Digital Doors was created as a place for me to blog and share resources that I think would be helpful for teachers integrating technology in meaningful ways in their classroom. My goal would be to write a blog post a week, but with my busy schedule, that doesn't happen. I write when I can and rely on nifty tools to help me share what I am finding when I don't have time to write.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

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When Resources are Sparse, Think Redefinition

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Yesterday I had the opportunity to send out notifications to another round of Early Tech Adoption Team Grant recipients. It is fun to see the responses of those who have received the grant and really hard for me to send the messages to those teams who will need to continue to wait. Due to the nature of the levy, money rolls in over a three year time frame and not all at once. Thus the need for a roll out model and the reality that some teams will have to wait longer that they would like. For this levy we chose an Early Tech Adoption model that encourages those who are ready, to make a plan, participate in team directed professional development and share their experiences with others. It is our hope that with this model, when teams receive their technology, they will already have a plan in place and be ready to start learning and then sharing with others. By the end of this year, we will have placed 28 mobile carts with teams across the district. That is 840 student devices! And the response so far... MORE!!!! We need MORE and we need it NOW! Once teachers get a taste of what can happen when students have more ubiquitous access to devices, they really have a hard time with the idea of sharing one cart with a whole team of teachers. The uses of technology changes when students and teachers have regular access to student devices. So as exciting as it is to roll out these carts and build more and more access for our students, it is also important to note that even though the district is moving in the right direction at speedy and steady pace, we still are in a relative desert to what could actually be utilized for our students. So, with that in mind, we need to be mindful of making the best use of these valuable resources. Sure, there are many great, engaging and in some cases, time saving ways that we can use these devices in our classrooms, but with the resources being limited, it is valuable to plan to use technology that allows you to do things you could not do without the technology. Dr. Ruben Puentedura has developed a model to help teachers identify effective and transformative uses of technology in the classroom.   The SAMR model divides activities into four categories with Substitution being the most basic (and the one most often seen in classrooms,) and Redefinition being the most transformative.  With redefinition, the lessons you design uses technology in a way that allows you to do something you could not do without the use of technology.  Take a look at this video to learn more about the SAMR model.

It is important to note that teaching "below the dotted line"  is not a bad thing.  It is a progression. The SAMR model is a great tool for reflecting on lessons and planning new activities.  Where do your activities fit?  If they all seem to be Substitution and Augmentation, try stretching your thinking and redesigning the lesson with the capabilities of the tech in mind. What more can you do now that you have technology?

"Technology is not a panacea. Not all technology is good for pedagogy. And great pedagogy can and will exist without technology. We have, however, greatly miscast and underutilized technology’s power. When we enlist technology in the service of exploratory learning for all, watch out! On the other hand, if we plod along with standards and assessment using technology only as a prop, we will get what we deserve: a higher level of tedium.” Michael Fullan “Stratosphere: Integrating technology, pedagogy, and change knowledge.” p. 78

And for those of you who are interested in learning more about how to use technology in ways that goes beyond just substitution, I have a Cloud Academy Class just for you. Pin It Now!

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