TEL Assessment and Integration

So we wanted to start the New Year getting back to the basics of Technology Enhanced Learning (it’ll be referred to as TEL from now on), deepening our current knowledge of educational technology research and how to integrate it successfully (just be warned this is probably a long post!)

Technology is always evolving. A general example of this evolution is the Virtual Reality Oculus Rift technology which will be available commercially this year but was still science fiction a few years ago, the same goes for touchable holograms though still a few years off, it’s a lot closer than futuristic sci-fi films would have you believe. With this continuing evolution through discoveries and creations of new technology, and it’s cultural implications, it’s always best to keep in mind the research behind why we use technology? What research supports it? and how to integrate it effectively in education? Find out more about the different types of technology integration.

So why use it?

Apart from the fact it’s now a standard part of the educational assessment process, whether that’s classroom observations, peer to peer review or Ofsted, TEL makes education innovative, engaging and provides another base tool to enhance learning.

Realistically there has been a wealth of evidence to support the use of technology in education since the early 90s (seriously, there’s a lot of research out there based from late 1980’s onwards about technology, even from using a blackboard to a interactive whiteboard, and it’s possible impact on learning). The most recent one which comes to mind is about Pragmatics and Cognition which summarised to the conclusion technology, when based on cognition, is effective to enhance learning. On the whole there are Pros and Cons, but the Pros outweigh the Cons.

pros and cons TEL implementation


Ok, I see why. But how do you implement it effectively?

Using the current research available there are a few models of technology integration and their assessment. For assessment purposes there are two frameworks which stand out, these are: Levels of Technology Implementation (LOTI)  and the Technology Integration Matrix (TIM) (at this point I’d like to point out how much I was hoping that the learning models later on sounded like nicknames too)

The LOTI framework, created by Dr. Christopher Moersch in the 90’s, is used as a form of assessment to measure levels of technology implementation and learning. Here is the detailed view. These levels are broken down into 6, as shown below:

image from:

The framework is used to gauge levels of use in the classroom or throughout the education establishment and is clear in its application. Other frameworks can be either too complicated or too basic in what is expected and how to assess tech use. This is a brilliant foundation to use when assessing Tel implementation and can be applied to both non educational and educational professions.

A more up-to-date educational version of the LOTI framework is the TIM framework,  (2011 version of the Matrix) It’s specifically designed for education from primary (aged 4+) to the end of college (age 18), in America this is known as K-12, as a way to assess how technology is integrated. “It incorporates five interdependent characteristics of meaningful learning environments: active, constructive, goal directed (i.e., reflective), authentic, and collaborative (Jonassen, Howland, Moore, & Marra, 2003). The TIM associates five levels of technology integration (i.e., entry, adoption, adaptation, infusion, and transformation) with each of the five characteristics of meaningful learning environments. Together, the five levels of technology integration and the five characteristics of meaningful learning environments create a matrix of 25 cells….” Found here.



Image from: 

This acts as a near perfect integration model specific for education, allowing for a detailed assessment framework which is clear for educational staff (specifically tutors) to follow. From the research the best model for a college wide application (for example for support staff and teaching staff) would be the LOTI framework while the tutor/teaching specific framework would be the TIM model.

So that’s the assessment frameworks on how to assess sorted…on to the integration methods!

They are the Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition (SAMR) and Technological Pedagogical and Content Knowledge (TPACK) models.  The SAMR model was developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura and describes tech integration via these stages/levels. The image below shows the different levels:

image found on:

While this model is great for basic implementation of tech which would need different levels of mastery; beginner, intermediate and advanced, it also does not encourage staff to think about the relationship of why and how they are using the technology. The steep learning curve also acts as a way of putting people off this model.

