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Modeling, Relationships, and Blended Environments: Three Teachers Narratives of Meaningful Technology Learning and Use

By Monica Batac

A research paper submitted in conformity with the requirements For the degree of Master of Teaching Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercialShareAlike 2.5 Canada License

2 Abstract There is no one way for a teacher to learn about and integrate technology in his or her practice. In a qualitative narrative study, three Ontario teachers were interviewed, chosen for their exemplary use of technology in their classrooms. Publicly promoted and vetted as model educators, these teachers are at different stages in their careers and have undergone different forms of professional development and training regarding educational technology. Their classroom practices and uses of technology also differ, but all are grounded in Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) (Mishra and Koehler, 2006). In discussing their experiences with technology integration, interesting connections among their practices emerge. The three teachers emphasize the need for authentic modeling of technology use and mentorship/relationship building with other educators. They highlight the need to build and maintain professional relationships with both face-to-face and on-line peers. This paper also explores some of the unique aspects of the lived experiences of these teachers. Despite the tensions and differences between their individual experiences, these teachers perspectives shed light onto considerations and possible avenues/models for professional development - for individual teachers, whole school, and board-wide initiatives.

3 Acknowledgements I would like to express my gratitude to my research supervisor, Dr. Kim MacKinnon and program director, Dr. Jim Hewitt. These two professors sparked my interest and passion in educational/instructional technology and have fully supported my exploration of diverse interests, research, and projects in education. I would also like to thank my research participants for sharing their classrooms, pedagogies and philosophies in education. Most especially, thank you for continuing the dialogue and collaboration beyond the interviews. You three are my mentors and inspire me to continue to learn with and from others, and share my own learning and experiences. You three, alongside our educator friends in Ontario and abroad, serve as exemplary practitioners of authentic, self-directed teacher learning in blended environments. My research simply serves to share our stories and experiences, to stress the importance of meaningful mentorship, sharing, and continuous growth as educators, life-long learners and professionals.

4 TABLE OF CONTENTS Chapter Abstract Acknowledgements 1. INTRODUCTION Researchers Narrative: Background of the Study Purpose of the Study Research Topic/Questions Overview ` Page 2 3 6 6 9 10 10 11 11

2. LITERATURE REVIEW Different Factors Affecting Teachers Technology Use, Integration and Learning Understanding Technology in Teaching and Learning: TPACK 3. METHODOLOGY Instruments of Data Collection Participants Data Collection and Analysis Ethical Review Procedures Limitations 4. PARTICIPANT NARRATIVES George Georges Technology-Enhanced Teaching Georges Technology Use Before, During and After: George as Technology Learner

14 17 17 18 20 20 21 23 23 23 24

5 and Consultant David Davids Technology-Enhanced Teaching Davids Technology Use Before, During and After: David as Technology Learner and Expert Lisa Lisa Technology-Enhanced Teaching Before, During and After: Lisas Technology Use, Learning and Trials 5. SHARED EXPERIENCES Authentic modeling of technology use for student and teacher learning Mentorship/relationship building with other educators Blended environments for mentorship and learning opportunities (face to face and on-line) 6. IMPLICATIONS AND NEXT STEPS REFERENCES APPENDICES Appendix A: Participant Letter of Information and Consent Appendix B : Interview Protocol 53 55 25 28 28 29 30 33 33 34 37 33 39 40 44 49

6 Chapter 1: INTRODUCTION Researchers Narrative: Background of the Study My introduction to technology for teaching and learning occurred during my first year in the Master of Teaching program at the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education /University of Toronto (OISE/UT). Dr. Jim Hewitt and Dr. Kim MacKinnon modeled many forms and uses of educational technology in their courses. I also learned that their research interests involve teacher education in technology integration. This sparked my interest. Thus, in the summer of 2011 I enrolled in an on-line elective graduate seminar at OISE/UT with Dr. MacKinnon entitled Computers in the Curriculum. For six short weeks, I was immersed in virtual discussions with other graduate students and Dr. MacKinnon revolving issues and practices of technology use in and outside the classroom. Nearing the end of the course, I began to wonder how I would continue this dialogue and learning. An excerpt from my final course reflection illustrates this questioning and curiosity: For me, I think the entire course was pivotal in showing me a huge spectrum of teachers' practices and perspectives regarding technology for teaching and learning. It has helped me be more sensitive and aware of individual experiences with technology and how that impacts its use/misuse/neglect in classroom practices. I really enjoyed working with my Module discussion leader group and participating in online discussions with everyone in the class. I am very much an advocate for thoughtful integration of technology for teaching and learning. Now I'm curious about the ways in which I can assist others in implementing [educational technology] practices in their teaching/learning.

7 I am honestly a bit sad that this course is ending... it's nice to have a responsive and reflective community to discuss a topic and area of my own personal interest and passion. I'm actually wondering where I am going to maintain this dialogue and learning. In order to maintain that dialogue and learning around technology in education, I found myself booking a flight to Philadelphia for the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) annual conference in June 2011. I went to Philadelphia alone and with few formalized plans. Before the ISTE conference began, I attended the EduBlogger Conference. It was an un-conference or dialogue-driven day of learning, where participants drive the topics and facilitate conversations. I spent the day talking about multiple issues relating to technology in education with American educators. I enjoyed this format as I was able to sit in and participate in topics of personal interest. When the formal conference began, there was a multitude of workshop sessions to attend. It was almost overwhelming. In selecting workshops and presentations, I began to note that I was choosing sessions that shared and discussed how educators learn about technology use in pre-service and graduate teacher education or in professional development. However, the majority of the sessions were instructional sessions on particular software and hardware for specific instructional approaches/activities. In the sessions I attended, I was often the youngest attendee. I found out that many of the people in the workshops were staff and faculty from different Faculties of Education or school district/board administrators. Regardless, I began commenting and sharing some of my learning on-line via Twitter and Facebook. I enjoyed the in-person and on-line dialogue with people at the conference.

8 I attended a few workshops by myself. Feeling a bit lonely and out of place, I began to think that I may have attended the wrong technology conference for my personal and professional interests. However, the feelings of isolation and displacement were quickly dissipated, as I happened to coordinate meeting a few Ontario and Canadian educators face-to-face. They had connected with me on-line. I found myself enjoying their company and this began a wonderful social learning experience. We often ended up skipping many of the formal sessions in favour of meals and conversations. They connected me with other colleagues from Ontario and abroad. As the conference went on, we maintained our conversations on-line to coordinate locations and places to meet, to continue the jokes or questions after we had retired for the night. When the conference wrapped up, my new Ontario educator friends and I parted ways with promises to continue the dialogue and relationship building once back to our respective hometowns. On the flight back to Toronto, I began to reflect on this learning trip. I chuckled to myself at how I traveled to Philadelphia and ended up meeting and learning with/from colleagues who lived (relatively) close to home. We met either first on-line or face-toface through mutual connections and maintained these connections and conversations via Twitter, text, and email when we were not together in person. This was such a rich experience for me. As I was just developing my career and interests in educational technology, I wanted to explore how some of my new friends came to learn about technology for teaching and learning. Over the course of 6 months, the core group I met in Philadelphia introduced me to more K-12 educators locally and abroad. Many of us have been able to meet face-toface at different conferences or scheduled socials and dinners. I developed professional and personal relationships with these educators; they began to mentor me in different

