In my new role as a Director of Instructional Technology, I hear the words “technology integration” a lot. I’ve been thinking about what that specifically means. Yes, it has to do with making sure that our technology tools are being used in classrooms, but the key word that needs clear defining for me is integration. Is it just students using the technology throughout their day to access a Google doc, a curriculum source, or an app? Or is it more than that?
I’ve found that everyone has a slightly different interpretation of the term technology integration. Some see it as students picking up a computer and working on a collaborative document with others. Some see it as students using a device to create a presentation as an option to show learning. Some see it as a way to access online information. All of these are examples of technology being integrated into a student’s day of learning, but for me, true technology integration leads us to musical swings.
Musical Swings is an art installation currently being showcased in downtown San Jose, CA. The unique blend of technology, creativity, and joy converges to create an impactful and emotional experience for any user that happens to wander by. The musical sound as the swings move creates a peaceful and calming environment. Intermixed with the chiming is the happy sound of children and adults playing. People are smiling, asking curious questions, and experimenting to get different sounds. Total strangers are collaborating to see what will happen if they swing in unison or apart. Yes, they are marveling at the technology, but most importantly they are sharing an experience created by the technology. The distinctive music interspersed with the laughter of little ones followed us out of the park as we left and I thought, “There it is. A magical moment of true technology integration.”
I know that most days in the classroom, technology integrates as a useful tool that allows students to access information, organize their work, and present their learning. But what if the technology truly disappeared into the learning experience and took up the supporting role it is meant for? What if their learning produced musical swings?