As we encounter more and more cool technology tools it is easy to start using technology simply because it's something different. While it is important to give yourself permission to take technology risks, it is equally important to reflect on the effectiveness of the tool so it can be intentionally implemented in the future.
As we started the year, the accessibility to #Project Empower devices ALL THE TIME was a novelty. I loved it. My students loved it. It seemed like we were exploring new digital territory on a daily bases. As the novelty faded, it became easy to rely on technology for technology's sake. While the Chromebooks have helped save several trees, made me a more organized teacher, and served as a motivator for many students, I struggled to use them to redefine the way I had been doing instruction. How did technology make the assignment, learning, or instruction better? With this in mind, I shifted gears and started to focus on what I learned about the effectiveness of my technology integration attempts. As I reflect more, I find I am able to plan to use technology in my instruction with greater intention.
It's SAMR Time...
Top Left: SUBSTITUTION - Students record discussion question answers digitally. Top Right: AUGMENTATION- Students plan and take pictures to represent stanzas the summary of a stanza. Bottom Left: MODIFICATION- Students review for a vocabulary test by playing competitively on Quizlet.Live. Bottom Right: REDEFINITION- Students write a collaborative narrative script recreating the events of a news article.
SAMR Model Example: One tech tool I tested out this month was EdPuzzle. After our last training session, I was excited about the possibilities and thought I would test it out. In the third quarter, we usually work on a research project. Last year we taught classes about topics such as how to cite a source in a bibliography and how to write a strong research question. As we began our research project this year, I used EdPuzzle to take the same lessons, flip the content, and use the data from student answers to provide individual feedback. All of this took less time and was definitely more engaging for students. While there are still gaps in this instruction, it definitely modified the same assignment, individualized it, and accelerated the process.
One of the reasons I find the SAMR model preferable when planning is because the complexity of the task seems to naturally correlate with Bloom's Taxonomy and DOK. As we work to increase depth of knowledge, the SAMR model lends itself to this for both teacher implementation and complexity of student thinking.
One of the challenges I have experienced with technology has been technology etiquette in the classroom. When is it appropriate to check email? When should screens be open or closed? How will students know when to stop touching the device and turn and look at the teacher for instruction? I want every student to be able to use technology to better access his or her education, however, I also want them to continue to learn with technology and not be distracted by it. I will admit, there have been days when I wanted a program or policy to limit what a student could access, monitor all student screens simultaneously, or remove a device from a learning space. The challenge of this becomes what exactly does a student need to be taught in order to use the device responsibly and effectively?
Being a visual learner, I constantly look for visuals to help me better understand topics. I was searching Pinterest for additional SAMR model visuals and stumbled upon the image below. I found it very interesting and thought I would share as it led me to a bit of a paradigm shift. It made me start to think about how we meet student's basic needs with technology. While some students come in ready to leap to the "Social Activism" peak of the pyramid, I have several students who are in the "Physiological Needs" part of the pyramid. So how does getting them access to technology decrease the equity gap and help meet the individual student needs? I don't know, but I am curious investigating this further...
Additional Tech Visuals
I also found some of the images below very helpful as I thought about how, why, and when I integrate technology in the classroom.