9 personal and professional interests: from blogging to action research, baking to media literacy, philosophy to hand held devices, reflective practice to running. As my interests in educational technology grew, I developed a strong desire to explore more in depth the experiences and beliefs of a select few teachers who were effectively integrating technology into their classrooms. Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study is to explore three teachers lived experiences in learning about technology use and technology integration. They are glimpses of individual teacher experiences. By no means are they to serve as representative of any general teacher populations. But their stories and the stories of other teachers that have yet to be shared publicly can shed light on possible considerations, avenues and modes of teacher learning and support. I seek to share the teachers experiences in light of my own experience in Philadelphia. As a new teacher, learning about how exemplary teachers gained their knowledge and expertise enables me to consider possible learning opportunities and approaches I may not have known about had I not asked about their experiences. I have recognized the importance of asking experienced teachers about their own successes, challenges, and milestones. What I have learned from and in dialogue with educators in the past two years would not have been possible through the slower processes of independently reading lengthy books and articles or attending workshops and conferences. This study explores how the teachers got to their respective points of technology use and integration what values and experiences they deem important and essential to their own learning. Through this exploration, I have been able to relate and reflect on my own experiences and how I can further my own learning and encourage it

10 with peers. At the heart of this study is the illustration of the lived experiences of these teachers, then to possible commonalities in their stories. Research Topic/Questions The main research question for this paper is: How did the teachers come to the point they are at in regards to technology integration? Focusing on the stories, experiences, and perspectives of teachers, this study is also guided by the following sub-questions: 1. What are the reported key values and ideas in understanding technology use and integration? 2. What role does collaboration and dialogue play in the teachers acquisition and development of Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK)? 3. What kind of training or support do teachers seek when trying to implement technology in their classrooms? 4. What kind of training or support is necessary for technology implementation beyond the individual classroom? Overview Chapter 1 includes the introduction of my involvement in this topic and study, the purpose of the study, and the research questions. Chapter 2 contains a selective review of literature on this topic. Chapter 3 describes the methodology and procedure used in this study including information about the participants, data collection instruments, and limitations of the study. Chapter 4 provides the narratives of the three teacher participants. Chapter 5 discusses common themes in their experiences. Chapter 6 considers implications of the study and Next Steps. References and a list of appendices follow at the end.

11 Chapter 2: LITERATURE REVIEW Different Factors Affecting Teachers Technology Use, Integration and Learning Mishra & Koehler (2006) maintain that integrating technology in the classroom is complex and contextual. Numerous factors play into the success of or difficulties in technology use for teaching and learning. Many studies seek to explore the multi-faceted and numerous factors that affect technology use and integration (Banas, 2010; Cuban, 2001; Cuban, Kirkpatrick & Peck, 2001; Franklin, 2007; Granger, Morbey, Lotherington, Owston & Wideman, 2002; Palak & Walls, 2009; Rakes, Fields & Cox, 2006; Russell, Bebell, ODwyer & OConnor, 2003; Wozney, Venkatesh & Abrami, 2006). Among these studies, Palak & Walls (2009) note that schools abundant with technology tools do not guarantee use; one of their participants in a technology-scarce school was one of strongest purposeful practitioners of technology for student-centered and collaborative learning. Cuban, Kirkpatrick & Peck (2001) also maintain that access to technology does not equate technology use. They claim lack of time and lack of opportunities for teacher learning are key barriers to more widespread and frequent technology use. The researchers note the anomalies in their study were teachers advocating for more technology and also using computers frequently at home. While Cuban, Kirkpatrick & Peck did not want to generalize this correlation, Rakes, Fields & Cox (2006) found that teachers increased and immersed personal use of technology translates into increased constructivist uses in the classroom. However, Palak & Walls (2009) noted the opposite in their case study of Sandy. There are teachers who use technology at home yet find little value in classroom use and as a result, choose to limit its use for teaching and learning (p. 431-433). Existing research focuses and emphasizes on different, sometimes contradictory factors influencing teachers technology integration and use. The

12 commonalities and discrepancies illustrate that technology use and implementation in the classroom is a complex endeavour. As Mishra & Koehler (2006) maintain, merely knowing how to use technology is not the same as knowing how to teach with it (p. 1033). Quantitative and qualitative studies have also been conducted exploring and analyzing teacher use (or non-use) of technology in classrooms and teacher beliefs around technology (Cuban, Kirkpatrick & Peck, 2001; Palak & Walls, 2009; Wozney, Venkatesh & Abrami, 2006). For instance, Palak & Walls (2009) quantitatively and qualitatively analyzed teacher beliefs and technology practices to find that teachers typically use technology merely for lesson planning, organization and teacher-directed practices. Even though teachers reported that technology was used in their classrooms for technology for independent and/or student-directed learning, it was observed that it was contrary to actual practice. There have also been numerous studies on different teacher education and professional development programs and models for technology use and integration (Banas, 2010; Blocher, Armfield, Sujo-Montes, Tucker & Willis, 2011; Cardelle-Elawar & Nevin, 2004; Chai, Koh, Tsai & Tan, 2011; Doering, Veletsianos, Scharber & Miller, 2009; Galanouli, Murphy & Gardner 2004; Granger, Morbey, Lotherington, Owston & Wideman, 2002; Guzey & Roehrig, 2009; Harris & Hofer 2011; Jones & Moreland, 2004; Mouza, 2011; Polly, 2011a, 2011b, 2011c). For instance, Granger, Morbey, Lotherington, Owston & Wideman (2002) found that in Canadian schools noted for exemplary technology practices, teachers value and desire informal learning opportunities, collaborative relationships, and supportive administrators. These three factors contribute to successful classroom technology use and integration.

13 While there is much research into particular models and cases of teacher learning for technology use and integration, the focus is on the model of professional development itself. The teachers narratives are often part of the data collection instruments in case and phenomenological studies of technology integration. This study is to illustrate and focus on the teachers lived experiences themselves. At the time of the original literature review, only a few qualitative research studies in technology integration and learning were found to be narrative inquiries. Those that were found were focused on a particular tool or location, also integrated another qualitative research method or were self-studies or reflections. Hoge (2010) focuses on Sandys self-efficacy and learning around the use of document cameras. Friesens (n.d.) narrative case study shares Lisas lived experiences with integrating technology in her writing course. Strehle, Whatley, Kurz & Hausfather (2002) share the situated narratives of four teachers working at the same college participating in a collaborative professional development and inquiry group for technology integration. The Technology in Rural and Small Schools (1995) report provides four descriptive narratives of teachers using technology in the early 1990s. These teachers were nominated by their administrators and received recognition for their technology use in the classroom. The report serves to celebrate and share their stories, relating back to a particular technology-enhanced project for which they received the recognition. Power (2011) shares Adriennes narrative of her technology integration. An illustrative study, this narrative emerged from and is part of an extensive and extended study of an Australian education institution and school boards professional learning support program. As well, Adriennes journey is not limited to her technology learning.

