The last 2 weeks have been filled with amazing opportunities to spend quality time with passionate Ontario educators: the WRDSB CATC by the Water annual summer PD session, the OSAPAC summer planning session and a full day event focused on the SAMR technology integration model — talk about awesome!
The SAMR day was very exciting as the presentation given by Dr. Ruben R. Puentedura, the researcher and author of this model. The SAMR model defines 4 levels of technology use for learning as described in the diagram below. The focus of the day was to look at the SAMR model in the context of many different grade levels and subject disciplines.
Personally, I found the day fascinating. Dr. Puentedura presented many excellent examples of SAMR within the context of Ontario curriculum. One example that particularly resonated with me was around the idea of reading. In terms of the substitute level, one can read on paper or read on a screen, highlight on paper or highlight on the screen etc. This shift really only serves to set the stage for the A, M and R levels. The augmentation level might include using an e-reader auto read feature to improve the experience and understanding. The modification level might include a task redesign such as extracting the highlighted notes and using them in new contexts such as word processing, wikis or in social media contexts such as twitter. The redefinition could include blogging by engaging students in reading circles, providing meaningful comments on other’s work and asking probing questions. This could be extended for deeper meaning by replacing an essay with a digital video production. Video components would include narrative, images, context etc. Students could further engage by providing meaningful comments on other videos and asking probing questions. Other examples I appreciated centred around social technologies (a range of tools from email to Facebook) and story telling.
The bonus in the day was that Dr. Puentedura joined our table for lunch – yes!!! We enjoyed a great free flowing discussion about his research – many contexts, environments and countries. There is no real way to capture all of the things we talked about in our rich discussion, but here are a few highlights:
- technology is important in a participatory culture of learning (power to connect and collaborate)
- 1 : 1 – not absolutely essential but it does make a huge difference, so desirable
- laptops vs tablets … drum roll … tablets
The day was truly amazing, and I couldn’t help but leave feeling energized and wondering about a practical way to put this into action.
Suggestion for Ontario elementary teachers: Check out the new social studies curriculum document (or choose a curriculum relevant to you) with an eye to technology integration and the SAMR model. I personally see many possibilities with the included citizenship framework of active participation, identity, structures and attributes. Some of the possibilities I see are inquiry based research, writing/blogging, collaboration tools, wikis, digital maps, digital timelines, presenting (posters, videos etc.) and age appropriate social media tools. Wonder, and ponder. What possibilities do you see? Share your great idea(s) by leaving a comment to this blog post.
Happy learning and integrating.
Note: Cross posted to VoicED.ca
The OASBO ICT group (K12 IT Managers) has prepared a document to capture network infrastructure needs to support 21C learning. Read their thoughts on capacity, scalability and sustainability in a Manifesto for 21st Century Learning.
As June came to a close, I eagerly anticipated my attendance at the CASA conference as a good learning opportunity and to present with Ed Doadt on the use of social media in the classroom and school community. With a conference title of Pedagogy to Technology & Hardware to Headware I certainly felt some great learning and networking opportunities would unfold.
I must admit that I was taken aback by the approach taken in the keynote address. The intent may very well have been to cause people to stop, reflect, and engage in meaningful dialogue about the use of technology to support student learning, but the rather hard nosed approach taken seemed to disengage the audience. Although several key points were made, including:
- innovation has a high failure rate
- technology is an expensive and ongoing investment
- the “light house” approach typically ends up as a moth balled project that went nowhere
- improvement strategies in education must be based on the best instructional and assessment practices
the message seemed to be stay out of this arena and focus on aspects of education that are already proven by research. Two important questions emerged from this framework: a) why would we (educators) get into the innovation game in K-12 education where funds are limited?, and b) where is the research that demonstrates technology makes a difference?
The audience reaction was rather subdued and there was a smattering of polite applause. While a few people offered up examples where technology was making an observable difference in student learning, the comments were essentially shot down based on statements of “lack of research”. There was a real sense of disconnect in the room. The view presented was polarized relative to current directions and thinking in this area by many. Audience member and conference presenter George Couros ended the session with a very important point: learning with technology is significantly different than learning about technology.
