The other day I embarked on a trip to the local grocery store and took a detour down memory lane. I was cranking Sirius XM’s 90’s on 9 when I heard Amazing by Aerosmith. It was a quick reprieve from middle age as I relived the early 90’s, adolescence and the sage wisdom of Steven Tyler as he sang “life’s a journey not a destination”. It is a simple yet profound statement. Life is not the pursuit of a singular accomplishment or achievement. It is about building relationships and sharing experiences with others. Ideally, you learn from these experiences and strive to be a better person, sibling, parent, and spouse. We also reflect on our experiences to become better professionals, and as educators there are many lessons to learn.
Our school district recently made the decision to adopt a 1:1 technology initiative. An obvious goal of 1:1 is to bolster technology access by providing a device for each student Our decision to embrace 1:1 sparked discussion concerning the impact of technology in the classroom. As odd as it might sound, we don’t want the device to be the focus; we want to harness the device to bolster student centered and innovative instruction. George Couros states in The Innovator’s Mindset, “learning is the driver; technology is the accelerator.” We can’t adopt technology initiatives without first identifying what learning should look like in the classroom. With this vision we can best utilize technology to enhance learning and create new experiences for our students. A good visualization of this process can be found in Dr. Ruben Puentendura’s SAMR model .
The SAMR model is an acronym that stands for (a) substitution; (b) augmentation; (c) modification and (d) redefinition.
- Substitution: We substitute technology for tasks that could be accomplished with paper and pencil. Ex. You type a paper in lieu of writing with paper and pencil.
- Augmentation: Technology provides a functional improvement, but the task is relatively the same without technology. Ex. Administering an online test.
- Modification: Technology allows for task redesign. Ex. Students work on a group project using Google Applications for Education. Collaboration can continue for students outside of the classroom.
- Redefinition: Technology allows for activities that were not possible using traditional teaching practices. Ex. Students create blogs that essentially serve as online portfolios
Puentendura describes this process as a ladder to climb. Steven Tyler would describe this process as a journey. Educators adopting technology begin by substituting technology for traditional teaching practices and progress to redefinition. The journey to redefinition is exciting because it allows students to analyze, evaluate, and create by applying and demonstrating what they have learned in the classroom. Our technology journey will not be easy or mistake free, but it will be a great learning opportunity for us as professionals, and ultimately for our students.