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Nerdfest 2015 Day Two: Teaching above the line – using technology

It’s Day Two of my Social Studies Nerdfest 2015. And I’m sitting in with Kori Green, Brian Bechard, Kim Gilman, Ed Finney, and Nick Lawrence. We started with a quick discussion of the SAMR model of technology integration.

If you’re not familiar with SAMR, the basic premise is that you begin using tech tools in a very intentional way so that your instruction focuses on the end result rather than just using some sort of “cool” tech tool. SAMR stands for Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition.

For example, I can use Google Docs to post a online handout or worksheet rather than using a paper and pencil version. It’s simply a substitution of a paper handout for a virtual one. Same result. Same info. Same basic workflow. The Educational Technology and Mobile Learning folks have a nice overview of the concept

SAMR Duckworth

The framework can be viewed and used in a variety of different ways including seeing the model as a ladder, climbing up the steps until you and your student reach the tech integration Nirvana of Redefinition.

But I prefer the idea of seeing the model as a swimming pool where I can dive into whatever part of the pool makes the most sense at the time.

I do agree, however, with what Kori said when she suggested that the best learning happens when we “teach above the line” – meaning we need to be very intentional about moving more towards Modification and Redefinition rather than simply be satisfied with simply substituting.

So it’s not the tool that defines what level you’re at, it’s how the tool is used and how it supports student success.

You need to see the real power of the framework in helping you ask better questions of what, why, and how when you’re designing learning activities for your kids. What tools will work best to support levels of learning? Why I am using this tool instead of that tool or instead of paper and pencil? How can I best use this tool to maximize learning?

The group put together a Google Folder with tons of tool examples and teaching suggestions.

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