1 Video Overview


1.1 What is TEL?

Technology enabled learning (TEL) includes using a wide range of technology to support learning. The key to TEL is that strong pedagogy leads the use of technology. Technology use will look different in every classroom and depend on access to devices, digital tools, specific student strengths and needs and teacher expertise.

Technology Integration Models

Currently, in Ontario, there are a number of technology integration models. Listed below are a few:

  • teacher has access to one laptop or other mobile device and to a computer lab or cart to sign out as needed for class

  • one device for every student (1:1) - a laptop or tablet that goes home with the student

  • one device for every student (1:1) - a laptop or tablet that gets used in the classroom only

  • a pod of devices in the classroom - maybe between 5 - 10 laptops or tablets to share in the class

  • bring your own device (byod) or bring your own technology (byot) initiatives that encourage students to bring their own mobile devices

  • bring your own device (byod) initiatives where students are asked to bring a laptop or tablet and those without devices are provided access to a school laptop or tablet

  • combination of any of the above

Types of Devices

There are many different types of devices that can be used in the classroom.




Handheld Student Devices

(iPods, phones)

- accessible, with students regularly

- quick to start (less wait time)

- go home with students

- quick media creation

- smaller screens

- not all websites and interactive material works

- best for quick, short activities

Tablets - iPads

- large choice of apps

- quick-to-start

- apps that allow you to write on screen

- quick media creation

- not all websites, interactive material works

- limited multi-tasking

- no keyboard

- can be difficult to get files created by students off iPads in a classroom environment

- often have to login and logout of each individual app if sharing devices

Tablets - Android

- large choice of apps

- quick-to-start

- apps that allow you to write on screen

- quick media creation

- not all websites, interactive material works

- limited multi-tasking

- no keyboard

- have to login and logout of cloud computing settings if sharing devices

Tablets - Windows

- quick-to-start

- apps that allow you to write on the screen

- quick media creation

- most websites work if screen size isn’t too small

- no keyboard

- less apps than other tablets (however, most websites work, so less are required)


- keyboards

- programs that can be installed, which many are used to using

- multi-tasking is easy (multiple programs open, for example when researching and writing)

- mouse

- can install specific programs that are unavailable on tablets for video editing, 3D design, animation, computer programming, games, etc.

- easy to share devices

- often (not always) more storage than a tablet

- can be slower to start

- can require upgrades and updates often

- less portable

- often have to import video and images from other mobile devices (could be difficult to take photos and video using webcam on a laptop)


*these are often in labs and are connected to school networks

- easy to share and login with credentials if set up as such in school or board

- can handle complex and large programs

- can be slower to start

- can require upgrades and updates often

- less portable

- often have to import video and images from other mobile devices (could be difficult to take photos and video using webcam on a laptop)

Chrome books

- quick-to-start

- small, portable

- easy to share if students have Google accounts

- intuitive to use like a laptop

- most websites work

- cannot install software on device - just a web browser, so while it works great for web-based activities there are things you do on a laptop that cannot be done on a chromebook

- cannot use all peripherals or devices that plug into laptops like wacom tablets

1.2 Why TEL?


Technology can be used by teachers and students in a variety of ways to support classroom learning. By focusing in on good learning and teaching practices and assessing how technology can support those practices, teachers can focus on effective use. Information about high-yield instructional strategies can be found on the LearnTeachLead site created by the Ontario Curriculum, Student Achievement Division.

For example, teachers can use technology to support specific high-yield, research-based instructional strategies such as;

  • differentiated instruction (using technology to provide access to multiple ways to learn concepts)

  • differentiated assessment (using technology to provide access to multiple ways to assess students)

  • timely descriptive feedback (using technology to help provide descriptive feedback as quickly as possible)

  • peer and self feedback

  • diagnostic assessments

  • student conferencing

  • accountable talk

  • gradual release of responsibility

Assessment for and as learning can be greatly facilitated and enhanced through the use of technology. Making it easier to document learning in ways other than the formal submission of a polished product, students can reflect on their own growth as part of the learning process. Technology can help teachers be innovative in how they meet the expectations for assessment detailed in Ministry of Education policies such as Growing Success: Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting in Ontario Schools.  