14 Two instances were true narrative inquiries and also self-authored. Chen (2011) shares her journey in technology integration as an EFL teacher. In How I Arrived on the Web: A History Teacher's Tale. Wach (2002) shares his journey with technology for instruction and student learning. Wach and Chen both provide detailed, extensive descriptions of their lived experiences. However, these narratives have not been negotiated through dialogue with a writer/researcher or another individual. This study seeks to bridge the gap in the research in narrative inquiry illustrating the lived experiences of teachers who use technology in their classrooms. This research looks at teachers not in particular cases or contexts, but rather in different geographic locations and with diverse positions and prior experiences in education. While a few researchers and teachers share their stories about their technology learning, they are often selfreported narratives. In this study, the researcher explores the teachers lived experiences of technology use and learning for personal and classroom use, providing a somewhat more objective look in and comparison of these three individuals stories. Understanding Technology in Teaching & Learning: TPACK This study relies on Mishra & Koehlers (2006) framework for understanding technology use in education. The variety and diversity of the existing research illustrates that teaching and learning with technology is complex, contextual, and multidimensional. There is no one way for a teacher to implement and use technology in his or her practice (Mishra & Koehler, 2006; Bebell, Russell & ODwyer, 2004; Granger, Morbey, Lotherington, Owston & Wideman, 2002). Teaching and learning is often dependent on many factors, including course/curriculum content; physical/digital environments; students prior knowledge, skills, and current attitudes and practices using different

15 technologies; and the teachers own skills, knowledge, attitudes, and approaches to teaching and learning with or without technology. Expanding the work of Shulman (1986), Mishra & Koehler (2006) created a comprehensive theoretical framework to understanding and implementing technology for teaching and learning. A grounded theory developed through a design experiment with both K-12 and higher education teachers/instructors, the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge framework (TPACK) encourages an intertwined and purposeful approach towards technology integration in education. In blending pedagogical, technological, and content knowledge, TPACK provides a purposeful approach to technology use in the classroom that encompasses all three arenas [Figure 1].

Figure 1: Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) (reproduced with Rights free permission from Superficial professional development and teacher training for technology use and integration, according to Mishra & Koehler (2006), is often unsuccessful. Focusing on pedagogical knowledge about effective approaches to teaching and learning and combining it with both technological and content knowledge will provide a holistic and

16 purposeful implementation. Thus, technology integration is not so much about what the technology can do, but how we can use it for teaching and learning. As the main research question for this paper is How did the teachers come to the point they are at in regards to technology integration?, the literature review aims to inform myself and the readers on this studys narrative emphasis in light of the different emphases in research on teachers technology learning and integration, as well as the complexity of technology use and integration in and of itself.

17 Chapter 3: METHODOLOGY This research study is grounded in the narrative inquiry work of Clandinin & Connelly (2000). Narrative inquiry was chosen as the qualitative research method in order to capture the participants experiences and possibly uncover shared experiences in the teachers learning for technology integration. Such a research approach enables the researcher to seek the nuances of the teachers experiences. Instruments of Data Collection Semi-structured, face-to-face interviews were used as the primary mode of data collection as they would allow the participants to share their experiences in detail while providing the interviewer opportunities to ask follow-up questions. The protocol allowed for general exploration of pedagogies and practices as well as conversations about particular experiences of teacher learning and support for technology integration. The interviews took place in the schools in which the participants worked. It is important to note that these situated interviews were intentional. I was able to see and be present in their learning and work environments. Informally, I spent time observing some of their instruction. This allowed me to experience firsthand their teaching approaches and practices. Clandinin & Connelly (2000) discuss the importance of the research interview: The way an interviewer acts, questions, and responds in an interview shapes the relationship and therefore the ways participants respond and give accounts of their experience (p. 110). Thus, before conducting the interview, I explicitly framed it as a conversation. In my email correspondence to the teachers, I wrote: Its [the interview] more of collaboration and discussion - a conversation - more than an analytic piece. I'm not so much analyzing your responses, but rather trying to find connections or uniqueness

18 in your experience versus a few other teachers. I suggested a 40 minute time frame for the interview. Two of the three interviews ended up being an hour and 15 minutes. Had the third participant not have scheduled commitments, perhaps the conversation may have extended beyond 45 minutes. As well, a limited search and review of the research in teacher learning for technology use and integration in the classroom was conducted (as reported in Chapter 2). Clandinin & Connelly (2000) discuss how many of their graduate students would often write their narrative inquiry dissertations without a specific literature research chapter. Cresswell (2007) states that narrative begins with the experiences as expressed in the lived and told stories of individuals (p. 54; italics mine). It was my intention to delay the literature review until after the research interviews were conducted. I wanted to avoid merely confirming the existing literature through these narratives. Instead, I began this study focusing solely on the experiences of the participants. The literature review is also limited in scope and depth due to the time constraints and program obligations of the Master of Teaching program. Participants The search for participants was focused and in-depth. Over the course of four months, a large number of Ontario educators were considered. Prior to asking any teacher to participate in this study, prospective interviewees on-line contributions (websites, blogs, and tweets) were read. Their explicit and intentional sharing of their teaching philosophies, classroom experiences, and ongoing learning allowed me to envision their classrooms without visiting them yet. Extended exploration and consideration of their experiences and pedagogical/instructional approaches allowed me to get a grasp of their personalities, teaching values, and

19 classroom instruction. The final three participants, George, David, and Lisa, were intentionally chosen as they have all been publicly promoted and vetted as model Ontario educators using technology. They teach in different schools across the province. They were chosen for their knowledge and integration of technology for professional and student learning. While technology serves as a common link between them, the teaching approaches, philosophies, and personalities of the three teachers are diverse. Their classrooms practices and uses of technology differ. They were also intentionally chosen by virtue of the diversity of their technology-enhanced instruction. It was also noted that George, David, and Lisa have undergone separate and dissimilar professional development and training regarding educational technology. They vary in their years of experience of classroom teaching. The roles they previously and currently hold and their instructional emphases are also different. Originally, I considered 5 possible participants in this research study. However, after the three interviews with the final participants, the sheer complexity and depth of the conversations provided ample data for consideration. As this is a narrative study, additional participants may have served as a hindrance in adequately sharing George, David, and Lisas stories. George and I had met at a conference on instructional technology. Immediately taking on a mentoring and father-like persona, George introduced me to many of his close colleagues. He took the time to learn about me what brought me to the particular conference, my professional and personal background, and so on. After we had parted ways at this conference, George and I maintained contact via Twitter.