The TPACK model on the other hand does not suggest levels for integration of technology in education but rather relationships between three factors: Content, Pedagogy and Technology. Someone with the skill of cooperating all three factors into a positive relationship will have a deeper, broader and varied expertise than someone who is an expert on a specific subject (scientist for example) a technologist expert or a teaching expert (a tutor with a depth of knowledge in teaching) The relationships are shown below:

image taken from:

The TPACK relationships explained:

Technology Knowledge (TK): An understanding of the way that technologies are used in a specific content domain
Content Knowledge (CK): can be defined as command of the subject or subject specific knowledge.
Pedagogical Knowledge (PK): Includes generic knowledge about how students learn, teaching approaches, methods of assessment and knowledge of different theories about learning.
Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK): is knowledge about how to combine pedagogy and content effectively to make a subject understandable to learners
Technological Content Knowledge (TCK): Is the knowledge about how technology may be used to provide new ways of teaching content.
Technological Pedagogical Knowledge (TPK): Is the affordances and constraints of technology as an enabler of different teaching approaches.
Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPCK): Refers to the knowledge and understanding of the interplay between CK, PK and TK when using technology for teaching and learning. It includes an understanding of the complexity of relationships between students, teachers, content, practices and technologies.
Context: Teachers are limited by what they are able to do within their own environment. For example, teachers with limited access to technology are unable to use Web 2.0 tools available to students in schools that have ubiquitous access to the Internet. Time, training, and the nature of assessment in schools also impacts on how technology may be used in classrooms.

This view of TEL implementation as a relationship, rather than a case of levels, allows for encouraging all staff within an educational institute, support and teaching, to be digitally literate. Fostering a whole college wide approach to the use and implementation of TEL, through digital literacy, would mean a more innovative environment where TPACK would occur through sharing best practice and a natural shift in cultural beliefs and confidences with technology.

As an overview of these two models, it would be best to use them in accordance with each other. The SAMR model works for those who want to know about levels and progression, while the TPACK model would allow for an innovative ethos to be developed by building a working relationship between pedagogy, tech and content. Allowing for the how, what and why of TEL to be understood and creating more open minded and willing learners out of tutors.

Overall the different methods and frameworks suggest to build up skill levels, in a way that’s easy for educational professionals to understand and assess, while encouraging a proactive, almost culturally embedded, working and personal symbiotic relationship with tech, pedagogy and subject. We’ve experienced this here via college wide academic area implementation of iPads over the last few years. It was found that the SAMR model worked best to help tutors understand what was expected of them and to progress to a more easy flow of tech use with their students and themselves. However the SAMR model was only appropriate for iPad implementation due to how they’re used, as there are clear levels of use (beginner, intermediate and advanced) and worked most effectively when coupled with the TPACK model with TEL training. The SAMR model, as a standalone, would not work with other TEL which might come in straight into redefinition phase purely by the nature of the tech (think virtual reality/Augmented reality) Additionally the SAMR model doesn’t emphasise the need to create confidence levels and relationships with new TEL.

(As a side note Here’s an interesting read on teacher confidence, the TPACK model and how this effects tech usage in implementation.)

To increase the digital literacy of the college and to allow for the SAMR and TPACK models to take effect, as it is based on a cultural shift from levels to relationships, we:

  • Run continuous TEL training throughout the year, at different levels. The main training emphasis is for the teaching staff, but to encourage a college wide approach we open up the more generalised training to all staff (iPad basics etc)


  • For the educational staff training we encourage embedding technology by emphasising ways in which to embed it within lessons and giving them context off which to think about implementation within classrooms.


  • We also offer support within first use of technology in the classroom to encourage staff confidence.


  • Allow for digital leadership opportunities, through us as the e-team and through Additional Teaching Practitioners.


  • There is a set of core apps which staff are encouraged to use and staff confidence, through either TEL training or peer to peer review on the apps and sharing best teaching practices.


Successful Integration?

There are continually more theories into digital learning, as it is still an evolving area,  but using the current theories (and our own experiences) there are a few points which can be gleamed:

  • A mixture of both the SAMR and TPACK models would be the most effective in TEL implementation.


  • There is a need for a uniform level of mastery with specific TEL to encourage confidence and understanding. For example apps, video recording and basic computer skills (TPACK model).


  • There needs to be a clear expectations and assessment framework for educational staff to go off (LOTI/TIM models)


  • The evolving technology needs to be embraced and digital literacy throughout educational establishments should be encouraged, no matter the current level.


  • TEL needs to be embedded within lessons, as you would with literacy and numeracy, and throughout an educational institute to encourage a cultural shift to innovation and confidence to achieve TPACK.



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