Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to the most frequently asked questions about TIM and TIM Tools may be found on this page. Use the menu below to jump to specific sections. If you can’t find the answer to your question here, please email your question to TIM@fcit.us or give us a call at 813-974-1640.
Technology Integration Matrix FAQs
What is the Technology Integration Matrix?
The Technology Integration Matrix (TIM) provides a framework for describing and targeting the use of technology to enhance learning. The TIM incorporates five interdependent characteristics of meaningful learning environments: active, collaborative, constructive, authentic, and goal-directed. These characteristics are associated with five levels of technology integration: entry, adoption, adaptation, infusion, and transformation. Together, the the five characteristics of meaningful learning environments and five levels of technology integration create a matrix of 25 cells. Developed by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology (FCIT), the TIM is in its third edition.
What is in each cell?
Each cell (the intersection of a characteristic and a level) is described with a summary indicator, detailed indicators for student, teacher, and learning environment, and multiple lesson videos.
How should the Technology Integration Matrix be used?
The TIM is designed to assist schools, districts, states, and other organizations in evaluating the level of technology integration in classrooms and to provide teachers with models of how technology can be integrated into instruction in meaningful ways. The TIM can be used in the context of comprehensive technology planning, grant evaluation, and program accountability. Check out our Professional Learning page for more information about how you can use the TIM.
What do you mean by “technology tools”?
Descriptions within the Matrix frequently refer to “technology tools” and their use in teaching and learning. On this site, this term includes computers, laptops, mobile devices, websites, interactive whiteboards, online tools, videos, recording devices, and software. While we are aware that a simple pencil is a technology tool, within the context of the Technology Integration Matrix, we are concerned with the use of digital tools.
I’m writing an article about the TIM. How do I cite it?
Here’s a general format that you can customize depending on the exact page you are citing:
Florida Center for Instructional Technology. (n.d.). [Title of the page you are citing]. Retrieved from [exact URL]
For example, if you’re citing the main Matrix page, it would look like this:
Florida Center for Instructional Technology. (n.d.). The Technology Integration Matrix. Retrieved from http://mytechmatrix.org/matrix
I have videos/presentations/resources that I would like to share. Can I contribute to the TIM website?
Yes! Please contact us at TIM@fcit.us.
What are the next steps for developments with the Matrix?
We are continuously developing new resources and tools related to the TIM. To get the latest information, subscribe to the monthly FCIT Newsletter.
TIM Tools FAQs
What is the difference between the Technology Integration Matrix (TIM) and TIM Tools?
The TIM is a technology integration model that is freely available from the FCIT website. Many schools in the US and other countries use the TIM as a framework for talking about and evaluating technology integration. The TIM itself is free for any school or district to use.
TIM Tools is a suite of online applications that can be used in conjunction with the TIM. The use of TIM Tools requires a paid subscription.
What is included in the TIM Tools suite?
The TIM Tools suite includes three primary tools: a survey (Technology Uses and Perceptions Survey), an observation tool (TIM-O), and an action research tool (ARTI). The observation tool has two additional versions—one for reviewing lesson plans (TIM-LP) and one for use as a reflection tool (TIM-R). The suite also includes a Survey Tool. All of the tools are managed from a single Administration Center.
What is the difference between the school version and the district version?
The School version supports a single school. The District version of the TIM Tools allows multiple schools and the grouping of schools by “zone.” The zone feature adds great flexibility for adapting TIM Tools to a number of situations such as a regional services agency, a consultant working with multiple school systems, or even an entire ministry of education with regional groupings of schools. The same tools and resources are available in both the School and District versions.
May a district license a school version of TIM Tools?
Yes. In some cases, a district would like to try out TIM Tools in a single school for a year before deciding on a district-wide implementation. Often the suite is used for grant or project evaluation where all participants can easily be managed as a single group regardless of how many different schools they might represent.
We are now using a school license. Can we upgrade to a district license?
Absolutely! Please contact us to upgrade. There is no need to create a second TIM Tools instance or to move your data. We will simply turn on the district management features of your current instance. Your URL and all of your existing data will stay the same.
What will the URL of our TIM Tools site be?
