Classroom Activities / Professional Development

What’s the Difference Between “Using Technology” and “Technology Integration”?

Recently, I’ve been noticing that a lot of instructors are under the impression that they are successfully integrating technology, when in fact they are simply using technology. Although this might seem to some as just semantics, in my opinion there is a huge difference between the two – a difference that can be seen in the impact the technology usage has on student learning.

In an effort to better delineate between “using technology” and “technology integration,” I created the chart below to that highlights what I believe are the key differences. Let me know what you think!

Tech Use Vs. Tech Integration


119 thoughts on “What’s the Difference Between “Using Technology” and “Technology Integration”?

  1. Great chart. I recently finished a grad course in technology integration, where we discussed these points.

    • It is a great chart; however, a better chart would be what technology integration means on one side and what technology integration looks like (with real classroom applications) on the other side. As it is, I only see Loser on one side and Clueless on the other side. (I would be speaking of myself, of course.)

      • That’s a great suggestion for a future chart Deb, thanks for sharing. The only issue is that technology integration is so dependent on individual classroom curriculum, that making a chart that is applicable to the masses would prove challenging.

      • I think you’re right on the money, though I would consider it an “additional” chart, rather than a “better” one — i believe both charts are needed.

        Addressing Aditi’s issue of tech integration being “dependent on individual . . . curriculum,” there are many concepts that are common to all curriculums — even when you look at education globally. Every culture (that has access to technology) teaches written communication/composition, math (from basic to at least algebra and geometry), history, and sciences. Considering that the audience for such a chart consists of teachers with a rudimentary understanding of what they are doing with technology, the examples do not need to be specific, but rather general with discernible adaptability and explicit, far-reaching relevance.

        In other words . . . keep it simple; trust the real educators to think it through and apply the concept.

    • I think the first three aspects are very clear, even I would not consider them “using technology” on regular basis because lack of planning. The 4th and the 11th ones I see more as a sequence because first the teacher has to engage students (and technology is a great tool to do so) and then he (she) has anyway to instruct students at the very end; using technology is not a goal by itself, but a way to deliver instruction, encourage learning and giving them more control over their own learning. In my classroom we have few computers and an interactive board and they have become important learning tools for the students; they are highly engaged and doing things in a more proficient way while also interacting one another and becoming more confident. Anyway we have still a long way to go before fully integrating technology into the learning process, and in my opinion there always is a risk that we will rely too much on technology.

  2. This is a really great chart! We often are ‘tool’ and ‘teacher’ focused when it comes to educational technology. You did a great job of highlighting how technology should be used to enhance the student’s experience in class. The integration should be seamless for teachers who have a student-centered mindset.

    Perfect chart to share with schools going 1:1!

    • I agree that the charts realy outlines the difference between using technology in the classroom and intergrating technology in the classroom. I like the point that technology needs to be planned and purposeful. I also like the part of the article that using technology helps to develope new thinking specially higher order thinking. I believe that when students are engaged , there is less likely to be desciplinary problems in the classroom.

  3. Great chart. I was involved in an iPad program for a year and I attempted to use the mentioned values. I was most impressive to see the students excel, find alternatives that I as an educator wouldn’t think of. My conclusion from the iPad trial was do not fear technology and allow students to explore within boundaries.

    • Thanks Peter! Often times our students are more adept with using technology than we are – and I myself am always impressed by their ability to problem-solve on these devices🙂

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  6. I totally agree with and love the chart. I would include one more line. Use -replaces traditional learning methods. Integration- creates new learning opportunities previously unavailable.

    • Thanks Michael – and that’s definitely a great point of comparison between the two.

  7. This is brilliant, have shared it with all of my schools in the UAE! At Maths-Whizz we always promote within our school leadership that ‘Technology isn’t enough’; it takes deliberate and meaningful integration to raise attainment/learning standards through the use of technology based innovations. It’s surprising the number of schools who constantly insist on abdicating the responsibility of success to the technology itself, when ultimately they are in control of what the outcome will be. Thanks for sharing Aditi!

    • Well said, Liam! Thanks for sharing and passing it along. I absolutely agree, the responsibility to provide our students with meaningful instruction is in the hands of the teachers who implement the technology, not the technology itself.

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  11. interesting comparison. This chart could be interactive in order to let teachers/educators/researchers/ add samples in each of its boxes. Thank you Aditi. Carole

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  13. A good resource! Thanks
    A proposal : instead of “Technology is using to construct & build knowlege”, “Technology is using to transform information, and to construct & build knowlege”
    I translated it into portuguese, and would like you to see the text and approve its publishing in my blog ALFINete and through Facebook. Let me know how could I send it to you by email

    • Hi Maria, great feedback thanks🙂 you can contact me through the Contact page on the top menu.

      • I believe I use technology most to the most to stimulate the affective domain and enhance the learning experience.

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  40. My principal and I are interested printing your chart for all of our teachers, with proper credit of course. Any objections? We are very strict with our students concerning copyright so we want to obtain proper permission. You may email me at if you prefer.

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  42. I agree… using technology and actually integrating technology are two different things.

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  44. Thanks for making me understand the difference. I’ll pass it along in my school because we are planning to implement technology based instruction.

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  54. This is such a great easy chart – I’d call the right column ‘good pedagogical use of technology’ and the left column ‘ technology without a pedagogical purpose’ – because in my mind the technology can be integrated but still not provide a more effective pedagogical environment. Just a suggestion to what is otherwise very helpful and clear!

  55. Good chart to begin a conversation, but the takeaway seems to be one is bad and the other (integration) is good. I would have liked brief examples of each and some support as to why one is ‘better’ than the other.

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  59. I use quite a bit of technology in my classroom, seeing the difference in integrating and simply using technology is pretty enlightening though. I have discovered that my students retain the information taught if there are interactive activities that accompany the learning experience. In my classroom, we are currently using a HATCH board and my classroom is already highly accommodated. This interactive smart board allows me to create a learning environment for my students that ties the curriculum in with technology which gets my students extremely engaged and excited about learning.

    • I agree with you, especially for my little ones (Pre-K) technology get the kids really engaged, they love it and it’s a “hands on” activity. We use in all areas of the curriculum.

  60. I am looking forward to utilizing technology as a teaching tool rather than just a tool to teach.

  61. I really liked this chart because it gave me a clearer understanding of the differences. What I had in mind for each was true.

  62. I really enjoyed this chart, I did my own checklist about and I am very good on it cause most of my point show that I am integrating technology most of the time.

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  83. Aditi – I googled technology application vs. technology integration to decide which thread to pick for a proposal for TCEA and up popped your blog post. Nice, concise chart. You go girl!
    P.S. I picked Technology Integration…

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  87. The chart is useful for answering the question comparing what we may have thought was use of technology and what we are to be moving towards in integrating

  88. Technology integration involves strategically utilizing technology to promote student engagement and creative thinking. Technology is essential to the lesson in integration as opposed to being solely used as a lower order tool.

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