Planning the Integration of Technology into the Curriculum

Planning the Integration of Technology into the Curriculum

Khalil Zakari

Morocco World News

Rabat, August 24, 2012

Technology is remarkably emerging as an important component of recent reforms in educational systems world-wide. Macro-implementation decisions have paved the way for the implementation of technology in education and training and instructions about planning for technology have already made their way to so many guidelines and programs. The new technology is continuously being promoted as a quite efficient tool for improving learning and teaching.

Planning the incorporation of information technology in the curriculum is a process which, basically, provides assurance that applications are aligned with the desired mainstream. That is, plans should be guided by education and training needs of learners, and, therefore, objectives related to national education goals should be explicitly and clearly specified. In other words, plans should ensure that they do, indeed, address the needs of all the users and, consequently, assessing these needs is a prerequisite for effective planning. In addition, since the implementation of technology in education seeks to expand teaching and learning beyond what could normally be done with the currently used materials, guidelines concerning applications must be provided. Most of the time, when the injected device is innovatory, people need to be informed of its usage. Here, awareness of, or reference to, practices that have proved to be educationally beneficial can be of great value. These guidelines can easily be adopted, perhaps with some moderation, from others that worked. Drawing up these guidelines, in my view, must not be a painstaking task because networking and exchange are intrinsic to information technology.

Inspired by the comprehensive studies of technology application over the past five years on the California Model Technology Schools Projects, Cradler (1992) suggests a list of basic steps for applying the planned approach to technology implementation:

1. Convene a school or departmental planning committee. Identify the stakeholders to include the teachers, a district office representative, parents, the principal, possible business partners like software developers, regional agency, or department of Education as appropriate. Perhaps, in our context, the district office representative is the hardest to nudge into the committee’s mainstream. It is a team work. Technology use planning should become part of existing local school planning procedures. This will help to ensure that technology will become integrated into the existing educational program.

 2. Co-ordinate with existing school and district plans. The School Technology Plan (STP) should become an integral part of the existing school plan already required by some successful programs. That is, it should necessarily provide a vehicle for communicating steps and findings for others who are involved in other project or programs. Within academies, the “Centres de Documentation Pedagogique” might easily assume this co-ordination role.

3. Identify student and school program needs. A review of the school inventories, school performance and accreditation reports, and other relevant information will determine needs for the application of technology. Needs should be focused on and zooming potential discrepancies between already existing and targeted conditions for both teaching and learning.

4. Integrate the school-wide technology planning with the curriculum. The STP should describe how the use of technology will align with and expand district and state curriculum and instructional objectives. “Any technology integration requires that teachers engage in rethinking, re-shifting, and re-shaping their curriculum” (Means,1993). The planning process should provide the opportunity for educators to become aware of and discuss the possibilities for current and emerging technologies to expand and enhance teaching and learning. That is, it should allow teachers the opportunity to collaboratively construct new visions for their daily practice.

5. Objectives and Activities. A plan should describe school-wide objectives with related activities that describe how technology applications directly relate to instruction, curriculum enhancement, and the school program. The objectives should be directly linked to the documented learner and teacher needs.

6. Classroom Level Technology Intervention. The STP should describe activities planned for each classroom. Research and experience shows that planning is most effective when it is extended to the classroom and describes what teachers do to implement their part of the plan. “Linking planning to the classroom level ensures that teachers will have a clear vision of what they will do to implement their part of the STP” (Cradler, 1994). The classroom planning process is expected to give teachers a clear view of what technology to implement and provide a way for them to communicate about the project to other educators and to stakeholders.

7. Staff Development. The STP should describe the staff development and follow-up assistance necessary for successful implementation of planned activities. It must directly support the activities indicated in the classroom plans. Available staff development days should be made possible by school improvement programs.

8. Prepare an Evaluation Plan. The STP should provide a general description of the process for evaluating the project. The process should include procedures for monitoring, implementing, collecting information of student outcomes, and assessing the effects on teaching and instructional practices. Evaluation provides the necessary information to help convince a future funding agency that the project or plan is worth additional funding.