In a report written by Michael Fullan (2013), Special Advisor to the Premier of Ontario, titled Great to Excellent: Launching the Next Stage of Ontario’s Education Agenda, he describes the 6 C’s as the skills required for innovation and entrepreneurialism. Fullan (2013) states that the 6 C’s are also skills that parents and employers desire.

From the report (Fullan, 2013), the 6 C’s include;


Character education — honesty, self-regulation and responsibility, perseverance, empathy for contributing to the safety and benefit of others, self-confidence, personal health and well-being, career and life skills.

Citizenship — global knowledge, sensitivity to and respect for other cultures, active involvement in addressing issues of human and environmental sustainability.

Communication — communicate effectively orally, in writing and with a variety of digital tools; listening skills.

Critical thinking and problem solving — think critically to design and manage projects, solve problems, make effective decisions using a variety of digital tools and resources.

Collaboration — work in teams, learn from and contribute to the learning of others, social networking skills, empathy in working with diverse others.

Creativity and imagination — economic and social entrepreneurialism, considering and pursuing novel ideas, and leadership for action.



Video resources around how to develop the 6 C’s in Ontario classrooms can be found on the LearnTeachLead, Student Achievement Division Resources - K to 12 website.

To develop skills within the 6 C’s, technology integration is necessary. Technology does not need to be used every moment of every day, however, teachers benefit from practicing and developing the skill of selecting technologies that will help each student learn and develop skills supporting the 6 C’s. This may mean that different students are using different technologies at different times in class.



1.3 Frameworks

Frameworks for technology integration, are tools that can be used to help educators understand the place of technology enabled learning in the classroom and their own required learning within it. Below are a few different frameworks that can be considered.  


SAMR is a framework developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura to help bring awareness to educators of the different ways we use technology to support learning. OSAPAC, a committee who advises the Ministry of Education on acquiring provincial licenses for software and web-based digital tools, shares information and resources about the SAMR model. The video below is a two-minute overview of the framework.  


TPACK is a framework used to help educators understand what they need to know to teach effectively with technology. It highlights the importance of a teacher’s content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge and technological knowledge. The TPACK framework highlights the importance of finding balance in those knowledge areas and aiming for the intersection of all three.  More information about this model can be found at tpack.org .  

Image reproduced by permission of the publisher, © 2012 by tpack.org



The Technology Integration Matrix is designed to help teachers place themselves within the framework and gather ideas and examples of possible next steps in their development of using technology tools to effectively enhance learning for K-12 students.

The matrix combines levels of technology integration with characteristics of the learning environment. Each cell in the matrix contains a detailed description and then subject-specific examples in the form of a video with text supports. The matrix can be accessed at fcit.usf.edu/matrix/matrix.php .

ISTE Standards

The ISTE Standards are a set of international guidelines on the skills each stakeholder in education needs to develop in order to be successful in today’s world. There are standards for students, teachers, administrators, coaches and computer science educators. The ISTE Standards also include a set of 14 essential conditions that are required for effective technology integration. Some school boards in Ontario cite these standards in their technology integration policies.

1.4 Considerations

While using technology in the classroom to enhance student learning is very rewarding, there are things teachers need to consider before diving in. We often hear statements such as;

  • it’s not about the tool

  • teachers don’t need to know how to use the tools, students will figure them out

  • our students are “digital natives”

While these statements have truth in them, teachers ultimately DO need to understand how the tools work. Teachers are responsible for student safety and well being. While it may not be necessary for teachers to be experts on the fine details of all digital tools, a certain level of digital literacy and capability is essential. Teachers need to know how personal information may be used and shared using a digital tool. Or, how students may interact with others using the tool. This requires a shift in how educators prepare for class. Instead of spending time preparing and photocopying multiple pages for class, teachers may need to spend that time checking out a new digital tool for a classroom activity.

