The Technology Integration Matrix (TIM) was developed in 2003-2006 to help guide the complex task of evaluating technology integration in the classroom. Its goal was to provide a common vocabulary for pedagogically sound technology integration for use by teachers, school leaders, coaches, researchers, evaluators, and professional development facilitators. When creating the original TIM descriptors, FCIT consulted technology leaders in a wide variety of districts, conducted educator focus groups, ran field tests, and completed usability studies. We attempted to produce a framework that focused on pedagogy instead of technology, and one that would support districts large and small as well as those with longstanding technology programs and those just beginning tech initiatives. The first version of the TIM was well received, first in Florida, and then by many schools and districts outside of our state.
In response to feedback and questions from users, in 2010 we decided to expand our original summary descriptors for each cell of the TIM by defining breakout indicators for the teacher, the students, and the instructional setting. After another round of input and comments from stakeholders, we published the second version of the TIM in 2011 that included the extended descriptors to further clarify what to look for at each level across the five characteristics.
We are currently in the final stages of the third version of the TIM descriptors. As with the second version, the purpose is to extend and clarify what was intended in the original TIM. The TIM focuses on sound, research-based pedagogy rather than ever-changing technology. None of the underlying pedagogical principles has changed in the proposed revision. Our goal has been to clarify descriptors that users have had questions about, to create direct statements that are more easily translated into other languages, to ensure consistency across the descriptors, and to remove any vestiges of verbiage that tied descriptors to a face-to-face environment. We believe that the revised instructional setting descriptors apply equally well in face-to-face, virtual, and blended environments.
With so many schools in the US and other countries utilizing the TIM to support their technology integration and professional development efforts, we expect to receive many questions about the implementation of this revision. I’ll try to anticipate a few here:
Q: Why change what’s working for us?
A: Nothing is fundamentally changing with the TIM! The underlying principles are the same in the proposed revision as they are in the current version. We think that you will find the rewording of selected descriptors to be more helpful and more easily observable than the current set.
Q: We use TIM Tools and our observers often refer to the built-in help screens that break out the extended descriptors. How will that change?
A: We plan to embed the revised descriptors in the TIM Tools v7.0 with an anticipated summer release. In the meantime, you can continue using the built-in descriptors. Upon request, we will update your TIM Tools instance during the spring semester once the revisions have gone through the complete review and comment process and we’ve had a few weeks to update the programming of the TIM Tools. Clients will not suddenly find that their instance is displaying the revised indicators without their requesting the upgrade.
Q: Our district takes seriously the TIM profiles we generate and we use them for evaluation and research purposes. How will the revision impact our data?
A: As educators and researchers ourselves, we completely understand the concerns related to “changing” the indicators mid-stream. Rest assured, however, the revisions proposed are not so much changes as they are clarifications. Our goal was to eliminate any ambiguities in the current indicators and to restate some of the indicators to ensure that they are clearly observable and reduce observer subjectivity. In no case will you find that the descriptors have suddenly jumped up or down a level. Just over half of the indicators and descriptions are exactly the same in the proposed version as in the current version.
Roy Winkelman is a 40+ year veteran teacher of students from every level kindergarten through graduate school. As the former Director of FCIT, he began the Center's focus on providing students with rich content collections from which to build their understanding. When not glued to his keyboard, Dr. Winkelman can usually be found puttering around his tomato garden in Pittsburgh.
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