 9. Develop a STP Budget and funding strategy. Identify adequate funding for the plan and involve the school and district administration developing the STP budget which should describe all sources of funding ranging from the general school budget to any special grants or donations. There are many sources of funding often are overlooked. For example, many businesses are interested in forming partnerships with schools and districts to support their application of technology in the classroom. Such business should be identified early in the planning process when resources are being identified.

10. Implement, monitor, and revise the plan. When the plan is implemented, the planning committee should provide support and monitoring of the project as it is implemented. The evaluation and assessment information should be used for making mid-course corrections and to report progress to the committee, school and district staff, and other stakeholders for the project. The planning committee must provide the support and advocacy needed to flame up the interest of the people involved in executing the plan. It becomes obvious, then, given this multitude of tasks and commitments, that planning for the insertion of this new technology into educational institutions, incorporating it into their curricula and keeping on updating all what it involves is a big work to be done. The project demands insightful decisions and requires an array of painstaking engagements. Enormous macro-policy decisions have to be taken, for which an amount of professionalism and expertise is also intrinsically indispensable.

The state of the art in a relatively representative sample of Moroccan secondary schools, however, reveals that information technology is yet far from becoming institutionalized. No more than three desktops, most of which are kept untouchable, still in their uniforms, in an office at the administration headquarters. Many an interviewed teacher would assert that access to the newly acquired material is seldom denied. “The computer is funded as an “add- on” to the school”. Said one; “… I see its presence, there, at the headmaster’s office as an expression of intention, as it were”. All is well, for at least there is a will to look up to standards. The national education reform agendas “ALMITHAQ AL WATANI‘ and ALKITAB ALABYAD” should far more encourage all stakeholders to have incentives for developing such orientation and elaborating such action plans.

The rational for the integration of technology into our instructional programs must first be adhered to. Moroccan EL T professionals are seen to be trying to explore and tame the new technology tools, one must confess. Seminars, colloquia, courses, pedagogical meetings and “hands-on” workshops are being organized in many academies and delegations, throughout the kingdom, in which basic computer and the Internet skills are transmitted to teachers and teacher educators. Acknowledgement should be made to the Regional English Language Office, the British Council, the Moroccan Association of Teachers of English and Ed-Links-Morocco for their creditable attempts to encourage a maximum of colleagues to do away with inhibitions towards information technology and learn how to use it in increasing intellectual reach, enhancing networks of cooperation and exchange and empowering the teaching/ learning process.

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  • elkaidi

    First off I would like to thank si Khalil for broaching this urgent issue of “Technology Integration in Education”. I say ‘urgent’ because as teachers we feel how belated and benighted to rely eternally on ‘chalk and talk’ while our fellow teachers elsewhere use computers, ipads, interactive boards and other sophisticated gadgets! The problem as I see it is that we lack a VISION in education, that’s why we are turning in the vicious circle of forlorn non-stop reforms that reform nothing!
    Another problem is posed by our students, especially those in rural areas. They are reluctant to use technology for learning purposes, may be thinking that “chalk and talk” are a FATE and teachers who try to innovate are profane and blasphemous. Unfortunately, most of our students still believe that technlogy is made for fun! Last year, I designed a website for students and I used to post intresting things on it and assign homework through it but, to my disappointment, a very few studernts appreciated the idea and benefited from it.
    Technology integration in education is ineluctable: either we engage all in this project or we should be prepared for the worst. I have just seen Morocco classified with Oganda, Mazambik, and other sub-saharian countries in a statistic about the quality of education and that’s really painful!
    Again, thank you si Khalil for the insightful article.
    Youssef ELKAIDI

    • Rachid Elkhayma

      Everybody agrees that integrating ICT in our classroom is indispensably and inevitably urgent. Government, high ranking officials, educators, practitioners, teachers, students, …etc, all feel the dire need to start to use ICT tools instead of chalk and talk. But the daunting question here – that is always aasked by teachers and students – is WHEN? The reasons are a myriad but the real issue , in my belief, lies somewhere!!

