Breaking barriers: The strategic integration of technology and SETI for a sustainable tomorrow

What systems and supports do educators need to effectively integrate technology into education? How can technology be seamlessly integrated with the SETI Framework?

Technology is commonplace in all aspects of teaching and learning. For technology to be used effectively, careful consideration as to how it is integrated needs to happen. A common problem is that educators are given technologies with the belief that this is all that is needed for that technology to be used effectively in education.

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Frameworks in education, particularly those related to technology integration, serve as structured guides that help educators and administrators understand and implement technology more effectively. These frameworks are not just theoretical models; they are practical tools that offer a way to evaluate and plan technology usage in the classroom. They provide a lens through which educators can assess the alignment of technology with pedagogical goals and content requirements. This ensures that technology is not just an add-on but an integral part of the educational experience, tailored to the needs of both teachers and learners.

Integration frameworks

In the pursuit of effective technology use in education, two significant frameworks have emerged: the Technological, Pedagogical, Content Knowledge (TPACK) framework, developed by Mishra & Koehler in 2006, and the Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition (SAMR) model, introduced by Puentedura in 2009. TPACK emphasizes the fusion of content, pedagogy, and technology, highlighting the necessary knowledge educators must combine. Conversely, the SAMR framework encourages educators to evaluate whether technology enhances learning or merely replaces traditional methods.

Although valuable, these frameworks have faced criticism for not fully addressing the varied contexts of education and the numerous factors influencing the effectiveness of technology in teaching and learning. This gap has led to the development of the Social-Ecological Technology Integration (SETI) framework by Crompton in 2023, aiming to provide a more contextualized approach to technology integration in educational settings.

For educators to effectively integrate technology, they need more than technology. The SETI framework highlights the socio and ecological factors that need to be taken into account, such as training, tech support, and policies. It also recognises individual beliefs and national socio-cultural tech norms.

Helen Crompton

The SETI framework

The SETI framework, depicted in Figure 1, is an evolved version of Crompton’s 2017 model. It offers a comprehensive method for integrating technology in educational settings. This framework underscores the socio-ecological systems that impact educators, recognising the complex interplay of various elements. It is structured around concentric circles, each representing a different system influencing technology integration.

What systems and supports do educators need to effectively integrate technology into education? How can technology be seamlessly integrated with the SETI framework?
Figure 1. SETI framework
Credit. TechTrends

At the core of the framework is the educator, along with their personal beliefs and family culture. This central circle underlines the crucial influence of individual perspectives on the use of technology. Surrounding this, the microsystem covers the immediate environment of the school, focusing on aspects like technology access, training, and support. Expanding further, the exosystem encompasses the broader context of the school district. This includes the consideration of policies and funding dedicated to technology integration. The most extensive circle, the macrosystem, relates to national cultural norms, educational standards, and internet connectivity, reflecting the wider societal influences on technology use in education.

The Social-Ecological Technology Integration (SETI) framework is recognised as an essential tool for analyzing the socio-ecological environments of educators. It promotes a comprehensive view, encouraging all those in education to consider various elements beyond technology itself, such as training, support, and cultural norms. This framework underlines the concept that effective technology integration in education is a collaborative endeavor. It requires more than just the acquisition of technology; it involves concerted efforts in infrastructure and support systems. The SETI framework suggests a collective responsibility, extending beyond individual educators to encompass the wider educational community.

Educators and leaders in education are advised to use the SETI model as a means to scrutinize the socio-ecological aspects of their systems. This approach encourages a reevaluation of how technology integration is viewed, stressing the importance of a wider range of factors like support mechanisms, training opportunities, and policy frameworks. The various factors included in the framework, such as policies, training, and standards, serve to highlight many important areas to consider. However, it is not an exhaustive list, and each institution may wish to add any additional needs that should be considered, especially those directly connected to your institutional context.

For educators, SETI provides a reminder of what should be in place for them to integrate technology successfully. An educator may find this framework helpful in asking for support that may not yet be in place, such as training, technology support, and even policies. Furthermore, SETI also functions as an introspective tool for educators. It invites them to reflect on their perceptions of technology and to ensure they have the necessary backing for its effective integration into their teaching practices.

While the microsystem and exosystem are described as the school and district, the school may be a university, and the larger system or area surrounding the university. Educational institutions at all levels can use this framework as well as adult learning environments.


The SETI framework aims to advance technology integration in education. It complements existing frameworks by providing a socio-ecological perspective, recognizing the interconnectedness of various factors influencing technology use. The comprehensive nature of SETI encourages educational leaders and educators to consider not only the technological aspects but also the broader socio-cultural and ecological contexts to ensure effective technology integration.


Journal reference

Crompton, H., Chigona, A., & Burke, D. (2023). Teacher Resilience During COVID-19: Comparing Teachers’ Shift to Online Learning in South Africa and the United States. TechTrends, 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11528-022-00826-6

Dr. Helen Crompton is the Executive Director of the Research Institute for Digital Innovation in Learning (RIDIL) at ODUGlobal and Professor of Instructional Technology at Old Dominion University. She has published over 150 manuscripts on educational technology and is well recognized for her outstanding contributions, including a place on Stanford's list of the Top 2% of Scientists in the World. Dr. Crompton's expertise extends beyond academia to practice, as she frequently works with governments, and bilateral and multilateral organizations such as the United Nations and the World Bank, leveraging her knowledge and experience to drive meaningful change in the field of educational technology globally.

Dr. Diane Burke is a Senior Research Associate at ODU Global's Research Institute for Digital Innovation in Learning (RIDIL), located at Old Dominion University. With a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado and 40 years of experience in education, including as a Professor Emerita at Keuka College, NY, she brings extensive knowledge to her research.