A Powerful Model for Understanding Good Tech Integration
Not surprisingly, technology isn’t the most significant impediment to online education. Education technology is sought after by instructors because, according to a 2016 study, it “may have large positive impacts on student performance,” such as raising test scores and allowing teachers to analyse student accomplishment more effectively. The major challenge is figuring out how to include it: The same researchers found that, in addition to a lack of suitable professional development and training, the most significant barrier to using technology efficiently in the classroom was “inadequate professional development and training.”
As is understandable, the appearance of the coronavirus has significantly hastened the process of integrating educational technology, as educators across the country scramble to get online as quickly as they can. The current condition of K-12 online learning, as many of our teachers have pointed out, resembles triage, which is a type of crisis management, and not at all what one would expect from expertly managed remote education.
A focus on the larger question of what high-quality technology integration actually looks like is missing from the conversation right now, which makes sense given the urgency with which the need must be addressed. That’s an important discussion to have because, in a post-coronavirus future, there’s likely to be a larger emphasis on digital learning, even as we return to physical schools and make use of face-to-face learning possibilities, which is something we should discuss.
A HIERARCHY OF TECH USES
The SAMR model, developed in 2010 by education researcher Ruben Puentedura, who was also the recipient of a Phi Beta Kappa teaching award in 1991, is a powerful conceptual framework for thinking about technology integration—and the optimum applications of educational technology—in the classroom.
The SAMR model divides online learning into four tiers, which are given roughly in order of their sophistication and transformative power: substitution, augmentation, modification, and redefinition. The SAMR model divides online learning into four tiers. In the process of transitioning to an online format, teachers frequently concentrate on the first two levels, which involve replacing traditional materials with digital ones. For example, teachers may convert lessons and worksheets into PDFs and post them online, or they may record lectures on video and make them available for asynchronous learning.
Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition (SAMR) are acronyms that stand for Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition.
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Education professionals can use the SAMR model to assist them to think about the role of technology in aiding learning.
Even while those are critical steps, particularly when teaching online for the first time, the latter two levels of the SAMR model—modification and redefinition—should also be considered in classrooms where technology integration has advanced to the mastery level. This type of mastery is included in the curriculum of classes where students discover increasingly novel and engaging applications for the technology. Their work includes, for example, creating and publishing original material across a variety of mediums; inviting professionals to provide input on their work products; and participating in digital forums with peers from all over the world, to name a few examples.
It’s easy to conceive of SAMR as a mountain that needs to be climbed to the top. Nonetheless, effective technology integration does not necessitate living at the top of the SAMR model; rather, it necessitates being aware of a variety of possibilities and selecting the most appropriate method or strategies for the lesson at hand.
Here’s a closer look at appropriate classroom practises at each level in the model:
“Substitution” refers to the act of substituting digital copies of traditional activities and resources, such as in-class lectures or paper worksheets, for their analogue counterparts. There is no significant change to the content; only how it is delivered has changed.
Everything should be kept simple because there’s no need to reinvent the wheel in this case. Using Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, or a comparable file-sharing site, scan your lessons and worksheets and upload them to the internet as PDF documents. Consider the material you currently have up on your walls, such as classroom norms, a daily calendar, or vocabulary lists, and consider converting it into digital formats that students can quickly access.
It may also be beneficial to deliver both synchronous and asynchronous versions of your lectures to your students. If you’re hosting class meetings using a videoconferencing service such as Zoom or Skype, make a recording available to students who are unable to attend in person. It’s also possible to produce instructional movies that students can watch at their convenience.
It is necessary to incorporate interactive digital additions and elements like comments, hypertext links, and multimedia at this level. Although the content of the lecture remains unchanged, students can now take advantage of digital tools to enhance their learning experience.
To produce multimedia presentations, students can establish digital portfolios, which gives them a greater number of possibilities for demonstrating their grasp of a topic. In addition, instead of handing out paper questions, you may use apps such as Socrative and Kahoot to make your quizzes more engaging.
Virtual bulletin boards (using an app such as Padlet) can also be created by teachers for students to use, where they can post questions, links, and photographs.
At this point, teachers can consider implementing a learning management system, such as Google Classroom, Moodle, Schoology, or Canvas, to handle the administrative aspects of operating a classroom, such as recording grades, communicating with students, generating a calendar, and publishing assignments.
Teaching online gives up new routes of contact, many of which can be beneficial to students who have historically been excluded in the classroom or society. Girls, for example, maybe less likely to speak up in class, according to research, and so they may benefit from backchannels, which are alternative conversations that can run alongside instruction and encourage engagement in the classroom.
When using Zoom’s text chat option, students can write down their questions, which can make them feel less invasive when there are dozens of students on the call at the same time. Slower-paced, asynchronous discussions in an online forum or email threads may also be beneficial to students who like to collect their thoughts before speaking up.
Learning is fundamentally modified at the “redefinition” level, making it feasible to engage in activities that were previously unachievable in the classroom setting.
Using virtual pen pals, for example, can help students interact with people all over the world, whether they are other students or subject matter experts in a particular field of study Students can take virtual field trips to places such as the Amazon rainforest, the Louvre, or the Egyptian pyramids, all without leaving the classroom. It is possible to ask an author to speak about their work and answer questions after a book has been read in a class.
Technology also provides the possibility to bring real-world audiences into your virtual classroom, and it has the potential to turn your students into authors and publishers. Young people can create their wikis or blogs for the benefit of the public and for receiving comments; systems such as Quadblogging can connect faraway classrooms so that students can both write and react. Using digital proposals, students can tackle local problems, such as studying the water quality of a nearby river and allowing people of the community to evaluate their work.
GOING BEYOND SAMIR
Finally, think about how technology can be used not only to deliver content but also to build stronger relationships with your students and other members of the class. The use of Seesaw and Flipgrid by elementary school teacher John Thomas allows him to post a daily greeting, to which his kids respond—or to each other—with a typed or vocal response. Seesaw and Flipgrid are both free online tools. It’s an effective method of maintaining some stability when they’re separated.