The Problem with #edtech Integration

In the 2006 edition of a popular textbook for courses designed for educators learning to create technology-rich classrooms, Robyler (2006) defined integrating educational technology as “the process of determining which electronic tools and which methods of implementing them are appropriate responses to given classroom situations and problems” (p. 9). This idea had been a staple of educational technology practice for many years at the time and it has continued to be one of the mantras of educational technology leaders.

It appears that advocates for technology integration approach curriculum and instruction planning as a predictable endeavor, and educators know unambiguously and in advance which technologies will accomplish which goals.

The problem, of course, is this is not the way learning happens in the real world. When it is well-organized and intended to develop knowledge that learners can apply outside of a specific classroom, teachers cannot know with certainty exactly which tools they will need and how they will interact with the technology. When a classroom is full of active learners, they are exploring, asking and answering different questions, and using the same technology tools in different ways. The role of the teacher is to be prepared to help students select tools, but if the teacher believes they know which tools will be most effective before they begin, then they are wrong. It is also very likely active learners will ask for technology beyond the knowledge of the teacher… at least the most active learners will.


Robyler, M. (2006). Integrating educational technology into teaching (4th ed.). Pearson Education, Ltd.