Have you ever asked yourself if all of these new digital tools are just a bunch of smoke and mirrors distracting us from the skills we have already mastered over many years of successful teaching? Is technology just a new way of doing what we’ve always done? Is what we’ve always done enough? How much of teaching and learning is changing in the 21st Century? How much is the same?
As we reflect on our teaching in the Digital Age, we should be considering how the tools that we have at our fingertips can transform the nature of teaching and learning to improve student outcomes. There are many frameworks for thinking about this topic. One of the most popular is the SAMR model of teaching with technology. You may have heard about SAMR in your professional learning or from the data your school is receiving from the BrightBytes Clarity program. Having a working understanding of what SAMR is, and how it can be applied to your classroom planning and lesson design adds another tool to your toolbox as a reflective educator.
What is SAMR?
Here are three great videos that summarize the concept of SAMR:
The SAMR Model Explained by Students
SAMR in 120 Seconds
How to Get Started with SAMR
While SAMR isn’t a digital tool, it is an important framework for assessing and using digital tools in the classroom. Having the language to explain why the tools you use make a difference to your students’ learning is critical because the education landscape is shifting to new measurements of success in the classroom. We hope you will find the resources below to be a great starter kit for applying SAMR to your professional practice:
- Kathy Schrock Guide
- SAMR Creator’s Blog
- SAMR for Admins
- SAMR Apps Poster
- SAMR and Bloom’s
- 10 Ways to Reach R
- Cybrary Man’s Page
- SAMR for Ed 3.0
- Tech is Learning
Suggested 1st Steps
- Learn the Language of SAMR and imagine how it plays out in your classroom.
- Discuss SAMR with your colleagues and Personal Learning Network to bring more perspective to your reflection.
- Consider SAMR as a means to assess the tools and strategies you are already using in your classroom.
- Use SAMR as inspiration for future lessons, and as a measuring stick for the amount of higher order thinking skills that your lessons include.
- Work with your colleagues to find new ways to modify and redefine learning tasks using the technology that you have at your disposal.
- Invite your students to consider how they use technology for their learning and in what ways, using SAMR as a guide.
Why it Matters (Teaching Rubric)
Designing lessons that increase student engagement, that are well-structured, and that meet learning goals is an essential part of teaching (Domain 1). Additionally, effective teachers integrate the use of digital tools and resources that are appropriate to the learning tasks at hand (Competency 2.1). Finally, reflective teachers are ones who examine their professional practices, assess their lessons, and seek new ways to implement new practices into their instruction (Competency 4.2).
As mentioned above, there are many frameworks for considering how best to incorporate Digital Age technologies into our daily practice. Tomorrow, we will take a look at the ISTE Standards as another tool to drive reflective teaching and professional conversations. Beyond that, you might want to consider looking at the TPACK framework and the Partnership for 21st Century Skills Framework (P21 Framework). Each of these adds a slightly different view of how we teach and learn in the Digital Age, but each can generate great questions to help us design better lessons for our students.
Today’s challenge is to spend some time getting a sense of how SAMR can inform our professional conversations about incorporating digital tools and resources into our teaching. Then, please share in the comments below your thoughts about how you have incorporated SAMR into your practice, how you imagine you could use SAMR to support your lesson design and delivery, or what you see as the strengths and limitations of models like this. Feel free to use one of the other frameworks mentioned above if you have experience with those instead.
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