Thursday, December 17, 2015

Why Not Us? - Part 2: Baby Steps

"Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end."

I think we can all agree that children today are growing up in a world that is vastly different than the world we grew up in. The amount of technology and information available to them is unprecedented. At the same time, your average classroom has changed very little. Students are still given the same worksheets and expected to complete assignments in virtually the same way as was done 20 years ago. How can we move our classrooms closer to a 21st-century learning environment? What steps do we take to adjust our teaching to include the technology around us? To answer baby step at a time.

In the world of technology education, there is an acronym to describe the level at which technology is being used in classrooms. This model, known as the SAMR model, defines the level at which the technology is being used and aids teachers in transforming their instruction to include technology that continually pushes forward to higher levels. Dr. Ruben Puentedura ( is the researcher who is credited with this model.

Ruben R. Puentedura, As We May Teach: Educational Technology, From Theory Into Practice. (2009)

Using these four levels, we can move from merely using technology to directly replace tasks accomplished with older technologies to using technologies to transform how we connect learning to the learners.

Here is a 5-minute video that does a good job explaining the model and why it is important to our instructional practices. This video was found on Kathy Schrock's website,

Take the humble overhead projector as an example. Invented in the late 1800's it was first used in police and military work. In the 1950's, when they were first used widely in education, the overhead projector allowed instructors to meaningfully change their instructional techniques. Flash forward 65 years, and these basic projectors have now been replaced with expensive projectors and cameras. Unfortunately, many still only use these expensive replacements as glorified overhead projectors. We are stuck in the substitution/augmentation phases of the SAMR model. What can we do move forward and improve our instructional practices using this technology?

In part three of this series, I am going to show you ways you can better utilize the technology in your rooms and improve your technological teaching practices. 

1 comment:

Amanda Gauvin said...

This is exactly why I keep telling Jaime that I see the most important aspect of adding to our classroom technology getting us closer to a 1:1 computer student ratio. I would love to do more computer based projects for students where they can do some of those "new tasks" in the higher levels of that model, but it's impossible (well not impossible, but significantly more challenging) when the whole grade level is sharing one cart of chromebooks and you never have access to the whole set at once. It means either constant borrowing from each other, or doing the project with small groups at a time.

But I definitely want to be creative and try to incorporate these into the classroom more.