Your URL will be a subdomain of tim-tools.com. For example, you may choose JohnDoeHS.tim-tools.com, ISD123.tim-tools.com, or AcmeSD.tim-tools.com. When you order a TIM Tools license, we will make several suggestions for your subdomain name, but you may select any subdomain name that is not already in use. You can try out subdomain names by entering the URL into a browser. If SuperDistrict.tim-tools.com goes to the SuperDistrict log-in page, then you know that the “SuperDistrict” name is already is use. If your desired URL goes to a “server can’t be found” page, then you know that the subdomain name has not yet been claimed.
How long does a TIM Tools license run?
In most cases, a license runs from one year after the site is initialized. We can, however, accept purchase orders for multi-year licenses if that is preferred due to budgeting or grant considerations.
Are TIM Tools available for schools outside the United States?
Yes, we have licensed the TIM Tools for customers in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, North America, South America, and the Caribbean. Currently the TIM Tools are available in English only. We are working on localized versions.
Our university uses TIM Tools for research. Can we also implement the Tools in our teacher preparation program?
Yes, please see the post: TIM Tools 6.0 in Higher Ed
I’m a consultant. Can I use TIM Tools with my client districts?
Yes! The relatively inexpensive cost of a TIM Tools license will yield much valuable data for use in your consulting work. You may want to include a district license bundled into your fee for each district you consult with. Or you can purchase a single district license and then manage each of your clients as a separate “zone.” There’s a significant cost savings when using one TIM Tools license for a number of clients when compared to what it would cost each client to purchase an individual license. Your own branding can be included in the banner graphic at the top of each page within the Tools. See the post: Regional Agencies, Associations, Consultants, and Others Who Manage TIM Tools on Behalf of Others
Can TIM Tools be used as a part of my doctoral research?
Yes, the TIM is frequently used as a theoretical framework in studies of classroom technology integration because it is uniquely situated as a leveled model that focuses on the pedagogical dimensions of technology use. The TIM Tools have been used to collect classroom observations, survey teachers, evaluate lesson plan content, collect action research data, and capture reflections. In most cases, the smallest school license (50 teachers) is sufficient for thesis and dissertation work. Even if you have teachers from multiple schools participating in your study, it is likely that the single school version will work well for you. In addition to the TIM Tools built-in reporting, all of your data can be easily exported from TIM Tools in a sharable format which is ready to use in SAS, SPSS, NVivo, Atlas.ti, or any standard statistical analysis software. Some research-oriented universities purchase a “district” license for use by their students. Each research project can be contained within its own zone, allowing multiple students to conduct research using a single license.
Where can I get more information about managing my TIM Tools account?
Technology Uses and Perceptions Survey (TUPS) FAQs
The TUPS description mentions 200 questions. Wouldn’t that take forever to do?
The TUPS does collect a great amount of information, however most of the questions are part of a response grid that is very easy to complete. Most participants can complete the entire survey in 20-30 minutes.
How often can a district administer the TUPS?
As often as you would like. In the Admin Center you can turn TUPS access on or off throughout the year as desired. Teachers can take the TUPS multiple times. You may also be interested in the post: How often should we administer the TUPS?
Our teachers may be reluctant to complete this survey. How can we communicate the benefits of taking the TUPS to our faculty?
The TUPS has an editable welcome message that everyone sees before beginning the survey. This is the best place to explain your purposes for administering the survey, how you will use the data, and how the information you gather will help you make the most effective decisions regarding technology and especially professional development. This is the faculty’s opportunity to make known what sorts of PD would be most appropriate for them and what topics may be unnecessary or redundant.
Here’s an example of how you might explain the survey to teachers: “This survey is designed to gain a better understanding of how teachers use technology in their teaching, their level of experience with technology, and their comfort with and attitudes toward technology. Results from this survey help identify professional development needs. This survey is not an evaluation. It is only informational and the more honest you are with your answers, the better we can plan professional development to meet our needs. Remember that you are not being tested on your knowledge and you are not being judged based on these survey results. Good teaching is not about how much technology you use. TUPS helps us as a team understand our professional development needs related to technology integration.”
Our district has some unique names for certain roles (tech buddies, gurus, etc.). Won’t that confuse survey participants when more standard terms are used?
No problem. The survey questions are easily customizable. Just go into the administration center and change “technology specialist” to whatever term or terms your district uses.
Some of our schools have unreliable networks. This has been a problem in online testing in the past. How would that affect the TUPS?