As teachers develop the skills required to quickly understand how digital tools work this task becomes much less cumbersome. This skill is the same as those of classroom management, assessment, etc. It can be developed and mastered over time. Starting with digital tools that have been vetted or approved by schools, boards and the province is a great way to start. Ultimately, teachers should work towards developing the skillset required to quickly assess a tool when students suggest a new tool to connect, collaborate, share or demonstrate understanding. Assessing digital tools for safety and appropriateness can be done by asking a series of questions including (but not limited to);

  • is there a school, board or provincially provided tool that accomplishes the same thing as this new tool
  • do students need to create an account? If so,
    • what is the age limit?
    • what personal information is being shared?
    • where is this personal information being stored?
    • do I have parental approval?
  • is the tool “more open” than your physical classroom? Will others beyond your class or school be able to interact with students and see their work? If so, special considerations need to be made.
  • do you have parent permission? Generally, this is required if any personal information (name, age, contact information, etc.) is going to be used, or if student work will be made public. Teachers should check school and board policies to ensure all requirements are met. If ever unsure, get parent permission.
  • will student work, creations or conversations be shared publically or privately? Who will be able to see student work?   
  • is there a commenting or social feature in the tool at all? If so,
    • is there the ability to “moderate” comments (control which ones show up)
    • who has control?
    • can it be turned off?

Privacy and Safety Online

Schools and school boards will have guidelines for the use of online digital tools. It is important that students and teachers have a thorough understanding of these guidelines and follow them.

Other guidelines to consider include;

Digital Literacy and Digital Citizenship

In the front pages of the Ontario Curriculum Documents, there is information on the use of Information and Communication Technologies. This information addresses digital safety and citizenship and makes it clear that every teacher is responsible for this.

Digital Literacy and Citizenship includes;

  • the ability to be safe and responsible online,

  • the ability to have balance and well-being in life,  

  • the ability to be a positive contributing member to online communities,

  • the ability to use digital resources effectively to support their own learning and well being

There are many educator resources already created and available online. Some of these resources include;

Equity and Access

During the transition to technology enabled learning environments teachers need to be cognizant of student access to devices and internet connections. A lack of access could impact student achievement. This is not new for teachers - it’s part of getting to know our students. The new part is finding creative solutions to a lack of access. Some solutions used by students and teachers in Ontario include;

  • group work in class

  • providing choice on learning activities

  • having extra device(s) in classrooms for student use

  • accessing free internet from places such as McDonalds and Tim Hortons

  • creating pods of devices available for student sign out

  • recycling old devices for basic access

1.5 Entry Points

Entry Points to Technology Enabled Learning

Finding an entry point into technology enabled learning can be complicated. Ideally, teachers will be part of collaborative inquiry cycles (teacher-led professional development) where technology is used to meet specific goals. In this manner teachers have access to a support system and resources to help them. These collaborative inquiry cycles may be focused on integrating or enhancing a new instructional strategy using technology to enhance it. They often combine some out of the classroom new learning with job-embedded implementation and practice. Teachers could choose to integrate co-teaching and observation into their learning cycle.

Other suggestions to support finding an entry point that works for the individual teacher includes:

  • take one inquiry that you would normally do in science and brainstorm ways to enhance through the use of technology. Could the use of technology help students develop skills for creativity? communication? collaboration? critical thinking? citizenship? character?

  • choose one learning management system (see section below for more information on learning management systems) to use with a class and develop the skills of digital file management while focusing in on facilitating effective online discussions among students. Help them develop the skills necessary for collaborating and communicating online to enhance their learning.

  • take one traditional assessment and collaborate with colleagues on how to enhance it using technology. Consider how you can make it more student-directed, differentiated, or how you can adapt it to develop skills such as creativity, communication, collaboration or critical thinking.

  • find one global collaborative project (see section below for more information on global collaborative projects) and have a class participate in it, developing the skills for communicating and collaborating with students from other areas of the world in addition to critical thinking and citizenship

Professional Learning Networks

An integral component of effectively supporting technology enabled learning environments is adapting to our ever-changing society and the digital tools available. To do this, teachers need to ensure they are self-directed lifelong learners. One way to do this is to have a strong professional learning network.  Some teachers do this by connecting with other educators using social media (Twitter, Google+, etc.). Others read educational blogs and comment on posts. Some teachers have strong face-to-face communities of teachers who share best practices and new ideas on a regular basis. Being connected to other educators and actively contributing to a community of learners does take time, but pays back in time and energy. Educators who are connected and learn with others online and face-to-face are able to easily support students in developing the skills required to do the same. The first step to becoming a “connected educator” often involves watching these communities work. For example, one may observe others share material and resources on Twitter or Google+. However, it is important to note that the true benefit comes from reciprocating and interacting in these communities. Sharing thoughts, ideas and materials. Having others agree or challenge your thoughts and ideas is an important part of learning.