As I depart from ED358, I feel equipped with a treasure trove of tech resources to implement into my classroom. Grateful for the exposure to apps and tools I was previously unaware of, I believe the most significant takeaway from the course to be understanding of the SAMR Model:
Previously, I felt that any incorporation of tech in the classroom would immediately yield heightened student engagement. I never considered the broader implications of WHY I wanted to use a tool, what my objectives were, and whether or not the tech was even necessary. The SAMR model provided me with a foundational understanding of how technology can merely be used as a substitution, but can also yield a complete redefinition of a lesson. As the graphic above illustrates, technology can provide varying degrees of investigation; like someone standing on a shoreline, seeking to explore the “Great Unknown” of the ocean. From the shore, one can stroke their goatee and consider what exists beyond the surface–this represents no technology.
The first level–substitution–is skimming across the surface; providing minor change. The snorkeler is more emerged in the content–or lesson–but still lacks considerable depth. There are greater opportunities than substitution. Modification provides more freedom and exploration; there are significant changes in tasks and what one is exposed to. Finally, redefinition is represented by the submarine–through redefinition one can encounter and understand the previously inconceivable.
Essentially, the SAMR model has encouraged me to become more conscientious in choosing the tech tools I want to experiment with in my classroom. Instead of merely using a tool because I think the kids will find it cool, it has encouraged me to explore HOW my students will use the tool, what opportunities it will yield them, and what types of new learning will be made available.