The TUPS prompts participants to click the Save button as they move between survey sections. If the local network goes down unexpectedly, participants will not lose any saved responses. When the network is restored and participants log back in, all the sections of responses that they had previously completed will be populated.
So how does it work on tablets? Our teachers all have iPads.
Perfectly. That’s our favorite way of viewing the TUPS.
How can we use data from the TUPS?
TUPS data has many uses. It can establish baseline data. It can measure changes in technology use and perceptions over time. It’s a great way to evaluate PD programs. First and foremost, however, it helps a district to target their professional development efforts to meet specific teacher needs. Please see the post: Nail Your Next Tech PD with the Quadrant Graph
I really need a Spanish version. Could I just use the item edit function to translate the TUPS?
Translation of the TIM Tools is on our development roadmap. TIM Tools have been used in a number of non-English-speaking countries and we look forward to providing localizations in the future. Please contact us at TIM@fcit.us to discuss.
Where can I get more information about administering the TUPS?
The TIM Tools Administration Guide contains detailed information for administering the Technology Uses and Perceptions Survey. Please contact FCIT at TIM@fcit.us or call 813-974-1640 if you have any further TUPS questions.
TIM Observation (TIM-O) Tool FAQs
Do observers have to carry a laptop around to do observations?
They can, but the TIM-O works great on a tablet or even a smart phone.
How much training does it take to become an observer?
Obviously, the more an observer understands about good teaching and technology integration, the better. The amount and type of training needed depends largely on your understanding of the TIM and how you intend to use the data collected. For more information, check out our iTeach Professional Learning courses, our Resources section, or contact us to discuss your needs.
Can an observer link supporting documents (PDFs, photos, etc.) to an observation?
Yes. The TIM-O, TIM-R, and TIM-LP allow linking to any URL. For example, observers may take a digital photo of a lesson in progress, upload it to any sharing service, and then include the link with the observation.
What is the optimal number of TIM Observations per teacher to get actionable data?
Check out this post: How many observations do I need?
What’s the best grade a teacher can get on the TIM-O?
No, no, no!! The TIM-O doesn’t grade teachers. The unit of observation is a lesson, not a teacher. It is understood that excellent teachers can and should function at a range of technology integration levels. A teacher who was facilitating a Transformation level lesson on Friday might be very appropriately introducing a new concept with an Entry level lesson on Monday. A series of TIM observations has value within a coaching environment. The only recommended way of associating teachers with TIM levels is as a range of levels. PD efforts should be directed toward expanding that range so that the “high water mark” of the range moves toward higher levels of technology integration.
How are observations initiated and tracked in the system? Can only administrators make observations?
The TIM observation tools offer great flexibility in assigning observer status. Any role can be granted observer status at the district, zone, or school level. Here are just a few possibilities districts have used:
- District administrators are granted observer permission for the entire district.
- School administrators, tech specialists, and department heads are granted observer permission.
- A role is created for outside members (perhaps from a university or an evaluation team) to observe lessons.
- All teachers are granted observer permission allowing for observations of peers, teammates, or fellow members of their communities of practice.
How can observations be shared with the teacher?
From the observation preview, the observer can click a button to automatically email a PDF copy of the observation to the teacher. The observer also has the option of downloading or printing the observation—perhaps for use in a coaching session with the teacher.
The TIM-R and TIM-LP look essentially the same as the TIM-O. What’s the purpose of having them as three different tools?
We found that many districts were using the TIM-O in creative ways. Some districts found the TIM-O useful for teacher reflections. Other districts used the TIM-O to provide feedback on lesson plans in addition to classroom walkthroughs. With the addition of the TIM-R and the TIM-LP, you can use the TIM Tools to meet both of these needs and improve the consistency of your data collection.
Where can I get more information about managing the TIM-O for my school or district?
The TIM Tools Administration Guide includes easy-to-follow instructions for administering the TIM Observation Tool. Please contact FCIT at TIM@fcit.us or call 813-074-1640 if you have any further TIM-O questions.
Action Research for Technology Integration (ARTI) Tool FAQs
Why the name ARTI?
ARTI stands for Action Research for Technology Integration.
What is action research?
