Conceptual frameworks for purposeful EdTech integration

Funny how the stars align sometimes…

COETAIL course four kicked off with a deep dive into some edTech conceptual frameworks, and I’m presenting next week on this topic and more at a Cognita Asia regional conference next week.

Conceptual Frameworks

There were three frameworks presented in this week’s reading:

  • TPaCK
  • SAMR
  • TIM

The first two I would advocate strongly for and would rate my understanding and application of both at a mastery level.

The latter, the Technology Integration Matrix (TIM), I’ve seen a plenty, with the same reaction each time — “Meh”. Why? It’s way too verbose with too many categories. Imagine you’re a coach trying to empower someone with a simple conceptual framework. Then you throw this whopper upon your subject. The result is the antonym of empowerment, in my opinion.


TPaCK is the most widely used and practiced by me and the one I advocate the use of most. Why? It’s the “PRE & DURING” conceptual framework. Whenever you approach the planning stage of a new unit, this is when TPaCK should be posited.

This video is by far the best if you’re new to the framework — watch it now!

Here’s how I would explain it – simply. And add a little personal flavour:

CK – Content Knowledge: First, start with the content of your curriculum. Lines of inquiry, standards, etc. This is what drives the learning. This is the guided inquiry, the rigour, and more.

PK – Pedagogical Knowledge (that considers context and agency): This is where you and your team bring in your excellence in your craft, innovation and creativity to design an engaging unit WITH your learners – honouring their voices, prior knowledge and needs. Making sure the unit is personalized, rather than differentiated.

Also, this is where teachers are considering the context. For example, are your learners learning from home due to the pandemic? Is something currently happening in the world that would have an authentic fit in the unit?

TK – Technological Knowledge: This comes last on purpose. Never start with an edTech tool and try and make it fit into the curriculum and pedagogy.

Good pedagogy coupled with a rigorous curriculum that promotes guided inquiry and honours agency will reveal the edTech tools.

What I mean here, is thinking, as educators, with this question during the planning phase: “What are the variety of ways learners could demonstrate their understanding of this unit?” Spend time during the unit asking your learners the same question. Then think of robust tools or applications that could be used. For example, if the task is to create a mask in a visual arts unit that represents the cultural holiday of “Day of the Dead”, kids could use paper, canvas, Sketches School, Keynote, and, after asking your learners this question, even Minecraft.

TPaCK is the sweet spot – where all these concentric circles overlap.


Matthew Koehler, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons


This is a good reflection tool to look at how technology was (or will be) used and to reflect on ways to use it better.

Where SAMR falls short is misinterpreting the model in that all learning should be “redefined”.

Start small and dream big, especially when we’re trying to empower those adverse to embrace the purposeful integration of EdTech in their practice.

I like SAMR, but I don’t love it. Its aims are good, however.

Here’s a simple explanation, with some examples:

Substitution: Think of a worksheet and learners are just doing it online. Not the best example of purposeful use of edTech. However, if kids are learning from home and have no access to a printer, this is effective.

Augmentation: Now maybe the digital worksheet is adaptive based on responses. Meaning that the questions are a bit more unique to each user, personalizing the learning a little.

Modification: So instead of giving the learners questions on a worksheet, they could be collaboratively making their own questions, responding to a provocation like a video on a shared document.

Redefinition: After watching a provocation, learners can connect with another classroom across the globe, who are currently “living” what they are learning about. Perhaps it’s learning about how flooding impacts communities. A class in Louisiana could connect with a class in Bangladesh and compare and contrast, on one document together, whilst video conferencing, what flooding is like to them, respectively.

The SAMR Model
Lefflerd, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In case you need another SAMR explanation perspective, John Spencer does a great job in this two-minute video:

And now time for a bonus conceptual framework…


Okay, the acronym probably isn’t the most attractive, but this matrix, developed by Royce Kimmons (2020) that builds upon the RAT framework (Hughes, Thomas, & Scharber, 2006), is probably my new favourite conceptual framework.

