The ASSURE project rubric can be found here.

INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY INTO THE CURRICULUM

Most teachers understand that integrating technology into the curriculum is the best way to make a positive difference in education. While many specific strategies can be used to add technology to the mix, the following model is one example of how to integrate technology into your future lessons.

The ASSURE model was developed by Heinich, Molenda, Russell, Smaldino (1999) and is an instructional model for planning a lesson and the technology that will enhance it. The ASSURE model contains six steps and the letters in ASSURE form an acronym. The “A” stands for Analyze the learner. Who are your students? While this seems to be common sense, the step is important to mention because keeping your students in mind will help ensure that you work diligently to find those materials and resources that will be most appropriate and useful to your students. You should know who your students are (e. g. , demographics, prior knowledge, learning styles, academic abilities) on a multitude of levels, and use this knowledge in every lesson you plan.

The first “S” stands for State objectives. You will have a curriculum to teach in your classroom, with specific objectives that will become the focus of individual lessons. What are these objectives? What should be the outcomes of the lessons that your students will know or learn? Each lesson will probably be tied to curricular objectives and this step reminds you to keep these objectives as the focus of the student learning.

The second “S” is Select media and materials. When choosing the media and materials to help you teach a lesson, you will first choose a method for delivering your instruction. For example, you might decide that having your students work in small cooperative groups is most appropriate, or you might determine that a lesson is best taught using a tutorial. You then select the media that best supplements or enhances the method of teaching you have chosen. The media could include technology solutions (e. g. , CD-ROMs, DVDs, calculators, software, Internet resources, videos); print resources, such as a textbook; or any combination of the various media types. You will have to decide which materials and media can best help your students master the learning objectives you have identified.

The “U” stands for Utilize media and materials. In the last step you identified specific media and materials to help meet your learning objectives. In this step, the lesson is actually taught and the media and materials get implemented. This is also the step that should have a backup plan in place. Technology solutions can break down, so an alternative solution should be available. For this reason, a teacher should always test the media first, to help prevent disappointment. In other words, make sure you have tried the software or device to ensure that it is age appropriate, grade appropriate, usable, and valid for the lesson and objectives being taught. Evaluating the media will also raise any red flags (e. g. , is any training going to be required? Is an extension cord going to be necessary?).

The “R” stands for Require learner participation. Your students are going find learning more meaningful when they are actively involved in the learning process and not sitting there passively. Are there strategies you can use to get your students practicing? Thinking? Solving? Creating? Developing? Analyzing? More often than not, a lecture is not going to allow your students to move beyond passive learning. On the other hand, integrating technology into a lesson almost necessitates that you use a teaching method beyond lecturing. How can you best facilitate the learning process?

Finally, the “E” stands for Evaluate and revise. This is one of the most important steps, but is often overlooked. Becoming a good teacher requires that you constantly evaluate your own teaching, evaluate the student learning, and make needed revisions for the next lesson and for the next time you teach the current lesson. Always striving to improve is the first step to becoming a better teacher. Evaluation occurs when you determine the worth of your teaching methods and the media you used. During the evaluation stage, you should ask yourself questions such as, “Did this lesson meet the objectives?” “Did students gain from this lesson?” “Can this lesson be improved?” “How so?” “Could individual work or group work have been more effective for parts of this lesson?” “Was the media appropriate?” “Are there other technology solutions that might have worked better?” While this is not a comprehensive list of questions, this should provide you with some direction for the evaluation stage. You might also ask students to reflect on their learning and the experience they had in the lesson. Perhaps your students will have feedback that could help you to improve the lesson for next time, or feedback that could help you improve future lessons for them. Having things go wrong does not make a teacher a bad teacher. However, failing to take corrective and preventative actions for the future is bad teaching.

The ASSURE model is just one strategy to effectively integrate technology into curriculum. Some teachers will create an ASSURE poster to help them remember the steps of the model. As you become a more experienced teacher, you will probably find that the steps in the ASSURE model are second nature and that will lead to better teaching. As you revise lessons from year to year, remember to keep in mind new and emerging technologies that might be more effective.