The Institute for the Study of Inquiry in Education defines action research as “a disciplined process of inquiry conducted by and for those taking the action. The primary reason for engaging in action research is to assist the ‘actor’ in improving and/or refining his or her actions.”
Why action research?
Action research addresses immediate problems or issues. It can lead to practical solutions, best practices, higher levels of teacher motivation, and increased professionalism. As student populations become more diverse, crafting effective practices to meet changing needs becomes imperative for today’s teacher.
How does ARTI relate to the TUPS and TIM-O?
Each of the TIM tools is unique and contributes in its own way to effective technology integration. There is no standard plan for implementing the Tools that would be appropriate for all districts. Generally, however, ARTI is more of a destination than a starting point. For example, a district might decide to implement TIM Tools over three years. In year one, they administer the TUPS while simultaneously beginning PD about the Technology Integration Matrix. In year two, they may begin using the TIM-O in addition to continuing an annual administration of the TUPS. In year three, they might introduce ARTI to those teachers who are consistently demonstrating high levels of technology integration in their TIM-O profile. How and when to introduce ARTI will also greatly depend on the district’s current culture related to action research and communities of practice.
What’s the difference between action research conducted by our teachers and the kind of research written up in academic journals?
The Glossary of Education Reform provides this answer: Unlike more formal research studies, such as those conducted by universities and published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, action research is typically conducted by the educators working in the district or school being studied—the participants—rather than by independent, impartial observers from outside organizations. Less formal, prescriptive, or theory-driven research methods are typically used when conducting action research, since the goal is to address practical problems in a specific school or classroom, rather than produce independently validated and reproducible findings that others, outside of the context being studied, can use to guide their future actions or inform the design of their academic programs. That said, while action research is typically focused on solving a specific problem (high rates of student absenteeism, for example) or answer a specific question (Why are so many of our ninth graders failing math?), action research can also make meaningful contributions to the larger body of knowledge and understanding in the field of education, particularly within a relatively closed system such as school, district, or network of connected organizations.
Where can I get more information about implementing ARTI within my school or district?
TIM Tools Administration Center FAQs
Our district is huge. Can TIM Tools handle districts or other organizations larger than the 10,000 teacher tier I see on your price list?
Yes, the system was designed to support both large and small organizations. Some of the largest districts in the country are TIM Tools clients. The zone feature in the Admin Center was especially created for large districts. We’ve found that many large districts group their schools into various zones for administrative purposes. Other features, like single sign-on (SSO) powered by ClassLink, and APIs with a sample script library, allow organizations large and small to streamline their user experiences.
The 100 sample site banners are nice, but we want to use our own district banner. Can we do that?
Yes. In the Admin Center, go to Customization and then Site Banner. Enter the URL of the image you want to use in the text field and click the “Use Custom Banner” button. Your district banner will now appear on every TIM Tools page.
This year, we want to focus on the TUPS and TIM-O only. Can we remove the other tools from the menu our teachers see?
No problem. In the Admin Center, go to Customization and then Active Applications. You’ll see a list of all seven tools with a checkbox by each one. Simply uncheck the ones you wish to hide. Unchecking an application does not remove it. The application is simply hidden. You can recheck the box and have it reappear in the menus at any time.
How can we track various groups of teachers for research purposes?
Please see the post: Leveraging TIM Tools Roles for Research and Evaluation
The role names you have in TIM Tools do not match what we use in my country. How can I modify them to align with our usage?
Please see the post: Using TIM Tools around the World
Where can I get more information about the Admin Center?
We’ve been using the TUPS for years. What’s the purpose of another survey tool?
Mostly convenience for our clients. We’ve noticed that many of our client’s school or district websites host or link to surveys on a variety of topics such as school climate. By incorporating the Survey Tool into the TIM Tools suite, we’ve made it easy for districts to push out surveys to their membership. The library of sample surveys includes a number of tech-related surveys, but the Survey Tool can be used for any sort of survey, checklist, form, or report. Unlike the TUPS where we provide several means of generating helpful reports of survey results, the results of surveys conducted in the Survey Tool are available simply as a spreadsheet download of raw data that you’ll have to analyze yourself.
Can the Survey Tool be used for public surveys as well?
