Recently, I tweeted a collage of favourite infographics from the past year. Topping my list was an infographic pertaining to the SAMR model. Blog posts defining the hierarchical nature of this edtech integration model are plentiful, so I’m opting not to follow suit; rather, I’m reflecting upon recent, but not surprising observations that were brought about by technology, but not inherently about technology. If we examine the SAMR model solely on the grounds of a hierarchical structure of technology integration, whereby Modification and Redefinition are at the top of this structure, then it seems to me that something is missing from the conversation.
Through networking sessions with TVDSB teachers Ryan Matthews (@tvdsbmatthew) and Sabrina Tyrer (@SabrinaTyrer), whereby we planned a series of activities with the SAMR model in mind, it became increasingly clear to me that we need to examine higher-level technology integration through a different lens: honing our students’ soft skills and providing them with experiences pertinent in this new learning paradigm. Exposure to skills such as creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, communication, and citizenship. You know, the non-tech stuff. (The 5 C’s)
If our intention is to build capacity, I believe we should be focusing our conversations on the potential impact well-
crafted, technology-rich activities have upon the development of these essential skills. Perhaps, to some degree, I am advocating that we need to shift the focus of the conversation from the “what” or “how”, which is often filled with the glitz and pizzazz of something new, to the “why”.
Why create activities that embrace the principles of the SAMR model? We do so to leverage the development of skills that are, as I stated before, not inherently about technology, but are of equal, or arguably more importance, to our 21st century learners.
Let’s take a peek at the #middleschoolsurvivalguide…
Initially, The Middle-School Survival Guide (thanks for the great title Sabrina), was established by grouping students across 3 classes, sharing a Google Slides template with each group using GAFE, and having them complete the slides designated for their grade level. At this point, students have not met in person, so the presentation above reflects how technology can cast creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking to the forefront of the experience for our students, and provide them with opportunities that didn’t previously exist.
Following the Google Slides activity, students used the web-based application TodaysMeet to plan their upcoming PSA. The use of this platform generated some great opportunities to discuss “netiquette”, or appropriate online communication and citizenship. Furthermore, it provided students with an outlet to put these discussions into practise. On January 13th, students from all three classes met in person to put the finishing touches on storyboards and create PSAs based on the subject matter in the Google Slide presentations.
— David Carruthers (@pluggedportable) January 13, 2015