One of the most extraordinary things that is happening in the world is that all of of the collective human knowledge is, if not already, available online, and in most cases for free. This knowledge along with the ability to instantly be connected with one another through social media, email, instant messaging etc is producing an invigorating environment, especially for education.
I've been discussing having a Digital Learning Symposium
at South Kent School
in mid June. The goal is to bring together a number of educational institutions that are either knee deep in digital transformation or just considering the jump. One of the main topics to discuss is about what this change really means. I just recently came across the term SAMR and find it to be a great description of both what is happening and what we need to achieve. After all, if we are introducing technology into the classroom but are not striving for transformation it becomes a waste of time and money.
So what is the SAMR model?
The first 2 levels lead to ENHANCEMENT
Substitution - involves doing the same thing as you would do without the technology without any modification of the assignment. For example typing out the work using a word processor rather than handwriting.
Augmentation - involves some functional improvement but is still a direct tool substitute. Again the assignment is not changed, but perhaps some of the built in tools such as the thesaurus, word count, spell check etc might be used.
The next 2 levels lead to TRANSFORMATION
Modification - involves giving a different kind of assignment. For example using multimedia, adding sound, video etc. The question to be asked is does the media enhance the message?
- doing something that is inconceivable without technology, give students a stage. For example posting on the web so that the audience is the world and there is a feedback loop. Examples could include collaborative writing - blogs, wikis... Check out what our students have created here
Students will become engaged and motivated through bringing the world into the classroom. We have seen this at South Kent School as a result of both the introduction of enhanced teaching styles and our iPad program.
As teachers start looking at how the technology could transform learning they realize they needed to come up with assignments that show engagement, deeper analysis, more real life application, that students need to communicate, and that learning is interdisciplinary.