Friday, 11 October 2013

October 11, 2013 – Teaching Above the Line

Hello everyone,

This week while I was attending the last session of the UGDSB’s Bring IT In session, the SAMR model of technology integration was discussed and I thought I would spend a little time sharing what it is and how it can build your technology repertoire.

The SAMR model was first introduced by Dr. Ruben Puentedura and identifies different levels which technology integration can progress through as we become more adept at teaching and learning with different forms of technology.  It is especially helpful for teachers to use when reflecting on their own tech use as they begin to make small changes in how technology is utilized in their class and illustrates next steps for future implementation.

The first step in the process is substitution.  Here computers are used to perform the same tasks which would have been done in classrooms previously.  For example, students use a word processing program to type up a research project.  In this level there is not much of a significant impact on teaching and student learning; however it is a step in the right direction when beginning integration of technology.

Next comes augmentation and this involves slightly more planning and effort on behalf of the instructor.  In this phase technology can offer a more effective tool to perform common classroom tasks, such as using a Google form for taking a quiz or a virtual ‘sticky note wall’ as a parking lot for questions.  The technology is a direct substitution and as a result there can be immediate feedback on students’ level of understanding and student engagement increases.

This is the first step ‘over the line’ as they call it – where we move from enhancement to transformation.  In this level, the technology allows for significant redesign of parts of the task.   Some examples include students using Google docs to collaborate on an assignment using comments and share features and creating an audiovisual presentation for an authentic audience.  Here students are becoming increasingly more active in questioning and the lessons become student driven.  One drawback at this level, however is that without technology your lesson is not possible.

The final level is redefinition where technology allows for new tasks to be created which were once impossible to perform in the classroom.  Collaborating and connecting with other classrooms around the world via Skype or Google Docs is one example.  Here the student and teacher’s worlds are expanded far beyond the traditional classroom.

There are many great resources available to further your familiarity with the SAMR model.  I encourage you to examine your technology use and question how you can ‘bump it up’ to the next level to encourage student engagement and build on the student centered learning in your class.

Cheers and have a Happy Thanksgiving,

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