(Ok … before you even read this blog post, take a few minutes to watch the video above. It will prompt you to download a file – it doesn’t stream unless you watch it from the link on the bottom of this page.)
Folks, this is how it’s done … The Arizona K-12 Center, created in 1999 by then-Governor Jane Dee Hull, is a powerful example of what can happen when you combine visionary educational leadership at the state level with modern technology, dedicated professional teachers and FUNDING. I discovered this site by accident over the weekend as I was catching up on Twitter / reading my RSS feed / planning my lessons for the week (like the child in the video above says, “great teachers never stop learning.”). It is probably one of the ten the most important resources I will have shared on this blog!
“TIM,” the center’s Technnology Integration Matrix (http://azk12.org/tim/), reminds me of Florida’s also-excellent Technology Integration Matrix. This intuitive, easy-to-use matrix lets you browse lessons at the intersection of two variables:
the level of desired technology integration (from low to high, i.e., entry, adoption, adaptation, infusion, and transformation); and
five characteristics of what they consider meaningful learning environments (again from low to high: goal directed, authentic, constructive, collaborative, active).
Once you have chosen a spot on the matrix – presumably aligned with the instructional environment at your school and your own comfort level with technology – you are presented with detailed example lessons (divided into K-4 and 5-8) featuring brief video summaries, detailed standards (specific to Arizona, unfortunately), objectives, procedures, materials and more. These ideas are terrific and can easily be adapted by teachers everywhere.
Why This Matters
This site is not important because it has great lesson plans. (There are many on the Internet already.) This site is important because it allows anyone with an interest in quality, effective instruction – teachers, administrators, school/educational leaders, parents/community members, professional developers, State Department of Education staff, school board members, everyone – to see what effective teaching with technology looks like.
Quoting from their About/History page:
Most quality school reform efforts focus primarily on the end result of improving K12 student performance. At the core of these efforts is a call to rethink the practice of teaching in ways that would raise standards, increase student achievement, reshape curricula, and restructure the way schools operate. The Arizona K12 Center was created to bring these topics into focus in order to increase Arizona teachers’ abilities to improve student performance.
We can’t solve the problems we face in K-12 education by cutting budgets. We can solve them by investing in people – professional educators – and holding them accountable for solutions.
Bottom line, if you are a classroom teacher looking for an engaging lesson leveraging technology, the Arizona Technology Integration Matrix has detailed plans you can use right away. If you are a school leader and you are wondering what “true” 21st-century learning looks like, the Arizona Technology Integration Matrix has the information you need. If you are a parent or community member wondering how what’s happening in your child’s classroom compares to others, this site will give you some perspective. If you are a district administrator planning professional development, the Arizona Technology Integration Matrix can show you what’s possible with the right support and expectations for technology use.
To be sure, every state has different resources, leadership, population, infrastructure, and challenges. What’s routinely possible in one state may be a distant dream for another. The Arizona Technology Integration Matrix has something for everyone, though – whether you need an lesson idea to run with today, or, a vision for the future of your school tomorrow.
Heck, these folks are even on Facebook. And Twitter.
See you in the future,