      • Rachid Ait oumaiz

        The question of time is really pertinent.I do believe that we should not wait for ‘Godot’ (Samuel Beckett’s play).We have to integrate ICT now.You can always find ways in which you can use it.Our students really like ICT.They are very excited about it.They will surprise by the range of applications and techniques they can make use of.There are always new things to learn from every experience.All we need is to just start simple.That is, try to use simple tools ‘ppt’ ‘word’ that learners can easily handle.Then you can move to the next steps.So just do it now

    • Rachid Ait oumaiz

      You are totally right.We need to have a clear vision about using ICT in the English language curriculum or in education at large.
      Concerning learners’attitudes to ICT, experience has shown that they like it.Be they in rural areas or in large cities.The problem with students in rural areas is that they don’t have the means for using ICT.But there are always alternatives.We have to believe in the ability of individual initiatives to make the difference.We should not wait for the state to offer everything (though it is its duty to do so).We should know how to achieve some great goals with less effort, energy and ICT tools.This part of being an ‘efficient’ teacher.
      best regards

    • yousab

      Can’t agree khalil unless our decision makers become technology masters as well. Since progress in tech inventions seems out of reach and not in the hands of our educational providers, I don’t see how you can plan ideas ( cf. for the future)while the future belongs elsewhere. As always, we are reinventing the (same) wheel with or without technology.

  • imad06

    Thanks a lot Mr Khalil Zakari. Really it is an interesting issue, now days the integration of technology in our schools becomes a must because of its positive results on teachers, students and the curriculum, but unfortunately the use of it in our context is still weak because of traditional ways of thinking. the use of technology has changed both the way of teaching and learning, this means it greats new techniques and methods of teaching and learning, the essences of old basics of education were encapsulated by technologies like Blogs, search engines and deep web all these have given new opportunities for learning. I hope the new generation of teachers will really apply and benefit from what technology offers to us in our life.
    Thanks a lot Sir.
    IMAD.

  • Houda Raghib

    Thank you Si Khalil for launching this interesting controversial debate. Indeed, after reading your article, I find that the STP project is worth considering and implementing. Implementing technology in education turned out to me a must if really one aspires for a good quality education.
    Nowadays, no matter how motivated our students might be, if teachers do not resort to technology , they cannot guarantee students ‘commitment and efficient involvement in the learning process. Some efforts have been made by the Ministry of Education in order to put into practice Morocco’s vision about technology being a necessity in the educational system, however, if we just have a look at different educational institutions beginning from teacher training colleges to schools, we would definitely discover that Morocco’s technology in education “project” has been a failure. I put the word project between quotations as there has never been a real project. What we see is just the country’s philosophy and willingness to follow the trend without reflecting on how to set up solid pillar to make this vision come true
    In fact, It is interesting to aspire that our educational system will think one day to adopt the STP project along with those scientifically made ten steps, but I’ am just wondering how ELT professionals, administrators and curriculum designers can implement all this, knowing that the basic teaching materials are not available with the textbooks; am talking about the listening materials. Listening instruction are everywhere inside the books but could you imagine how disappointed a student feel when reading the verb ‘ listen’ and knowing that there will be nothing to hear or listen to. Teachers, therefore, get obliged to consult international textbooks where a variety of audio and video teaching materials are celebrating the content of the book. There is a step that talking about ‘ funding’. Let me just express what came across my mind once reading this word: there must be mentalities funding and feeding strategy too. I’m Just wondering why some school headmaster keep locking computers, data shows and all technological devices!!!!
    Many were the seminars we have attending about ELT, but I think it’s high time to held some professional development events on how to change our personality traits if we really want to boost education in Morocco.
    Thank you
    Houda RAGHIB

  • Chaouki Mkaddem

    Thank you Khalil for the thorough STP. I think the implementation of technology in teaching and learning is not an option but a must. Making use of technologies in the classroom help learners develop competencies in using and applying a broad range of technologies to support lifelong learning. Accordingly, the most challenging objective is raising public awareness and motivating both learners and teachers. Workshops should be provided to parents and teachers as well as learners to increase their awareness of the importance of technology in the learning process.
    Best Regards
    Chaouki Mkaddem

  • http://www.fifileigh.webnode.com Fifileigh

    yeah, it is important to incorporate computer systems in school courses nowadays because computer will continue to be the future, getting even more complex each year in the future. everything will eventually be computerized, similar to the cartoon, The Jetsons. it is therefore advisable to slowly introduce certain basic computer systems to the public, maybe starting at a young age, as well as certain events at local places to get people accustomed to its uses. Another way is to introduce computer classes on television shows and even the internet so that people can learn on their own time and in their own home.