20 I was first introduced to David and Lisa, the other two participants, on-line by reading their professional and/or classroom blogs. It was not long until I met David inperson at a conference. When informally asked, he spoke highly of Lisa and her effective classroom instruction and technology integration. Data Collection and Analysis: This narrative inquiry seeks to explore and share the participants told experiences and perspectives. Each semi-structured interview was digitally recorded and a reflective memo was written shortly after the interview. The interviews were transcribed by the researcher and written analytic memos followed. The transcripts and memos were read and re-read multiple times in search of common themes and unique experiences and statements. These common themes have been discussed at three different conferences prior to the final draft of this research paper. I shared my interpretations and the dialogue, and the questions and comments received have influenced further interpretation and alternative considerations. In short, I am continuously sharing and discussing the participants experiences and the studys findings. The learning, interpretations and dialogue continue beyond this papers publication. Ethical Review Procedure The study followed the ethical review approval procedures for the Master of Teaching program. All three teachers provided written, signed consent of their voluntary involvement and were aware of their ability to withdraw, at any point, their participation. The teachers were assured of anonymity and that they could decline to answer any questions. The transcriptions and findings were all shared with the participants; clarification and feedback was encouraged. The participants all received a copy of the

21 final draft of this research paper and are informed and invited to the conference presentations and discussions that involve this study. Limitations As already discussed, this research study has been intentionally small in its sample size and review of the literature. The study was conducted within the time constraints and requirements of the Master of Teaching program. Additional time would have allowed for extended and deeper discussions with the participants and a deeper, interwoven, and comprehensive literature review. The narrative inquiry approach is often deemed not theoretical enough, as discussed by Clandinin & Connelly (2000, p. 42). The tension remains and is maintained Clandinin & Connelly, leading narrative inquiry researchers, seek to explore the dynamics of narrative inquiry, rather than to define it (p. 49). Similarly, this research study does not seek to define important experiences, approaches, and supports for technology integration, but rather to explore specific, shared instances. Clandinin & Connelly (2000) state that: There is no such thing as a pristine text, one that is relentlessly and exclusively narrative from beginning to end. All writers, each time they write, work through the tensions and compose a text that can always be otherwise, always be improved, a text that is inevitably only a step, a kind of placeholder, from which still other inquiries with still more field texts may be imagined and pursued (p. 156). They maintain that narrative inquiry is always a work in progress (p. 167). The ideas and interpretations stemming from a narrative study are forever developing and changing. Narrative inquiry often seeks to explore the chronology and development of particular

22 experiences. In conducting this narrative study, I continue to extend the knowledge and understanding of the participants experiences and the multifaceted implications. There has been a tension for me in terms of formal writing and publication. As soon as this paper is written, there is the opportunity to revise my understanding and retell the participants stories in different ways, for different purposes, and for different audiences.

23 Chapter 4: PARTICIPANT NARRATIVES George Currently George has a special role in his K-6 school. His time is divided between teaching Grade 3 and 6 Physical Education and Gym classes and providing technology and/or media literacy support for other teachers in the school. Starting his career first as an Education Assistant then teacher, he served 17 years in classrooms before serving as an educational technology consultant with his board for 12 years. Georges current principal is aware of his skills and experiences as a technology support and has ensured that George is available to co-teach with other teachers. Georges Technology-Enhanced Teaching Georges teaching philosophy is grounded in developing meaningful relationships with students and having them explore their passions. He shares, I basically base my entire professional self on developing a personal relationship with the students, taking interest in what they do, finding out how they learn and what their passions are, and going from there [in terms of planning instructional activities]. He brings technology into the classroom so students can share their life stories and interests in multiple formats. He was proud to share the reported benefits of digital storytelling for student learning and motivation, especially with boys. George encourages students to tell personal narratives and non-fiction stories about their lives. He finds that this ensures the activity is meaningful, and at times transformative. George shares: One particular story that I remember was a little boy in Grade 7 who had been bullied and he had to change schools. He wrote a very passionate story about how he was bullied and what changes he had to make in his life, and the changes his

24 parents helped him make. He put it all in about a 250 word story, added images and some music, and it was very powerful [Another example] One girl she had never talked about or written about her mother dying from cancer when she was three. At Grade 8, she was finally able to talk with her grandma and her dad and get some information about that event in her life, which was very meaningful. She wrote this incredibly touching story about her mother and what she meant to her... how she missed her when she wasnt there. The teacher then said to me, She really needed to write the story. thats part of that transformation. Its just meaningful, its heartfelt. At one point, we were debriefing and I had my supervisor there and the teacher stood up and said, Well, this is the probably the most meaningful writing weve done all year. Georges Technology Use George has experienced and seen the rapid developments of technology over the course of his adult life and professional career. George was proud to talk about his constant and embedded technology use: I carry around technology on my person. I use it all the time I just breathe it every day. I have the Internet in my pocket and connect with you, with the world, and learn. Any-time learning, 24/7. George uses technology for social learning learning about different topics with individuals who share common interests. He primarily writes and reads both blogs and tweets. George blogs and tweets himself not merely to just send out or receive information, but to build two-way relationships: Its really to connect to other people, to come in [virtually] and chat with me about what they think about it [ideas and practices].

25 Maybe they have some new ideas, something to change or do. During our interview, George paused for a moment to think about what he shares and writes about on-line. Mirroring his instructional focus on personal experience, he blogs to discuss the affective domain of teaching: the personal and professional [experiences, rather] than the actual technology. Georges on-line contributions go beyond sharing his technology learning and use; rather, he writes about the relationships and interactions in and outside the classroom with students and colleagues alike. Before, During and After: George as Technology Learner and Consultant In the 1990s, George took two of the Computers in the Curriculum Additional Qualifications in on-line learning environments. Learning on-line was new to him, I never had more difficult courses in all of my life. Ill never forget it... it was so challenging, so interesting, so much work. Reflecting back, he talks about this turning point in his professional learning: I realize[d] that I can work on-line collaboratively with 24 other people and the professor, doing research projects together as a group, on-line, which was unheard of back then. But that flipped the switch for me - that I can learn in that [on-line] environment. That gave me the confidence that I could carry on and keep learning that way. Around the same time of these AQ courses, Georges technology team leader was appointed by an Ontario Faculty of Education to develop its first AQ courses on technology. He had asked George to co-develop some of the courses. George then cotaught some of these AQs, one being the first blended course a mix of face-to-face and on-line. Soon after, George began his consultant position with the board.

26 Reflecting back to his first influential experience in his technology learning, George shared how he began to learn about technology from this technology team leader from his board: Actually, my very first mentor for all of this back in 1998 was my team leader... He was a project-based learning type of guy I think he saw in me that I was self-directed. In 1998, he was asked by a university to write the AQs for what they used to call Computers in the Classroom, Part 1, 2, 3. I actually ended up writing Part 2 we sat with the other writers, talked about writing courses, adult learning, lots of neat things. And then we ended up teaching the face-to-face course together and then the university asked us to teach the very first hybrid course, that was in 1999 it was 2/3 face-to-face, 1/3 on-line so I had to learn [the software]. This was the turn of the century so he was an incredible mentor to me. He encouraged and supported me to apply for the job that I ended up getting. He continued to be a mentor and I still talk to him. George spoke positively about his time as an educational technology consultant. However, he openly stated that he was not always the best instructional coach or mentor for teachers in their technology integration. He first began by somewhat telling people what to do. He mirrored much of the way he was supported by previous consultants. Before he became a consultant himself, George said, I remember just being told what to do. It didnt feel collaborative, it was more, Heres what to do, just go and do. George reports it took him a few years to become the mentoring and collaborative consultant, much like his first mentor. He now supports teachers much like the way he supports young students: working from their interests. Additionally, he supports teachers in ways that reflect his own affective, personalized, and meaningful learning.

