What does "Integrating Technology" mean?

Hello Integrating Technology colleagues,

What does" Integrating Technology in adult basic skills instruction" mean to you in 2018?

Are you integrating technology in your teaching practice if:

  • Your program has a computer lab and your students go there once a week, or more regularly, to use a computer-assisted instruction program?
  •  Students in your classes bring their smartphones to class and you -- and they -- use them regularly for instruction, research, practice, assessment or other education purposes?
  •  Your program -- and perhaps your classroom -- has an interactive videoconferencing system or real-time distance learning system that enables your students to take a class online together in real time with other adult basic skills students who are in your state, or across the country?
  • All of the above?
  • None of the above?
  • Something else?

What essential characteristics define good practice of of "integrating technology" for you?

David J. Rosen, Moderator

LINCS CoP Integrating Technology Group




This is a great question. I would love to include The Difference Between Technology Use and Technology Integration. to frame a part of this discussion. At the core, the difference is technology integration is based on purpose. Students are learning higher order thinking and content. Technology use is the focus on learning technology. 

I'm curious at what others think. 


Thanks Kathy. The Difference Between Technology Use and Technology Integration. adds important dimensions to the discussion.

Here are some additional questions for everyone. Answer as many as you like:

1. In addition to desktop computers; multimedia projectors; electronic whiteboards; and portable digital devices such as smartphones, electronic tablets, Chromebooks and laptops, what other technologies are you integrating? In 2018-2019, how should adult basic skills educators be defining "technology" in the Integrating technology context?

2. What are some examples of integrating technology in a blended learning model (face-to-face integrated with online learning) that you have found to work well? What are some strategies for integrating technology effectively in blended learning models?

3. How can using technology strengthen adult basic skills (including ESL/ESOL) project-based learning? Can you provide some examples?

4. How are you integrating learners' smartphones into instruction both in the classroom and outside?

5. Do you have some good examples of integrating technology in workplace basic skills instruction?

6. Do you have good examples of integrating technology in family/intergenerational literacy?

David J. Rosen, Moderator

LINCS CoP Integrating Technology group




I could go on and on with this topic. To me, the difference is a s simple as this. Technology should NOT replace the teacher in a face-to-face environment. It should, however, supplement the instruction so that students  have an opportunity to think critically, collaborate, communicate, and create in their learning process. I have seen too often situations where teachers claim to integrate technology when all they are really doing is using it as babysitter. That being said, I very rarely teach just technology or just content. I combine the two so that student's learning is optimized. After all, technology enhances critical thinking skills. Using Khan Academy for the specific purpose of practice or assessment (while I act as the facilitator) during our Fractions lesson would be considered "integration". Telling our students to go practice "math" on Khan Academy is just using technology without a specific purpose. Our students need specific purposes in order to be successful.


Unfortunately, what I mainly have heard about and seen in adult education and literacy programs is mostly the first two tiers of technology integration.  There are a lot of ways to think about technology integration in education (TIM, SAMR, TPACK), but I'm talking about the depth of use not how it is used.  The simplest one is the 3-tier model: Tier 1 = teacher productivity, Tier 2 = Instructional practice and Tier 3 = Student Use.  In the first two tiers, the teacher is primarily using technology for either administrative tasks, research, sharing information (like PowerPoints) and so on.  

What I'd love us to move toward is technology integration at the level that teachers empower students to use digital resources in ways that make sense for the 4 Cs of the 21st Century Skills: collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and communication (see www.p21.org)   Folks like Ashly are doing a great job, but we need to help most of our instructors move into that level of technology integration systematically and persistently. 

I think really learning and applying the ISTE standards for students and instructors might be a great place to start.

Just my very quick thoughts on the topic.



Hi Glenda,

Thanks for calling our attention to the 4 Cs of the 21st Century Skills: collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and communication, that will be found at  http://www.p21.org/our-work/p21-framework. The ISTE standards, too, can move us to deeper models of integrating technology. https://www.iste.org/standards. I wonder if adult basic skills (incl. ESL/ESOL) teachers who look at the ISTE standards, designed for a K-12 education system that has significantly greater classroom contact with learners, might find them intimidating in the way that the Common Core State Standards seemed to some adult basic skills teachers too extensive for adult ed, and so their anchor standards were adopted in the more manageable College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS) for adult educators. Has Texas -- or another state -- developed a  version of the ISTE standards that is more manageable for adult education teachers? Is that something that you -- or someone, or some organization, somewhere -- is working on, or would consider doing?

Coming up in mid-October the LINCS CoP Integrating Technology group is offering a free, eight-week online micro-group for up to 20 adult basic skills teachers who want to learn, use, and introduce to their adult learners four free Google tools that they can add to their "digital toolbelt" to make integrating technology "systematic" and "persistent". This micro-group, led by Integrating Technology member and Google tools maven, Ed Latham, is a great opportunity for adult basic skills teachers who want to incorporate the deeper tier-three integrating technology uses that can focus on adult learners using digital tools for their own "digital learning toolbelts," the tools that they use every week in class and outside for active learning: collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and communication. For more information about this, and about how to sign up, go here now.

David J. Rosen, Moderator

LINCS CoP Integrating Technology group


Texas has our own AEL standards with a career cluster overlay (showing how the standards are related to specific job skills), but our standards are all "tech poor."  So, we have on our Content Standards page a link to the ISTE Standards.  I haven't adapted the ISTE Standards, but in the tech integration coach pathway (a series of courses through which participants receive badges), I designed the tasks directly to the ISTE Standards for students (apprentice levels 1 and 2), instructors (journeyman levels 1 and 2), and coaches (professional levels 1 and 2), with the hopes of these coaches helping other teachers at their site, like Ashly is doing (and doing very well). 

Maybe because I'm an applied linguist, but I think the most useful thing to do with standards is to show how they can be used in practice.

Do you have a flyer for your upcoming course?  Do people have to apply?  I can send the word out here if you are looking for participants.  (Also, will PD hours be awarded?  Very important here in Texas.)

Thanks for all you do to push us forward with technology.


Hi Glenda,

You will find information about the new Digital Toolbelt micro-group at https://community.lincs.ed.gov/bulletin/eight-week-digital-toolbelt-micro-group-using-google-tools-beginning-october-2018  Please do share this with adult basic skills (including ESL/ESOL) teaching colleagues in Texas who may be interested. Everyone, please share this information with adult basic skills  teaching colleagues in your state too. Adult basic skills teachers who apply early will be given preference.

David J. Rosen, Moderator

LINCS CoP Integrating Technology group