The transition from the Standard Model of education to the alternatives that are emerging to replace it is an incomplete and unpredictable activity. IT managers (along with the teachers they support) who have a framework for understanding the role of technology in the many activities that comprise teaching and learning will design more effective systems than those who do not. In this chapter, technology-rich teaching and learning is deconstructed so it can be understood by IT managers.
Because new information technologies (including hardware, software, and information sources, along with new uses of each) emerge very quickly compared to the periodicity of schools (new technologies appear several times during a typical school year), teachers must adopt and adapt to them constantly. When deciding which technologies to use, teachers are more likely to use technologies that:
- Are easier to use than existing technologies;
- Are more effective than existing technologies;
- Complement existing technologies.
While it may appear easy to select technology that meets these characteristics, those decisions are complicated by the diversity of the devices that emerge as well as the effects the technologies have on students and teachers and culture. In this chapter, a framework with which educators can understand the role of new technologies in their work is described. In addition, strategies for supporting educators’ understanding of technologies in their classrooms are described.