27 Roughly 3 years ago, while still serving as a technology consultant, George was starving for other people who were doing technology in a way that would be interesting [to me] [for] someone to talk to about it. Similar to my experience, he happened to meet a group of like-minded Ontario educators in person at a conference and continued to maintain on-line professional relationships. Another pivotal experience for George, this meeting rejuvenated and improved his professional learning: After that, it was easy to find like-minded individuals, people who had different ideas, that you can learn from. It didnt matter about the technology whether its social media or RSS feeds or QR codes it didnt matter what it was. There was somebody you could always talk to and get a dialogue going. George delved into other educators practices by reading and commenting on their blogs and tweets, as well as writing and tweeting about his own experiences. This dialogue-driven and teacher-focused approach is integral to Georges current coaching mentality and mantra: Now its all about working together. Nine out of ten of the ideas are coming from the teachers. I just kind of suggest and guide. They usually have an idea of where they want to go I just come in with little technology tweaks They have an idea, they just dont know how to get it going I think, part of my role is to suggest what would be meaningful and doable. At his school, George has worked with at least 25 teachers. At the time of our conversation and interview in December 2011 three months into the school year he had taken the time to talk to every single staff member about what they might like to explore with technology. His smile and demeanour illustrated his enthusiasm to improve

28 and promote technology use in his school. George motioned to pause our conversation, Come on, Ill show you all the cool stuff were working on. David David is a Grade 7 teacher. Despite only being in his 9th year of teaching, David has taken several leadership positions within and outside his school board, presenting and consulting on numerous areas in education, including effective literacy instruction, educational technology, technology integration support, social/digital media for teaching and learning, and educational change/reform. While teaching full time, David is working on many projects. His involvement enables him to learn about and utilize cutting-edge technologies and leading research in his classroom. He extends and shares the practices, research and resources by organizing and leading professional learning opportunities with colleagues in and outside of his board. Davids Technology-Enhanced Teaching As soon as I began the interview, David stated four key values of technology: creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking. Technology can help develop these four skills with students. David spoke openly and eloquently about using technology to drive student-centered learning, that it allows him to release power to his students. Im most proud of the fact that I use technology as a means of releasing power to students, as opposed to gaining power over students. What I mean by that, you can use technology in a lot of different ways in education. One of the ways you can actually use it is as a means of maintaining more control and helping to maintain status quo, in terms of traditional, in some cases outdated, forms of pedagogy. I am very proud of the fact that I try my best to leverage technology to

29 learn in new ways so that students will leave with skills that will enable them to be greater people. He spoke of key applications and software that allow the students to develop those four skills, values and power. David is an advocate for social media and Web 2.0 tools: Im most proud of the fact that were using the tools in an embedded way, not just as a means of doing culminating projects or to decorate or fancy up something that could have otherwise been done on paper. Were trying out best to do things that actually arent possible in any other way. For example, connecting on-line as a group, collaborating on a document, sharing work in a transparent way so that people can write feedback on it, and so on its not really possible in any other way without that technology. As I note the different devices around the classroom, David continues to describe his philosophy behind handheld devices: I try to bring the students every day lives and the tools they would normally seek to use in trying to connect for social purposes into the learning environment. He encourages a BYOD Bring Your Own Device program and embeds the technology in every day learning activities: I am really hoping that in my class, we can move far beyond that to the point that its [the technology] not really considered a novelty in any way its more something thats just part of learning. David Technology Use David is not only an advocate for handheld devices, but also a true practitioner. At school, he uses multiple devices for different instructional needs. Calling them his assistants and external brain, David believes technology allows him to be a more efficient and effective teacher. He speaks openly about cloud computing and device syncing:

30 If I have to write down an assessment note about a kid, I can do it quickly, either by recording or writing a[n electronic] note down, then it will sync to all of my devices. For me, I dont go home with a big box full of stuff. For me, every day when Im leaving my classroom, Im like, Do I have my laptop? Ok, Im ready to go. I go home, I open up my laptop everything is there. At home, he uses technology for social purposes just like his students. A frequent blogger, Tweeter, and amateur photographer, David shares aspects of his personal and family life openly with his students, colleagues, and the world. Before, During and After: David as Technology Learner and Expert Davids use of handheld devices and cloud technology speaks to his exemplary technological skills and understanding of the pedagogical benefits of the tools. Interestingly, Davids career interests in educational technology was actually a chance introduction: At first I think it was just circumstance. I was never really a computer geek or anything, I wasnt like one of those people who came into teaching already being a computer nerd. Its hard to even pinpoint. My first teaching position involved using some technology, where I was the computer teacher. It sort of just happened from there. I kind of had to learn some stuff on the computer, when I was literally teaching a class called Computers, and then its just one of those weird things. The ball started rolling in this direction. David claims he gained his technology expertise and experience through meeting and working with other practitioners. Mentors were integral to his learning. I was lucky enough to meet people who tapped me on the shoulder and was like, You need to go and

31 do this and learn. I met people who helped me be a better teacher. David learned from a network of exemplary teachers. They mentored him to share his learning and continue learning with others. Over the first few years of teaching, David shares how he learned of and experienced the power of networking in education: [I learned] very slowly but surely to become a networked professional. To surround myself with people I looked up to and learn with them, instead of learning by myself or only in my school. [Its] reaching out to people beyond my school as well. I can always bounce ideas off [them], and in some cases literally learn from people, like receive actual instruction about how to be a better teacher. Arguably, David has become an exemplary and expert techie teacher. Although he is publically known for and sought out for his expertise on educational technology, David hinted that he was not too fond of this fame. Many media outlets have reported on his classroom practices; as well, external companies and boards seek his consultation and expertise. David seems a bit critical of this spotlight on his practice. He maintains that he does not want to make it seem like he is doing anything novel or out there. He uses technology to improve student learning, not to be deemed some expert, some person people want to mimic. David does not use technology to receive compliments and praises from education or technology circles. Its very easy to make a name for yourself just by saying you know how to do it [use technology], he says. He is extremely critical of the self-named technology integrationalists. Near the end of our conversation, David shared his current questions in another area in education: effective mathematics questioning and problems to promote higher order thinking.

32 D: Like right now, I want to be a better math teacher. I want to know: How do you ask questions in a math class so that theres better learning? What dont you do? What do you do? What resources do you use? How do you make a math problem so that it brings out the most high-level thinking in your students? Those kinds of things. M: So how do you hope to get that knowledge or tap into that resource bank? D: To connect myself with the people that are recognized as, I guess experts. Even though thats a dirty word, a little bit. M: Do you do that face-to-face or on-line or a combination of both? D: A combination of both, for sure, but definitely with a face-to-face element to it. Not resting on his awards, recognitions, and digital laurels, David seeks to become a better educator. He utilizes technology to support his own learning. Seeking instructional leaders in his board and asking questions to his on-line colleagues, David seeks to find mentors to support and extend his professional learning in mathematics instruction. David gives credit to his colleagues who have ensured that he continues to innovate and develop his practice. Thats why I feel lucky. Part of it was by choice, partly by fate, I ended up being surrounded by people who did ask those [pedagogical] questions, who didnt make me feel like, You rock, David, because you know how to align the SMART board. Thats when I realized you need to be around people who push you in that way.

