Thursday, February 2, 2012

The SAMR Model: Technology Transformation

As we move toward a 1-1 environment, I'm having trouble describing our goals to some friends and family members. The general response is sometimes, "Oh, so you're going to use iPads instead of textbooks, huh? That should makes the kids' backpacks a lot lighter!"

Then I try to describe the difference between a Chromebook and an iPad, and the fact that we felt students could produce more and collaborate better with the Chromebook.  That's when I get the same glazed over look, and they usually say something like, "Yeah. My textbooks were really heavy in high school. I could have really used an iPad. That's so cool that you're doing that."

And then I usually smile and say something about the weather. 

Nothing against iPads. They meet many schools' needs just fine, but we are are looking for a different dynamic at Leyden.  I love this model. It's called the SAMR model, and it's an acronym for a continuum of the level of technology integration in one's teaching.

S- Substitution. (Maybe...putting the classroom worksheets or handouts on the web for students to print, or using a static online textbook to make students' backpacks lighter)
A- Augmentation (An online quiz, perhaps? Maybe it's students typing out a paper on Google Docs, without collaboration)
M- Modification (Perhaps using Poll Everywhere in class for immediate feedback and to spark discussion, or students and teachers editing each others' work in real time)
R- Redefinition (Now we're talking. Think about students creating an entirely different kind of projects, choosing their own tools, collaborating electronically synchronously or asynchronously, and reaching out to experts beyond the school walls).

My categorization of all of these examples is highly debatable, and I'm sure there are far better examples out there. 

Maybe enhancing lessons ("Substitution" and "Augmentation") are where some of us start,  and that's OK.  But we should always keep an eye toward transformative uses of technology ("Modification" and "Redefinition"). That's where we'll get the bang for our buck. 

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