It’s about time…

I’ve been a little uninspired lately. I’ve been trying to figure out what my Technology Coach position actually looks like (it’s a brand new position this year). We’ve spent most of this year going with the flow of our “1:1” iPad program (it’s quite far from 1:1 and we’ve had several stumbling blocks). Most of the PD we’ve offered at our school has been app specific. Teachers want to know how to incorporate the iPad into their lessons and the questions usually ends up being “What’s the best app for xyz?” or “What can I do with this new app?” This kind of technology integration has never been my style…but I’ve gotten sucked in and am now dealing with the consequences. It seems that much of our staff see integrating technology as “How can I use the iPad?” and view it as an extra, something special. I don’t blame them as (it seems that) this is how the majority of educators worldwide view technology.

Last week I’d had enough and decided we needed to re-focus on how we are integrating technology. I wanted to (finally) introduce SAMR. I had a great brainstorming session with Christina, read some great blog posts (more on that later) and was inspired…ready to get moving, shaking and changing!

The SAMR PD plan (just an idea right now)…

1. Share this article with all staff and ask them to read it prior to coming to PD.
2. Spend 20 minutes introducing SAMR in the elementary and high school divisional meetings and the middle school grade-level meetings. (Idea: In groups ask them to come up with everything they know about SAMR – prior knowledge, info from NASSP article, Google searches, etc. Come together and share out about it. Would love to use Jeff‘s circular SAMR visual. Give them division specific examples of what SAMR looks like in the classroom, making sure they align with the IB philosophy. In closing, ask teachers to brainstorm how they have/could integrate(d) technology at the SUBSTITUTION level for our next meeting.)
3. Spend time in the MS/HS department meetings and the ES grade level meetings (small group). Ask teachers to share how they have integrated technology at the substitution level. Lead a brainstorm/workshop session for how they could start transforming their lessons.
4. Start weekly (bi-weekly?) PD sessions for all staff focusing on technology integration through the lens of SAMR. Example: A workshop on what formative assessment looks like at the 4 SAMR stages. What might that then look like using an iPad? A laptop? Some other session topic ideas: summative assessment, projects, etc. The goal would be to make the curriculum the focus, NOT the technology.

We’ve gotten the okay to introduce SAMR to the middle and elementary schools next week. The rest is still a work in progress. This school year has been a work in progress. I’m excited to move forward and see some transformation of the education at our school.

I would love any ideas for my above plan. Have you introduced SAMR to your staff? Have you ever been in a PD workshop about SAMR? How can I best get my staff to move away from ‘there’s an app for that’ to redefining their lessons?

4 comments

  1. Wendy Markert · March 2, 2013

    I love your SAMR PD plan! As much as I am willing to change around how I teach, it’s really hard for me to envision ways of using technology at the M and R levels of SAMR. I wish I were at a place where integration was talked about like this and ideas were regularly being shared. Seeing (or hearing about) actual examples of what other teachers are doing and brainstorming ideas for what I can do in my classes really helps me. I also really like that you are looking at assessment at these levels as well. In order to help your staff move away from the “there’s an app for that” philosophy you might want to bring their attention how specific teachers (maybe some at your school, maybe some at other schools around the world) are really “transforming” their lessons with iPads.

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  2. Jeff Utecht · March 2, 2013

    Great plan and thanks for reminding me to get you that image:

    SAMR Circle

    Looking forward to reading how it went.

    We like to focus on the tool because that’s the easy part. If you start with the question “what do I want student to do and learn?” then we focus on the learning we want to happen and allow the technology to fit naturally into the learning process.

    To often we start with “this is a cool app” and use the app without knowing what the true purpose of the app is or what it is actually teaching us.

    When working with schools who are in this “Appolic” stage I like to give them a worksheet with SAMR on it and have them go through their apps and start to see where the apps fall on the scale. Which apps really redefine learning (not very many) vs which apps allow you to substitute and augment (a ton). This I find helps to also put into perspective that really it’s not about the apps it’s how you can use the device and ultimately the most powerful app on an iPad is the Interent connection.

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  3. Michelle Kendrick · March 4, 2013

    At eMINTS (https://www.emints.org/) our PD has for several years used the Grappling’s Technology Scale for thinking about tech integration. https://www.bjpconsulting.com/files/MAPPSpectrum.pdf
    Asking teachers to classify examples is a good exercise. But I would say that if you can switch the focus of your pd sessions to instruction — meeting common core standards, PBL, higher level thinking for students and then integrate the technology into your sessions – you may get where you would like to be. It also helps if your session model the kind of instruction you are focusing on.
    Good luck!

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  4. Lissa Layman · April 3, 2013

    Thank you for the feedback Michelle, Jeff and Wendy! I just wrote three posts about how phases 1 & 1.5 went! I also shared an Arabic translation of SAMR 🙂 Would love any other insight that you have!

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