33 Interestingly enough, in our interview, David pushed my own thinking around technology use. His integrated BYOD program was intriguing. I mentioned to him that I would like to return to learn more about his digital workflow, device syncing, set-up for student portfolios, and assessment using multiple technologies. For sure, he replied, as he pulled out his iPhone to check his messages. Lisa Lisa is a Grade 3 teacher teaching Literacy and Math and is also in her third year as a Literacy Coach for Kindergarten to Grade 4. With 20 years of teaching experience, Lisa also spent three years as a curriculum consultant. Lisa has been part of an iPad pilot project with her board. Lisas Technology-Enhanced Teaching As she works with young learners, Lisa integrates technology to support her primary goal of developing confident readers and writers. In addition, technology supports her daily media literacy instruction. Lisa sums up her classroom goals: The big picture, I want them to all feel like theyre confident readers and writers and that they have an understanding of media literacy, so that they are not easily persuaded by different texts they see. I want every student in my room to leave being able to be successful encounter a variety of texts and know how to decode them and find out the purpose behind them. To achieve this, she teaches the students to use different applications and assistive technologies to support writing and reading processes. Her instruction and student products incorporate multiple literacies or modalities including visual and audio texts for multiple opportunities for engagement and success. She shares their current writing project:

34 [Using the iPad,] The students have been using first [1] Audio Memo to record and talk through their stories and brainstorm and then listen back, and then [2] use Dragon Dictate, so they record their voices and it converts it into text. And theyre not perfect at that, and we have to work through with fixing it and working with them on Dragon Dictate. Through Dragon Dictate, [3] they then go into Puppet Pals and publish a story thats all about their ideas There are no words on Puppet Pals, its just movement and recording their voices. When we show that to the whole class, when we have our Puppet Pal show, every kid feels successful and feels like theyre work is equal, as opposed to holding up their page and at the end its like a mess or theyre not able to read through what they have. Lisa also incorporates current events and commercials to bring the outside world into our classroom. Lisa maintains a classroom blog for parent communication and sends weekly emails. Her classroom has various technologies, including desktop computers, iPads, iPods and a SMARTboard. Before, During and After: Lisas Technology Use, Learning and Trials Lisa discussed her on-going learning process and journey with her iPad pilot project. She explicitly focused on her pedagogical and curriculum aims, instructional and student needs, and the affordances of particular software. When she began the iPad implementation pilot, Lisa was the sole educator in her school using the device for primary literacy instruction. She needed support. The learning curve was steep as she was one of few in her board using the devices. Lisa tapped into internal resource supports such as the boards IT and Curriculum departments. She also connected with educators on-line and collaborated with them in the iPad integration. Lisa shares her experience so far:

35 Its actually been a frustrating process, the iPad pilot project. Last year there were only two classes. We were given 10 ipads in our classrooms we had to prove whether it worked or if it didnt, what obstacles were in place, and how we could get past them. I had no idea, I hadnt used one before either. The first part was the purpose of it, trying to establish what the purpose was. [The other iPad pilot project teacher] and I did a lot of emailing and Skype we have created a few projects together we would share, and it was amazing because my Grade 2s could give feedback to Grade 7s It was really good for my kids to see that it was real learning that they were equals. Ive involved my computer resource teacher as well as curriculum consultants they both support the implementation of the iPads. I had to learn how to sync them, how to manage them, so Ive relied a lot on Twitter first, just asking who else is using iPads. I connected to a school in Australia through their blogs and their troubleshooting. And then I started my own blog, and now people are contacting me to find out how to do integration. Lisa has been able to locate supports for different needs, using them as a springboard, asking questions like, Im thinking of this, do you think it will work? What could I do to make it better? Lisa does not see her technology integration and learning as something done in isolation. She learns with and from different communities and networks. Previous to these communities, she did indeed feel isolated and alone. Particular to the iPad, Lisa was often tempted to purchase many applications. She had to pause and think: There are tons of apps in the app store that are fun, engaging, look like theyre entertaining, could keep them busy. But I always have to be really critical about what app Im using, what the purpose is, and how that will help student achievement.

36 As she desires her students to become critical consumers, Lisa shares this learning process with the class. She even has them test and review similar applications, to figure out the best tool for particular purposes, design, and so on. It is her aim to have the students go into Grade 4 knowing what tools are available to support their learning. Lisa also reviews iPad applications, sharing her thoughts with educators around the world also seeking effective classroom uses for the iPad. Lisas learning about iPad integration has been trial and error, reflection, and connection with other educators. Lisa blogs about the iPad pilot: I started my blog to glean on each struggle and success and document it, so others can learn from that process. So I really looked at how do I make all my learning transparent, so that others can learn from it? Having that is really important. Her honesty is helpful. Other educators can see the full picture that iPad implementation has not been so easy. By no means does she claim to be an expert iPad user or educator. But other educators in Ontario and internationally now seek her guidance in their own explorations and integrations of the device. Lisa showed me around her classroom, shared some of her key teacher resources, and thought out loud as she set up her classroom for the literacy block. For some unknown reason, some of the iPads did not have the applications required for the days activities. Lisa paused the interview to reinstall the programs. I wrote down the names of the applications unknown to me, noting to download and explore them later that day. However my delayed and independent play was rather unnecessary; Lisas students were able to show and tell me how they worked.

37 Chapter 5: SHARED EXPERIENCES The original research question of this narrative inquiry was How did the teachers come to the point they are at in regards to technology integration? In sharing their past experiences and current roles and projects, George, David and Lisa promote three components behind their successful technology learning and support: 1. Authentic modeling of technology use for student and teacher learning 2. Mentorship & relationship building with other educators 3. Blended environments for mentorship and learning opportunities (face-to-face and on-line) Authentic modeling of technology use for student and teacher learning George, David, and Lisa have strong understandings of why they use technology for student learning. Their pedagogical stances are grounded in personal learning experiences using technology. The three teachers understand the benefits to the particular tools and hardware they choose to utilize. They use these technologies in and outside of the classrooms. Davids Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) approach reflects his personal use of his handheld, synchronized devices. David remains skeptical of those who ask for advice and mentorship about BYOD, as he believes teachers must practice what they preach: If you want to do Bring Your Own Device, where you get students to bring their own devices, do you bring your own device? Because thats not an event. Thats a culture youre going to have to develop. And you have to be part of that culture If you really want your students to use handheld devices for productive purposes, show how you do it, without instructing on it. Literally just do it and the kids notice.

38 Similar to BYOD, David is also critical of those who try to incorporate blogs and other Web 2.0 tools in the classroom. An avid blogger and social media user, David believes that teachers must understand the benefits of such tools for themselves before they assume students will find them meaningful and useful. George also utilizes technology on a daily basis and wishes for his school colleagues to understand the benefits of any-time learning. Slowly but surely Georges colleagues are starting to purchase technology for personal use. George happily assists them with their questions before and after the purchases: In the last four months, there have been some serious hardware purchases, just personal stuff for teachers. A big 24 inch iMac for one teacher. Those people tend to come and talk to me. As well, George is trying to model the use of Twitter for professional and social purposes: We introduced Twitter during our PD day. But there hasnt been any adoption of that yet, but our principal is on it. He asked me, Come and teach me about this. Lisa similarly models her learning and purchasing of iPad applications with her students: Every week theres something new out there. I have struggled to always want to buy something new. I have to go back and ask if it meets my [instructional] needs, or why am I changing my plan. Something better might be there, so instead of wasting time on an app that is taking twice as long to do a product, I might find one next week thats faster. I am always showing the kids my learning. Lisas focus on media literacy is also modeled here with technology consumption and purchasing.