  • http://ed-links-morocco.ning.com/ khalilzakari

    Thank you Houda, Imad, Youssef and Chaouki for the time and effort you have invested to read this humble contribution, sign up for Morocco World News and cogitate for a comment….

    We will soon shift/move on to a discussion of using technology in teacher education/supervision/life-long learning /development.

    Chaouki…You re undoubtedly right … The integration/implementation of these easily-accessed-to ICT tools into our daily practices is now nothing else but a must..

    Houda…. Sure ….Nowadays, no matter how motivated our students might be, if teachers do not resort to technology , they cannot guarantee students ‘commitment and efficient involvement in the learning process. There is something else to attend to, at least, apart for the teacher’s verbalism (so excessive sometimes: Teacher Talking Time/Ratio).

    Youssef… we are seen to be lagging far behind … Guess why… For we do not not relate our merits… We still do no not know how to spread the word… Have a voice..

    Imad… you know how the smart board can be used to avoid teacher’s execcive verbalism and offer students things to attend to (audio files, videos, photos…) apart from the teacher’ talk and the phisical discomfort..

    Houda…. You re definitely right…. There is need for guidance/help/cooperation on behalf of all stake-holders… There is an urgent need for involvment.. commitment… permeability…. likelihood for life-long learning skills…

    Mbarek….Self-evident truth… The implementation of technology in teaching and learning is not an option but a must. When it comes to education failure is not an option… There is potential out there to empower current endeavors… Lucky us and our students… we do no longer live in a world of words only.

  • http://ed-links-morocco.ning.com/ khalilzakari

    Fifi, you are obsolutely right in thinking that mass media needs to be involved in helping people acquire computer skills. The problem, to my mind, is with parents, teachers and tutors. Their inhibition towards technology in general is so unshakeble. Kids and youngsters are a lot better than us at manipulating ICT tools.

  • Mohamed Hillali

    Thank you Mr.Zakari for your interesting paper.Utilizing ICT in the learnig/teaching process as a whole is a winning card for Moroccan education to improve its quality and get a satisfactory classification at the international level.Yet, the use of ICT is not that easy because many components and specificities should be taken into account before,while and after implementing and intergrating ICT into our curriculum.

    Before thinking about incorporating technology in our educational system, we should ask different questions that can be considered as a diagnostic test to our educational system to see either we are really eligible for using ICT or not.Some of these questions are related to our professionals who are going to manipulate this technology for educational purposes.Unfortunately, some teachers don’t have the willingness to new experiences.They always underestimate new initiatives that’s why we should do a sort of study to have an a clear vision about the teachers’ standpoint towards this change.In addition to that, there must be many training sessions for all teachers and more specifically for those who don’t master the use of technology.Our students should be taken into consideration too.That is, We are lucky to find that the majority of our students,nowadays, master the use of technology;however, some students especially those in rural areas may still find difficulties in manipulating this technology.

  • zizi Youssef

    Thank you Mr. Khalil for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk and spread that topic among teachers, students…
    The content of the article is something urgent today. I believe the educational opportunity must be equal and universal and the chance to expand education is by ICT, notably by the use of technologies and that is the main reason behind the gap exiting between developing countries and others. And you are right sir because the demand for technologies in education is a high demand today, but the tools, logistics, materials, competent and quailed staff still very weak and sometimes absent.
    technology in education is a tool and a mean for guarantying continuity ,effectiveness, universality, renewing ,proficiency, acquisition for new knowledge, new opportunities, of course according to the future demands…
    To conclude your work is a kind of motivating us and especially teachers to change our and their understanding of the nature of education that should be changed.