Through global collaboration on the upcoming keynote on EdTech mentioned at the start of this post, I can thank my partner, Tim Evans, an educational technology coach, for introducing it to me.

This image is licensed under a CC BY 3.0 license by Dr. Royce Kimmons.

This video, on Kimmon’s website, is a great place for info, on this model, and more.

Put simply, Kimmon’s posits that, to use the matrix, teachers must ask themselves two questions:

  1. What is the technology use’s effect on practice?
    • Replacement
    • Amplification
    • Transformation
  2. What are the students doing with the technology?
    • Passive
    • Interacting
    • Creating

Therefore, creative transformation (CT) would be like SAMR’s, “Redefining”.

If you have the time, I’d suggest reading this excellent publication, which includes: An exhaustive breakdown of the matrix, analysis of other models (like those mentioned above) and where they fall short, as well as tons of concrete examples like the image posted below.

Kimmons, R., Graham, C., & West, R. (2020). The PICRAT model for technology integration in teacher preparationContemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 20(1).

Some leaving questions

  • What tends to guide your purposeful integration of edTech integration?
  • Which of the above models do you like best? Justify
  • What do you want to start trying based on what you’ve read above?

I leave you today with the sage wisdom of the great educator, author and leader, George Couros on educational technology (read his books).

Course 3 Summative Project | Global Collaboration

COETAIL course three’s summative task was to collaborate in a global group with my fellow cohort. I chose to collaborate with David Berg,  Danielle Richert, and Megan Vosk once again since our last experience as a group went along so swimmingly.

We could choose to design a unit of instruction or a professional learning experience for educators. Our group chose the former since we did the latter in a previous COETAIL project.

As a group, we decided on a social-emotional well-being unit (SEL) from a digital device perspective, since it was ever so topical to our time, particularly highlighted from the pandemic.

For curricular standards, we chose those from Common Sense Education for the SEL component and the ISTE Standards for Students for much of the rest.

The unit itself is six weeks long. Below is the overview, or map (adapted by yours truly from Slidesgo), of the unit which will be shared with all stakeholders, along with the GRASPS statement.

As for any unit, it’s also important to articulate the knowledge, understanding, questions and transferable skills that go beyond the unit.

In week four of the unit we designed, communicated in the road map above, students attend workshops learning about various media in which they could communicate their message for their summative task effectively.

Week four is what our group decided to focus on expanding our talents and skills on, as this related the most to our learning in course three of #COETAIL13.

I chose to design a workshop on creating persuasive posters using CARP design principles. You can explore the slide deck here.

Some COETAIL specific reflection questions…


How did you grow as a collaborator and facilitator during Course 3?

I think refinement and consolidation are the correct words to describe my growth here. Or working towards mastery?

Whether it be work or study, I’ve been doing this for years. Some of the most transformational growth in this area was when I was studying online for five years, globally collaborating with my cohort, in order to complete my Master’s in Educational Technology from the University of British Columbia (UBC-MET).

How was this final project similar to other learning experiences you have designed/facilitated?

These would be my top tips for effective global collaboration:

  • Create a backchannel for communication: We used a group Whatsapp, but Slack has been great for other globally collaborative groups I’ve worked in, too.
  • Use a global meeting time app. I used “Around the World” on Android this time around and it worked excellently. The below picture illustrates the convenience of finding times to meet when working with team members across the globe.
  • Have a video chat early to set essential agreements, pitch proposals, and when and how often to meet.
  • Frequent feedback loops amongst members.
  • Have a final video chat to wrap things up and discuss any final next steps

How does this final project relate to what you learned in Course 3?

This project encompasses much of the learning in regards to effective communication and consideration of audience learnt in course three.

When something learnt is asked to be taught,  it adds a whole new dimension of comprehension. The content needs to be well understood in order to synthesize it and communicate it effectively to a potential new audience.