39 Mentorship/relationship building with other educators George, David, and Lisa all maintain that personal connection and relationships are key to their learning about technology integration and use. In some capacity, they all serve as mentors for others. Georges personal and professional experiences as learner, teacher, designer/instructor, and consultant have shaped his current perspective and approach to technology support. You know what? Thats probably one of the most important things [Start from] where theyre at. And thats been a skill I had to develop over the years. If you go in with too much or something that cannot be followed up or supported, then its not going to fly. As previously mentioned, George is helping the school staff with their technology use for both personal and teaching purposes. George attributes the staffs openness partly to his explicit intention to build meaningful connections and start personal and personalized conversations. George seeks to earn the teachers trust before they can collaborate, illustrating his focus on the affective side of teaching and learning: Its all about working together. David attributes his success and professional satisfaction to his supportive mentors within and outside his board. He also seeks to be a mentor for other educators or to direct them to others: Im a much bigger fan of connecting people together so they form relationships, networks of learning, helping people to become networked learners. That whole idiom of teaching a man to fish. Teaching someone how to use technology in the classroom is not just a technical conversation or hardware purchase. As David maintains, [With] Bring Your Own Device, Im not actually talking about technology.

40 Im talking about student-centered learning [chuckling]. Im talking about constructivism [chuckling]. David encourages the discussion and learning on pedagogy, not tools: If you had to ask me who Id want to work with, to facilitate and build their capacity in technology use, I will always say I dont even care if they know anything about technology. If they get pedagogy, its going to be easy. Someone who understands, for example, the importance of assessment for learning or descriptive feedback. If you say, Hey, did you know that theres a tool that helps you do it at a ten-times better level, theyre never going to be like, No. Theyre always going to be like, Oh, I have to learn. Whatever I do, I must learn to do it. They understand how important that is for the learning in their class, so theyll persevere to learn it. And then they wont worry about whether its in a pink case or a blue case or a purple case, or all that stuff. Lisa echos David and George positive sentiments and emphasis on collaborative, professional mentoring relationships: You get energy from sharing and learning with others... Everything is about mentoring and coaching each other, so that youre never making decisions alone. You always have another sound board, you are always gaining more information, very much a team-approach. Blended environments for mentorship and learning opportunities (face-to-face and on-line) Lisa, David and George emphasize authentic collaboration as an essential component to their technology learning. Lisa values her on-line colleagues, primarily because they have helped her tremendously with the iPad pilot:

41 I really, really need the on-line professional learning community because that moves me forward in my thinking and learning. No one here knew [how to solve issues]. I was the only one in the school, in the whole town who was using the iPad [for learning] last year, so I didnt have anyone that I could really bounce ideas off of. I needed that on-line community. Lisa speaks positively of her meaningful, on-line professional relationships. She emphasizes the importance of knowing about them in depth, about their families and lifestyles. There is a social aspect to it. You dont necessarily learn with someone if you dont engage with them socially. I trust someone who I know a little bit about their family, their work situation, as opposed to someone saying Read this article. Why should I read that article? Oh, well, I know what youre about, what you stand for, I know how you interact with others. If you suggest that article, Im going to read it I think there are certain people within the network who I feel very close with, even though I havent met them face-to-face I still know about their families, some of their struggles, I know what theyre doing in the classroom, and I feel very connected to them, probably moreso than some of the people face-to-face in my own building. Just because you see someone face-to-face doesnt mean you have a rich conversation or connection I have to say that there are a few people that I feel connected to and that I trust and will share back-and-forth, and reach out to when things are rough. Lisa now also supports and communicates with some of her face-to-face colleagues in online environments. She describes their transition to a blend of face-to-face and on-line

42 interactions: Two years ago, none of us [face-to-face colleagues] were on Twitter. We were craving our face-to-face meetings. Wed get together & itd just be talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. We wouldnt actually accomplish as much in our meetings because we would have all these other questions to share and askNow, when we arrive, the conversations continue because we are all on Twitter sharing follow[ing each others] thinking Twitter is just a conversation, and when we meet now, its just to pick up on our last tweet and go forward with our planning. Similarly, David prioritizes the colleagues with whom he has both in-person and on-line interactions. He describes his colleagues as follows: I think there are three types of people in my life. There are people who I only have a connection with face-to-face, people who I only have a connection with on-line, then theres the people I have a much deeper connection with because I have both. I can contact them at any time, on-line or through a text or something like that, and I see them relatively frequently. Thats the deepest. Those are the people I can learn with the most. George also enjoys the face-to-face connections with his on-line colleagues: Its more meaningful to connect with those people [in person] because youve already been speaking about it with them and then when you can sit over coffee or something its just magical, its wonderful. You just feel as if youre having a good conversation. And thats what happened with [the last conference]. There were a few people I hadnt talked to in a long time, four months! The last time I spoke to them was on-line. We could sit and have a conversation, it was

43 wonderful. George cultivates on-line relationships as he yearns for professional growth and meaningful connection. As a technology leader in his school, he supports the teachers learning for and with technology. His own technology and instructional interests are explored on-line. However, unlike David and Lisa, Georges face-to-face and on-line networks remain fairly separate: I live in different worlds. The world of my Personal Learning Network in Ontario and beyond, we talk about technologies and methodologies that are different from the four walls that were in [the school]. Thats part of why Im here. Theres a real dissonance I appreciate my on-line network of Twitter people I seem to follow many, many conversations but I do value a few number of conversations over the whole. Its like in real life, if you connect with somebody, and you get each other, thats the same thing on-line. David, George, and Lisa all believe authentic modeling of technology and mentoring, collegial relationships using blended environments are key supports for technology learning and integration.

44 Chapter 6: IMPLICATIONS AND NEXT STEPS Much of the existing research in teachers lived experience in technology learning, use, and implementation is bounded to a particular context be it a curricular subject, professional development model, school or institution, or singular narrative voice. This study intends to fill the gap and provide three narratives. In sharing the lived experiences of three teachers teaching in different subjects in different areas of Ontario, with diverse professional development experiences, and varying years in the education field, shared experiences have emerged. Indeed, these teachers are known for using current, exemplary technology practices in their classrooms; however this was not always the case. In sharing their development of their technology use and implementation, David, George, and Lisa have reported three factors and experiences that are integral to their successful implementation. They all share the importance of personal and authentic modeling of the technologys affordances in learning. This personal internalization of technology use and understanding ensures that teachers move beyond any short-lived challenges. Lisa openly shares the challenges of her iPad pilot project. George provides that modeling and support for both students and teachers in his school. David explains the need for teachers to begin using technology to recognize the applications for student and teacher learning alike. In going beyond the logistics and focusing on pedagogical affordances of technology, any challenges or obstacles are irrelevant: What I truly mean, there are some mechanics involved here, youre going to learn that through trial and error. It depends on your building, on all these technical things. If you really want to do it [use BYOD and more generally, use technology in the classroom], thats not going to be a barrier Id just like to see more people modeling it, just living it in the various levels of