    Kind regards and best wishes my professor

    zizi youssef
    MBC MEKNES

  • zizi Youssef

    Thank you Mr. Khalil for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk and spread that topic among teachers, students…

    The content of the article is something urgent today. I believe the educational opportunity must be equal and universal and the chance to expand education is by ICT, notably by the use of technologies and that is the main reason behind the gap exiting between developing countries and others. And you are right sir because the demand for technologies in education is a high demand today, but the tools, logistics, materials, competent and quailed staff still very weak and sometimes absent.

    technology in education is a tool and a mean for guarantying continuity ,effectiveness, universality, renewing ,proficiency, acquisition for new knowledge, new opportunities, of course according to the future demands…
    To conclude your work is a kind of motivating us and especially teachers to change our and their understanding of the nature of education that should be changed.

    Kind regards and best wishes my professor

    zizi youssef
    MBC MEKNES

  • zizi Youssef

    Thank you Mr. Khalil for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk and spread that topic among teachers, students…

    The content of the article is something urgent today. I believe the educational opportunity must be equal and universal and the chance to expand education is by ICT, notably by the use of technologies ..

    technology in education is a tool and a mean for guarantying continuity ,effectiveness, universality, renewing ,proficiency, acquisition for new knowledge, new opportunities, of course according to the future demands…
    To conclude your work is a kind of motivating us and especially teachers to change our and their understanding of the nature of education that should be changed.

    Kind regards and best wishes my professor

    zizi youssef
    MBC MEKNES

  • http://www.imzirn.blogspot.com elhani86

    I am really happy to see that most of teachers especially the ones of English are raising this issue of ICT in teaching. I would like to point out that the first experince of Ginie was a toltal failure in most cases. Tarining meant a short holiday for most teachers. Now is it is high time to rethink our ways of teaching either as techers or policy makers and technology should be the main ingredient. I feel that I want to cry when I read and see what people in Turkey do when it becomes compalsory in such schools to learn via iPad.The president himself has bought a lot of gadgets to poor students. We have the money in this beloved country and we lack managment. Thanks again for this topic and I hope as teachers of English we can do the best to use ICT even by our means and expenses.

  • seilstad

    Although I agree that technology is important in the classroom and planning its implementation equally so, I have a major concern with Mr. Zakari’s approach, which builds on recommendations from 20 years ago.

    The issue is that of teacher-centered and administration-centered practice and the absence of student-centered practice. Let’s take a look at the first step in the plan:

    1. Convene a school or departmental planning committee. Identify the stakeholders to include the teachers, a district office representative, parents, the principal, possible business partners like software developers, regional agency, or department of Education as appropriate.

    Where are the students? Are they not the most important stakeholder of all in the educational process? Their absence in this scheme puts all, and I mean all, of the following steps in doubt. #3, for example, basically has this committee identifying the needs for the students without their input, based on “school inventories” and student performance reports. How could these data in any way represent the needs of students?

    Why not just ask the students to be part of the planning committee and allow them to set the agenda for the implementation of technology in the schools? Would that not be a more authentic and even scientific way of identifying the needs of a community?

    However, I can already hear the complaints coming from administrators and other so-called “stakeholders” that students are too irresponsible, will just want to play, won’t take things seriously, etc. The problem is that these complaints lead to a Catch-22: if students are never given the chance to have real responsibility and decision-making power, they will never develop those abilities, and will rebel against the system by appearing to be irresponsible. It’s a classic response that disenfranchised individuals or groups make, and we see it here in Morocco all too often.

    My message to Mr. Zakari and others is that technology, while a great tool in education, is not a panacea, and attempts to impose its use on students, even with the noble goal of “motivating” them or “connecting” with them will fall short unless they are invited to be co-users and co-designers of the technology. It’s a subtle yet essential shift that can be revolutionary.

  • driss

    the ict implementation in Moroccan classrooms is still in theory, in hands-on workshops, conferences, colloquium, and meeting. I don’t know why we carry on talking and showing up that the use of technology in esl classes is real. everyone knows that these classes are not technologically equipped.

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