This is an important notion to remember as an educator. Albert Einstein was on to something here…

What has influenced you the most in Course 3 and how is that reflected in your final project?

For me, it is the reminder that “less is more”, when it comes to communication, regardless of audience or medium.

Creative communication has a lot to do with simplicity, synthesis and the power of visuals.

Some final food for thought to ponder…

Would you rather…

  • watch a tutorial on Youtube, with the exact same concept taught, for 5 minutes or 10 minutes, given the reviews are equal?
  • read an essay of text or view an infographic, considering the content was similar?

Breaking the cycle

This week’s topic for COETAIL, course 3, was on diversity, equity, inclusion and justice (#DEIJ).

There were some great media to imbibe in, and yes, a protocol. The standout literature was Harro’s Cycle of Socialization.


Something that really stood out to me in Harro’s Cycle is the social and institutional indoctrination piece. We’re born curious and open-minded, yet our moral compass is shaped by those who raise us along with the social and cultural aspects of indoctrination.

Sadly, many humans on our planet remain ignorant, in their comfort zone, and in a “bubble”. This narrow-minded behaviour is almost predictably resilient to change.

Ignorance is not bliss, however.

I’m a white male from a middle-class upbringing. It is my utmost responsibility to check my privilege. ALL. THE. TIME!

Flipgrid: Our Sharing Tool

Using the Text Rendering Protocol (NSRF), my #COETAIL13 cohort and I responded to Harros’ text in Flipgrid, which was a very effective use of educational technology for this purpose. Check out the responses, here.

I really do love Flipgrid; been using it for years.

Here are some ways I’ve used it in my practice:

  • Showcasing writing
  • Book reviews
  • Feedback loops
  • Mentor introductions for PYPx
  • Visual Thinking Routine responses for any subject area, including workshops for staff

Indoctrination: Changing the educational piece

As educators, shaping and moulding the minds of tomorrow, here are some guiding questions and/or precepts:

  • What are we doing to unwrite the telling of history?
  • Are we asking the hard questions?
  • Are we advocating to be the change?
  • What are we willing to risk to step out of the cycle of ignorance?
  • If the institution that you work for won’t break the cycle, are you willing to disrupt it or leave it?
  • Are we making sure that we’re making wide professional learning networks to question our own perspective and ignorance (i.e. not tribally bubbling ourselves into only our current interests)?
  • Are we making sure to value all the diverse perspectives of those in our community, particularly with the media we subject our learners to?

DEIJ – Who are some leaders in this area?

I love the risk-takers who advocate and are extremely passionate about DEIJ.

This list could be quite exhaustive, but here are four standout people:

  • Darnell Fine: In international education, this human is doing remarkable things in education in regards to culturally responsive education surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion.


  • Liz Cho: Liz is an international school principal and has already run several presentations on this topic, particularly in regards to supporting change in leadership. Did you know she’s running a special #PubPDAsia strand this Tuesday on DEIJ through leadership?


  • Justin Garcia: Justin is a passionate advocate for the LGBTQ+ international teaching community and raising awareness around gender pronoun use in educational contexts.


  • Raoul Peck: Haitian activist/filmmaker/writer most likely known for his 2016 film, “I Am Not Your Negro“. His latest work, “Exterminate All The Brutes” challenges history and the way it is told. Peck tells the more accurate, yet utterly depressing, picture. Exterminate All the Brutes storytelling is so eloquently woven through Joseph Conrad’s, “Heart of Darkness“, with Josh Hartnett brilliantly playing the role of the colonizer. An absolute MUST watch!

Challenging perspective/privilege

This is a MUST, too!

In order to challenge and disrupt my social, cultural and institutional upbringing, I’m always reading and “collecting” resources on this topic.

Sharing is caring; here is my Wakelet on the topic of DEIJ.

If you have any great resources you could share, please do!