In this day and age, thanks to the pandemic, teachers are using technology tools more than ever. The use of technology is a great way of enhancing our classrooms and having a 21-century approach to learning. Over the past two years, as I and my colleagues shift our teaching, I begin to wonder where each of the technologies lands on the SAMR model. Have I moved my technology integration in a way that is productive? Am I using this time to blow up my teaching to give less content and focus on what students need to learn?
The SAMR model of technology integration was designed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura. The idea of the teachers looking at using common terminology when using technology. The key is to always ask two questions as an educator: How do you want to use technology and what is the purpose (Ruben, n.d). Students shouldn’t be using technology just to do technology but it should enhance the learning (Reben, n.d).
Below is an image of the levels of the SAMR Model.
With Project-Based Learning (PBL), I can see the use of all levels throughout the entire project that is being designed. The use of the model should not be looking like a “mountain to climb” but thinking of how to utilize the range of the technology (Tereda, 2020). I look back at the first PBL I created for 8th-grade Computer Science Class. The students had to design Educational Math video games through the use of Scratch. This PBL was created literally on the fly. I used videos for learning Scratch (Substitution), discussion boards when we had questions (Augmentation) and they designed the games through Programming (Modification). You can read about my journey on my old blog. (You have to start with the oldest blog posts as this project started my blogging adventures)
Now, I think about how PBL students can use Substitution to get information via web searches and keeping notes through Google Keep. Students can document the journey through PBL that can be done through blogs. This would be an Augmentation as posting online would allow comments from others when questions arose. I can also see the Redefinition that might happen in a final project where students are creating apps, or prototypes that help answer the questions involved, these could not be done without the technology.
I can see the use of Makerspaces in the PBL, especially with the end product. A Makerspace can allow other tools such as 3D printers, sewing machines, laser cutters, electronics into the products. I also see providing students with a variety of technology tools that can help them create their final project provides students a chance to make a choice in their own learning. The idea of a PBL is to be open so that students can choose how they tackle the questions and products. Looking at the SAMR model, aim to have these products end at Modification and Redefinition. When students and I collaborate on what they want to complete as their end result, I always assure my guidance is to these two levels. This involves a series of conversations to ensure that the students are actively engaged in making decisions along the way to further enhance their own understanding. Students choose what tools or the software they need for their final products.
How does this relate to the teaching of the past two years? I have reflected on my integration through the use of SAMR. I have adapted to a flipped classroom, recording lectures for students. I have utilized Google Apps for Education to make lots of substitutions with Slides, Docs, Meets, and Keep. I have demoed Edulastic as a substitute for regular assessments. I have conferences with my students in small groups and 1:1 to check in with the use of technology and how they are adapting. I have students create projects to demonstrate their knowledge of the material where students can choose the theme of the interactive animations, they design their own video games, and look at ways to adapt new technology for other uses.
I have also begun to look at what the students really need to know and focus on the core concepts. I don’t do a project to have one completed but so that the concepts can be better solidified for my students. I have begun to design more PBL activities for my classes to make them more student-centered. Finally, I aim to have my integration utilize multiple levels to ensure the best education for my students.
Lefflerd. (2016, April 3).The SAMR model [Image]. Wikimedia Commons. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_SAMR_Model.jpg
Ruben Puendedura on Impact of the SAMR model [Video].(n.d.). Common Sense Media. https://www.commonsense.org/education/videos/ruben-puentedura-on-the-impact-of-the-samr-model?page=1
Terada, Y. (2020, May 4). A powerful model for understanding good tech integration. Edutopia. https://www.edutopia.org/article/powerful-model-understanding-good-tech-integration