Yes. You can do two types of public surveys. If you designate it as a “self-enroll” public survey, then any member of the public can participate. If you designate it as an “entry code” survey, then only those members of the public to whom you’ve distributed an access code can participate. You can have multiple access codes for the same survey. A district might conduct a parent survey and distribute different access codes to parents in each school. The URL would be the same for everyone, but the code entered would be recorded so the district would know which school a particular response came from.
What kind of a question is “descriptive text”?
Although “descriptive text” is listed with the other question types such as multiple choice or multiple response, it really isn’t a question. It’s just a way of entering a non-question item into the flow of a survey. You can use the descriptive text item to insert headings, add explanations, or even pull illustrations into your survey. It allows you to make your survey look more inviting and less like an endless list of questions.
I like the graphic prompts you have in the sample surveys. Where can I find more like those?
We’ve made a nice little collection of survey graphics you might find useful. There are prompts, welcome images, thank-you’s, and other items we hope you like. They are available at Survey Parts and Pieces.
Copy the code next to any image on the “Parts and Pieces” page. When you paste the code into a “descriptive text” item in your survey, the image will appear.
Our district made a new survey that’s pretty cool and our teachers find it really useful. Can we share it with other TIM Tools users?
We’d be happy to take a look at it to see if we can add it to the survey library at the next TIM Tools update. Please keep in mind, however, that any survey you create must respect the copyright of others. You can’t “borrow” a copyrighted survey from a commercial source and enter it into the Survey Tool. Your surveys should contain only your own content, public domain content, or content that you have specific permission to use in this manner.
Does the Report Tool replace what we’ve been doing with the Excel template?
Not at all. If you’ve been using the Excel template to work with your data, you know that it is very comprehensive. Template reports also include individual data which may or may not be anonymized depending on the settings when it was downloaded. The template reports are great for analyzing your data, doing tech planning, customizing professional development, setting goals, and tracking progress. Template data can also be imported into AS, SPSS, NVivo, Atlas.ti, or any standard statistical analysis software. There was a need, however, for simpler summary reports that did not include any individual member data. Use the Report Tool when you want to view or share data aggregated at the school or district level.
I get that the reports generated by the Report Tool do not include identifiable teacher data since they are aggregated at the school or district level, but allowing specific roles to compare data between schools could still be problematic for us.
You control access to the reports. You can set a report to be visible to any member in your system, to administrators and observers only, or to administrators only. The breadth of distribution is entirely up to you. Online reports will not be available to the general public. Since the reports are also available in a print format, you have the option of making a report available only to administrators and then distributing print files or paper copies only to those you desire to receive them. Of course, you can also “print to PDF” and distribute selected reports electronically if you desire.
How can I share TIM-O data with the teacher who was observed?
In addition to sharing a PDF each time a teacher is observed, a district-wide Report can be created that makes all of the TIM-O data available to the teacher who was observed. You can even select an end date in the future (perhaps the end of an academic year), so that each teacher has access to his or her own data as it is released to the database. To create such a report, use the following settings. Type: TIM Observations. Visibility: All Members. Contents: Individual Member’s Results. People Included: All Members: Set as desired, perhaps just for the current academic year.
Great DIY Presentations section. Can I use them?
All of the resources on the TIM website can be used by teachers, administrators, and other staff of schools and school districts. Commercial use requires written permission from FCIT.
Does my district have to buy TIM Tools to use the Technology Integration Matrix?
No. The TIM resources can be used independently of the TIM Tools. There is no cost to teachers, schools, or districts to use the TIM.
Can I submit a presentation proposal about the TIM to a conference?
Yes, we encourage presentations about the TIM at all kinds of conferences! Please consider sharing information about your conference presentation with us. We love to see how you are using the TIM in your work. To cite materials you find on this website, please use:
Florida Center for Instructional Technology. (n.d.). The Technology Integration Matrix. Retrieved from http://mytechmatrix.org/
I’m an independent consultant. Can I offer training and consulting services on the TIM?
Commercial use of the TIM and TIM Tools content must have the written permission of FCIT. If you are selling your services and you are unsure about a proposed use of the TIM, please contact us at TIM@fcit.us.
My district made a pretty cool website about our TIM projects. Can you include us in your Links section?
We’d love to take a look at your site. Send us the URL at: TIM@fcit.us
I’ve got a question you don’t have answered. Where can I submit it?
Please email FCIT at: TIM@fcit.us or give us a call at 813-974-1640.