The adoption and assortment of technology in K-12 classrooms has soared over the past decade, posing challenges for schools tasked with deciding which technologies to introduce into their classrooms. Too often, these conversations around leveraging technology in instruction revolve around the what and how of physical tools — what to acquire and how to use it. However, we need to first start with the why of technology to truly address learning outcomes for all students.

Technology needs to be evaluated and chosen for its ability to engage students in meaningful and productive ways within a culture of accelerated learning. Students who are proficient with digital literacy skills and practices will have the advantage of being flexible and adaptive critical thinkers who can engage with new technology in meaningful and productive ways in every content area.

4 Steps to Integrating Technology with Purpose

The ability to understand our students in more nuanced and holistic ways allows us to better assess and meet their needs for greater differentiation. Before jumping to integrate new tools, we need to first focus on the environment that surrounds and supports the use of that technology. This involves asking questions to determine how technology can address the needs of students and teachers. And there are four steps that will enable this more thoughtful and effective use of new tools.

Laurie Kirkland is the Director of Digital Learning at AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), a nonprofit training 85,000 educators annually to close the opportunity gap and prepare students for college, careers, and life.

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