It’s been awhile since we actually did phase 2.0 but I’ve been bad at blogging. I do want to make sure I get some thoughts down before I completely forget!
In Phase 1 we went into Divisional meetings. Phase 1.5 was done with only the Middle School teachers. For Phase 2.0 we attended Department (HS/MS) and Grade Level (ES) meetings. I attended the Language B, Science and Language A Arabic Department meetings. To date we have been invited into KG1 and Grade 3 meetings (only 5 to go…maybe).
Way back in Phase 1 of the SAMR series, we left teachers with the question “How have you used technology in your classroom as a direct tool SUBSTITUTE?” We wanted to make sure that we followed-up and didn’t leave teachers hanging so this was our first order of business. My priority was to give teachers a comfortable space to share what they have been doing. I think it is incredibly important that teachers are able to share with each other (without feeling judged) in order to foster discussion and ideas.
I then asked teachers to share a lesson (that they recently taught or will be teaching in the near future) that didn’t originally include technology but that they would like to brainstorm ways to transform. As a group we brainstormed ways that technology might be used, focusing on the great lesson plan and THEN the technology. I then briefly shared our Tech Coaches website with them. I included Jeff Utecht‘s SAMR Circle and my adapted Thinking Critically flow-chart. I didn’t go into detail about either but hope that we will be able to next year.
One of the challenges in the meetings was keeping everyone focused on the things we CAN control. Understandably teachers enjoy having a place to vent. Nonetheless it was great to get the conversation going and some great ideas were thought up. Below are excerpts from the emails I sent out after each meeting (my goal is to always follow-up!).
During the course of our SAMR series, I came across this visual from Mark Anderson. I liked the idea but it was a little confusing for me. I changed some words and reworked it a bit in order to share it with staff.
After introducing SAMR to our entire PreK-12 staff, we were granted a little extra time with the middle school teachers. Here’s how it went down:
1. Compile a list of how teachers answer the question “How are you using technology in your classroom as a direct tool substitute?” in a Google Doc to be shared with the entire middle school staff.
2. Allow teachers time to brainstorm tasks that they ask students to do.
3. Share out, creating a Popplet.
4. Brainstorm technology tools that teachers could use to accomplish their tasks (stress task first, tool selection second), adding to Popplet.
After the meetings, we finalized the Google Doc and all 4 Popplets. We also added more tools that we thought would best fit the tasks (quality over quantity). We sent the links to all the documents to the MS staff reminding them that the Popplet compilations are a work in progress and a toolbox for them to start using.
Do you have tools to add?
Grade 8 (there was a different thought process for this one)
Lots of thanks and props to my wonderful co-worker (and husband) for helping brainstorm and give this PD! The popplet suggestion was genius! Thanks Jeff 😉
You may have noticed that one of the slides in my last post was a little funny looking. We have many teachers at our school in Kuwait who are native Arabic speakers and are at varying levels of English proficiency. We did quite a bit of searching and asking around but we weren’t able to find any resources to introduce SAMR to our Arabic staff. One of our wonderful HS Arabic as a Foreign Language teachers was amazing enough to sit down with me and work on a translation of SAMR. This translation keeps the English words for Substitution, Augmentation, Modification and Redefinition (to keep the acronym consistent). In addition, it is not a direct translation but gives an idea of the meaning behind S, A, M & R.
Feel free to use our translation as needed (with attribution of course). 🙂
SAMR is something I’ve wanted to introduce to our staff for awhile…we were just waiting for the right time. We’ve had some setbacks with our 1:1 iPad initiative this year and I’m ready to step away from the device towards quality pedogogy and technology (not iPad) integration. After blogging about the proposed PD plan for COETAIL course 1, we’ve finally been able to put a few pieces into action here! It’s initiated some great discussions thus far and I’m looking forward to continuing with the SAMR mindset (we’re avoiding the terms framework and model) as we bring in new staff in August.
We went into the Elementary and High School divisional meetings and the Middle School grade level meetings. [Side note: One thing we’re quickly realizing is how different the vibe is between divisions. I’ve only ever taught in a high school so I’m used to the (sometimes) close-minded and bitter vibe (NOT saying that all HS teachers are this way!). Elementary teachers (while still a little bitter) are much more open to doing activities and having discussion.] Prior to the ES & MS meetings, the principals asked staff to read an article from the NASSP that we provided. Here is how each meeting was run:
1. Give teachers a couple minutes to talk about anything/everything they know about SAMR and do a little research on what it is (they had their iPads). We gave groups butcher paper in case they wanted to write anything.
2. Give them a little help (links to specific SAMR websites/articles).
3. Share out to the group about what they knew/found. Show them the SAMR visual.
4. Provide them unmarked examples of S, A, M & R (in paper & electronic formats). Allow them to discuss & debate in order to match the examples to ‘phases.’
5. Go over together which example matches S, A, M or R and ask teachers WHY.
6. Leave teachers with a question to ponder (to be followed up): “How have you used technology in your classroom as a direct tool substitute?”
We stressed that teachers are already doing these things and that we are just giving them common vocabulary to use. We are also avoiding the hierarchy mentality ..that’s not what SAMR is! After each meeting, we sent an email to all teachers with the resources used and a reminder of the question. See our slides (with examples linked) below. (They are very similar, only the examples are different.)
I’ve been struggling a lot lately with this whole technology integration initiative that is sweeping the world. Yesterday Jeff and I went into a 1st grade classroom to help them create word-webs and stories using their iPads. It didn’t go as smoothly as one would hope and by the end we were wondering if the technology made the project better.
This morning we were truly challenged as Technology Coaches – two elementary teachers are starting their final project for COETAIL and need to integrate technology into a unit plan. Unlike many teachers that we come into contact with they know about SAMR and want to attain the Redefinition level.
This is what our job is supposed to be…right? Integrating technology in a way that redefines education? I honestly can’t say we’ve done a ton of that this year. I often wonder how many technology coaches (or whatever you’d like to call us) are truly helping teachers CHANGE education through the use of technology. I’m not naive enough to think that it can happen for every task that a student completes…but how about once a unit? Once a month? I’d take once a year! So many people (me included) are quick to make suggestions for integrating technology (in our case iPads) – make movies, use Explain Everything, write blogs, etc. How often do we stop to think…and ask ourselves “Is technology making my lessons better?” and “Where am I on the continuum?” I’ve sat around tables with teachers who truly believe that they are redefining & transforming education when they are simply at the substitution stage. I am just as guilty of this too! There are thousands of education blogs out there boasting about the latest and greatest way technology is “changing” their classroom. But is it really?
So where do we (me, my school, you, your school, educators around the world) go with this? How do we ensure that technology isn’t just a band-aid? I’ve had this discussion with Jeff countless times. But how do we have this discussion with other teachers without stepping on toes and hurting feelings? We haven’t introduced the SAMR or TPACK models to staff yet because we think they’d be a little overwhelmed (have you read Nicholas Provenzano‘s rant?). We are also in limbo waiting to hear what our iPad initiative will look like next year. Do we introduce these models? If so, when?
Quality technology integration isn’t easy. It’s takes time, patience and lots of brain power. It takes CHANGING the way we teach. Are we ready for that?
Get started redefining…
Exploring the SAMR model (ECISD Technology)
Brief Intro to TPCK & SAMR (Dr. Ruben Puentedura)
Technology in Education: A Brief Video Intro (Dr. Ruben Puentedura)
More on SAMR (Dr. Ruben Puentedura)
Elementary example of SAMR
This is in no way a complete list…please feel free to share more!