When teachers are new to technology, where should they start? The SAMR model (or the OSAMR model) is a model for evaluating tasks when using technology. S: Substitution is when you use technology to do the same task. A: Augmentation is when technology has made some improvements (usually to workflow) but is still pretty much the same task. M: Modification is when you have modified the task to take advantage of technology. R: Redefinition is when technology allows you to do a task that before would have been impossible or nearly impossible.
Not a Ladder
I have heard some people say that SAMR is a ladder and you start a teacher new to technology with the S substitution level of the SAMR model. I disagree with this. SAMR is not something to climb, but rather just a rating system.
No matter what level of the SAMR model a teacher is being introduced to, there are new things they need to learn in order to accomplish it. You can learn the steps to substitute worksheets from being on paper to being online or you can learn the steps to learn a new task.
Your classroom should function differently when you introduce technology.
Learn Something New
While it seems easy to get started typing on a Google text document, this is not much different than what teachers are already used to. It takes effort and time well beyond the allotted professional development session for a teacher to start integrating technology. If technology use is not making for a BETTER learning environment, why do we bother? How is technology helping your students to be more independent, to collaborate, to be creative, to research (search), and to be critical thinkers? How can technology help you shift from a teacher centered learning environment to a more student centered one?
Learn a new task. One.
Do that task with your students. Then do it again. Then do it again. Then do it again. Get good at using it. Using technology requires new classroom management skills. Don’t get overwhelmed trying to do too much.
Here are some simple tasks that teachers new to tech can use to get started with using technology that go beyond substitution.
- Stop Giving Directions: Use Google Classroom, a classroom website or an LMS to post your directions. These can be straight text, short videos, infographics or images. Help students get in the habit of going straight to the website, finding the directions and getting to work. How does the learning environment change when students are not waiting for you to tell them what to do? What can you now do that you are not repeating yourself?
- Collaborative Google Slides: Once you are used to posting directions for students try having students use collaborative Google Slides. Instead of using Google Slides presentations to present information, use it to gather information from students. Do a collaborative Google Slides activity and then follow that up with a collaborative Google Slides activity and then after that do a collaborative Google Slides activity…
- Use collaborative Google Slides for your warm up
- Use collaborative Google Slides for formative assessment
- Use collaborative Google Slides to have students submit work
- Use collaborative Google Slides to have students use the webcam to insert snapshots of their work
- Use collaborative Google Slides to have students crowd source ideas
- Use collaborative Google Slides to have students do peer evaluation
- Use collaborative Google Slides to provide feedback to students
- Use collaborative Google Slides to do a class JigSaw activity
- Use collaborative Google Slides to present discussion starters and have students respond in the slides
- Try Kahoot: Once you’ve done so many collaborative Google Slides activities the students are screaming for you to do something else, check out Kahoot. Kahoot is an easy way to bring up student engagement and to collect data that you should use to change the direction of your lesson plan. It is a gamified activity that students participate in as a class.
Add an Activity
I started a crowd sourced spreadsheet to add activities that are NOT substitution, but are easy ways for teachers and students to get started with tech.
4 thoughts on “If You’re Going to Learn Something New…. Learn Something New”
I really like your addition of the “O” to SAMR. Too often technology is given to teachers and students without much direction on how best to use it and both teachers and students find themselves using the technology for technology’s sake. This is rarely helpful and usually poor pedagogy. There are countless ways to use technology well (as the blog post above clearly shows) and just as many ways to use it badly. Teachers should be aware of activities to avoid when constructing lessons that integrate technology in addition to having some direction on which activities enrich the lesson.
Thank you for sharing classroom activities for teachers. We’ve featured your article in Tekiota this week because it is full of practical advice for our staff!
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