. You can see examples, research, videos, and activities that demonstrate each of these levels. 

Step 1. Go to the Interactive Technology Integration Matrix and review the various levels. As you can see its organized horizontally and vertically. Vertically its organized by the characteristics of the learning environment while it is organized horizontally with the levels of technology integration. They goal is to illustrate what various levels of the rubric represent and then to select the area to see what it looks like within classroom settings. 

Step 2. After clicking on an interactive segment on the rubric, it will take you to a page that looks like this. This is the page of the extended descriptors, video lesson examples, and related resources. Ultimately, the goal would be for you to review the video lessons and further resources to help you brainstorm and see what the lesson looks like that meets these criteria on the technology integration matrix. 

Digital Promise Learner Variability Tool

The Digital Promise Learner Variability resource provides teachers with classroom practices and strategies to amplify student learning.Β  From Kindergarteners to Adult Learners, they provide a series of strategies and resources to help support them in their learning based on a number of variables that affect how we learn. Additionally, they give a series of strategies that are research-driven that demonstrate their effectiveness. They illustrate examples of how to incorporate these strategies within the classroom with videos, resources, and more.Β  Please feel free to explore these strategies. You are likely doing many of them in your classroom! Below are a number of steps you can take to utilize the tool.Β 

Step 1. Click on the factors affecting adult learners. Then, click on one that you feel you want to learn more about and research strategies, lessons, and resources that you can possibly use in your classroom. 

Step 2. Find a strategy you can want to learn more about that relates to the factor(s) you selected. You can tell which strategy interrelates best with the factors you are analyzing because of the colors you see below each strategy. 

Step 3. Select a strategy and then review the various resources, examples, lessons, and research. By being able to review these resources, you can see what the strategy looks like in classrooms. Additionally, the example, research, and tools can give you examples to help you further brainstorm to help you implement the strategy in your classroom in the future. 

Conclusion – Strategies for You

I hope you’ve had an opportunity to take a look at the various strategies you can see examples of what it looks like in classrooms as well as a wide variety of resources to help you learn more about it and implement the strategy. Additionally, I hope these resources can help you plan and implement strategies you find that will meet your instructional and student needs.

Published by Matthew Rhoads, Ed.D.

Innovator, EdTech Trainer and Leader, University Lecturer & Teacher Candidate Supervisor, Consultant, Author, and Podcaster

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