The Technology Integration Matrix

Cheesecake_Factory_MenuHave you ever been to the Cheesecake Factory? The Cheesecake Factory has this extensive menu that is literally pages and pages long, you have to flip through it like a novel. First you find something you might want to have for dinner, but then you keep flipping through the menu and find something else you might want—an appetizer, perhaps, or a completely different entrée—and then you feel overwhelmed and doubtful. Well, The Technology Integration Matrix is just like that Cheesecake Factory menu; the problem is too many delicious options.

I found myself most drawn to the Constructive approaches, especially having students create their own mini-movies and podcasts. These two projects in particular require not only creativity and critical thinking, but also technical aspects, not to mention the time management skills that such projects demand of students. Making a movie requires a HUGE amount of planning and is inherently differentiated: researching, script writing, costume designing, filming and staging, acting and directing, and editing (Solomon, 2010, p.115). Anyone who has ever edited film know that it’s a major project in itself, and one that a precise, detail orientated student would excel at. In this project, the artsy students and the technical students can contribute equally, and the apathetic ones can help crack a few jokes in the script or find items of clothing for costumes (and hopefully get more inspired while being involved in the process). Although this type of project would also require lots of instruction and step-by-step scaffolding, this is one of those big projects that is really worth the effort—finalized videos can be posted on YouTube or Vimeo, and you never know what can go viral.

The Technology Integration Matrix is filled with many other creative usages of technology besides making a movie, I found little ideas all over the place, but there were a few that I felt were uninspired. Although I think educational games are a wonderful tool, I did not need The Matrix to tell me about them. In several videos, students are playing a phonics game on; games like these serve as great rewards for students who have finished their work early and have ten extra minutes at the end of class, but I would never use them as an instructional tool. To me, games like these are purposed for review and positive reinforcement.

Unfortunately, as seen in my field experiences, these games are the most frequently used of all these technological tools. Especially at the middle school level and below, students fall comatose and silent at the sight of these games, which explains why they are implemented so often. At the high school level, technology allows boring instruction and assessment occur more quickly and paperlessly. Recently I subbed for two different marketing classes at two different schools, on each occasion students were taking online multiple choice tests. Once the students finished taking their tests, they would play games or find sneaky ways to check their Facebook online. So instead of using technology creatively and exploring its vast array of usages, it seems to me that it most often used as a convenience. It’s like going to the Cheesecake Factory, looking through that vast and exciting menu, and ordering a plain ol’ burger. How boring.



Solomon, G., & Schrum, L. (2010). Web 2.0: how-to for educators. Washington, D.C.:    International Society for Technology in Education.

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