45 our organizations. If that was happening, then it would not even be something that you had to do to people. It would just spread like a virus. In particular, people in positions of leadership. [David] The teachers in this study emphasize different technological affordances and practices for student learning in their classrooms; the one commonality is that they also personally employ those practices. As George himself describes it, they all breathe technology: not merely in action but also in essence. They understand the affordances and benefits of the technologies, practice it themselves, and seek to share this with students and colleagues. Combining the second and third shared experiences, David, George, and Lisa note the value of creating and maintaining both on-line and face-to-face mentoring and collaborative relationships with other educators. They attribute much of their professional success to these supports. For a beginner teacher or teacher beginning his/her own learning for technology integration, the experiences of George, David, and Lisa show that learning about technology use in the classroom can be done at individualized levels and in meaningful ways. Their experiences illustrate that the most meaningful and noted learning is not from workshops and professional development sessions, but rather from dialogue and connection with educators. It is important to note that George, David, and Lisa incorporate modeling, relationships, and blended learning environments not just for their professional learning about technology, but any learning. Thus, their stories speak beyond technology integration; they discuss how they use technology to support their own meaningful professional learning and growth. They try to encourage and create similar experiences

46 for their colleagues. They model meaningful, blended learning relationships for their teacher peers in hopes that they too will take to this personalized and meaningful professional any-time learning. They share their classroom activities as well as their technology integration learning their successes, struggles, and questions on-line for others to read. This transparency speaks to their constant learning and growth as professionals. True reflective practitioners, they aim to help other teachers participate in meaningful instructional innovations and professional learning. For new teachers, the question as to how to find effective mentors or supports is one question. The self-directed nature of George, David, and Lisas professional learning speaks to the need to be self-directed. Reflecting back at the original inspiration of this research, I myself directed my own learning in technology integration. Flying out to Philadelphia was a personal choice and that first step resulted in meeting many educators who in turn connected me to other colleagues. The connections continue to expand and also deepen. Along this journey, I met George, David, and Lisa. The three teachers experiences speak to possible ways to support this type of meaningful learning for technology integration and other instructional areas. Sharing, collaboration, and dialogue are already common practices. The question is, how can we provide this kind of support among colleagues within the same school? George, David, and Lisa all focus on the pedagogical foundations of the technological tools they employ. In their work with other educators, they all seek to learn of the current pedagogies of their mentees. George claims the most effective technology support is when one works from the teachers interests. David believes a strong pedagogical grounding is the basis of sound technology integration. As an in-school coach, Lisa maintains that working from the teachers context and within the classroom

47 enables them to try things out together, to use technology for student learning immediately. The goal of this study is to focus on the key experiences that supported the participants technology learning and integration. However, David, George and Lisa all discuss obstacles and challenges at the individual, school, and board level. The limitations of this study do not permit exploration of these experiences and perspectives. Further narrative inquiry can be written with the collected data or with further elaboration and discussion with the participants. Regardless, their reported obstacles and challenges are diverse. In their own ways, David, George, and Lisa are trying to combat different obstacles in their own leadership and mentorship roles. The multi-faceted experiences of David, George, and Lisa illustrate that there is no particular way to learn about and develop meaningful and effective technology integration. Mishra & Koehler (2006) emphasize this complexity and contextual component to TPACK. All three teachers focus on pedagogy and maintain that it is not enough to merely use technology for its own sake. David, George, and Lisas use of technology are at the center of Mishra & Koehlers TPACK model [Figure 1]; they also mentor their peers to place at the forefront the teaching and learning goals. Once the pedagogical approaches and objectives are explicit, any technology tool can be easily analyzed for its applications in the classroom. The purpose of this narrative inquiry is to shed light on the individual experiences of three teachers who integrate exemplary and purposeful technological practices in their classrooms. From their narratives, we can begin to understand the complexity of teacher learning and support for technology integration. Arguably, consideration of this

48 complexity should guide the ways in which we provide learning and support opportunities. Clandinin & Connelly (2000) maintain that as narrative inquiry researchers, We ask others to read our work and to respond in ways that help us see other meanings that might lead to further retelling(p. 60). In sharing my own experience and the experiences of these teachers in our individual journeys in technology integration, it is hoped that readers will be prompted to consider these narratives in light of their own experiences, to begin or continue their own self-directed learning, then share their narratives with others. In sharing the stories of David, George, and Lisa, I have already recognized that it can instigate, inspire, or reignite teachers learning journeys in technology integration and general professional learning. Prior to the publishing of this paper, I have had many opportunities to share David, George, and Lisas narratives, as well as my own. These lived experiences spark further discussion and the sharing of other educators narratives, which in turn create the face-to-face and on-line mentoring connections these teachers all emphasize. As I continue to share David, George, and Lisas stories one way is this formal written paper itself conversations and connections begin and continue to develop. The retelling of their experiences and the stories of other educators are necessary and important further studies. It is my hope to continue to share these narratives.

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53 Appendix A: Participant Letter of Information and Consent Date: Dear Participant, I am currently a graduate student enrolled in the Master of Teaching program at the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE/UT). As part of the requirements of the program, I am completing a Major Research Paper in a specific area of interest. I am interested in exploring teachers perspectives and experiences with technology training and integration. I think that your knowledge and experiences will be a valuable contribution to my research. My data collection consists of a 40-minute interview at a time and location that is suitable for you. You will receive a copy of the interview prompts prior to the interview. The interviews will be audio-recorded, transcribed, and analyzed for common themes. The content of the interviews will be used for a final research paper, informal presentations to classmates, and potentially at conferences or for publication. Your participation in the research project is completely voluntary. You are free to withdraw your participation at any time, even after you have consented to participate. You may decline to answer any specific questions or stop the interview at any time. You will be given a copy of the transcription and have the opportunity to clarify your responses with me. I will also like to share with you some of my findings during the preliminary data analysis I believe collaborative dialogue is important as part of the research process. I will not use your name or anything else that might identify you in my written work, oral presentations, or publications. This information remains confidential. The only people who will have access to my assignment work will be my research supervisor, Dr. Kim MacKinnon. If you agree to participate in this research project, please sign below. The second copy is for your records. Thank you very much for your help. Sincerely, Monica Batac Principal Investigator Kim MacKinnon Research Supervisor


] I agree to participate in the OISE/UT project as outlined above.

Participants name (printed): _________________________ Participants signature: _________________________ Date: _________________________

55 Appendix B: Interview protocol Introductory Questions 1. What grades/subjects do you normally teach? 2. What are your objectives for the students (when they leave your class)? 3. What do you currently doing with technology in your classroom that you are most proud of? (TPACK) 4. How do you currently assess (as/of/for) your students? 5. What do you think technology adds to class instruction? Research specific questions What value do you see in using technology for teaching and learning? - student learning - professional learning - instruction Tell me about some of your experiences and practices with technology for teaching and learning. Tell me about some of your most memorable and important experiences when learning how to use technology for teaching and/or learning? What challenges or obstacles have you encountered when trying to use or implement technology? In your experience, what would you say are the most important things to think about when it comes to integrating technology in the classroom? In your experience, what services or supports have been most helpful to improving your past/current use of technology? How do your technology-enhanced practices compare to those of your teacher colleagues? Have you had the opportunity to share your learning and/or collaborate with your colleagues? In your opinion, what would help promote technology use and integration in your school/board?