I have been reflecting on this scenario since attending the conference trying to sort through the various perspectives that come into play. First off, I don’t think anyone would debate the 4 bulleted points outlined above. These are known facts that are well researched and documented. Teaching and learning with technology must be done well, and in the framework of best instructional and assessment practices. Learning WITH technology IS different: it is about NEW possibilities. The SAMR model, as described in the diagram below, offers a great way to define stages of development in terms of how well technology may be used to support learning.
Yet, there is this nagging question: why do educators want to move in this direction if it does not make any difference? So many people I talked to indicate that technology DOES make a difference in how students learn. Many shared reports that perceptual, observation based, focus group data etc. indeed show differences in this area.
After chatting with several people after the presentation and some personal reflection time, I think there is an important perspective missing: the timing of the research (assuming that this should be researched at all).
REMIX: In reality, we are still in the infancy in this area of teaching and learning with technology. We need to apply the right lens and connect the dots differently. Why? Learning how to use technology effectively in education is NOT wild reckless expensive innovation in my opinion. It is about doing things differently and exploring new possibilities. We are not at a point in time where enough teachers use technology effectively in their practice. To me, it would make sense that if one researches and measures the effectiveness of technology now, the results may indeed be somewhat marginal. Then again, if any educational tool/resource is used ineffectively, research will show that the impact of that tool/resource is marginal.
So Now What? We need to consider the way in which the term innovate is used in the context of education. Like it or not, technology is here to stay. Learning to use it effectively is not reckless innovation or transformation. We need to learn how to leverage it in the most effective ways possible. This means trying things, and sharing the learnings — blogging about is would be great! I believe we need to invest in teacher training, close the gap, and raise the bar in the area of technology use. Continuing to gather data and formalizing research is a ‘must do’. Every educator needs to commit to sharing their learnings and best practices (add another plug for blogging).
Finally, in the keynote, technology was portrayed as the big bad beast: you were IN or OUT. I strongly believe that we can not look at this sandbox stage as some definitive point of decision. We do need to continue leveraging learning WITH technology, exploring new possibilities and sharing.
Perhaps it is time to throw a technology challenge on the table: eliminate technology from your line of work and personal use for a month — no corresponding, collaborating, note taking, internet enabled research/fact finding, analysing, exploring, reading, social media, email … well you get the picture. At the end of the month, reflect on whether or not technology makes a difference to how you work, then share your learnings by commenting on this blog post.
I also wanted to share a few notable quotes from the #CASA13 Twitter stream from this session.
<insert screen caps from storify>
Happy reading and reflecting
Many of you will no doubt be familiar with TPACK.
Image credit http://tpack.org/
Points for reflection:
- How do these ideas fit together?
- Does the 3 domain chart replace part of the TPACK chart?
- If yes, how?
Happy pondering! Please share your ideas.
CASA Conference 2013 Presentation Resources
Conference Theme: Theme: Pedagogy to Technology: Hardware to Headwear
Our presentation : Leveraging the use of Social Media Tools in your School Community — the use of social media tools in the Waterloo Region District School Board as things are now, the journey and the challenges.
Video Samples from our CASA2013 presentation:
additional video resources
Q&A from Today’s Meet backchannel
Information regarding the WRDSB iPad approach
Canadian Association of School Administrators (CASA) conference.
WRDSB Responsible Use Procedure (RUP)
Social Media Drive By (Blog post)
Quest Radio 1-24 Programming Info – watch here for announcements regarding additional rebroadcasts of this session.
Join a live broadcast or rebroadcast on Quest Radio 1-24.
~Mark and Ed
Meet Jenni van Rees.
After a casual conversation at Ed Camp Hamilton, and some email correspondence, I arranged to do an interview with WRDSB teacher Jenni van Rees to further explore her work in blogging with her grade one students. The interview was initially done live on the internet on QueST Radio 1-24 . The audio recording is now available as a resource to this blog post, and will also be rebroadcast on QueST Radio 1-24. Watch radio.markwcarbone.ca , Twitter and G+ for announcements.
Guiding Questions for the Interview
2. Professional technology interests
3. What drove your interest in getting your students online and blogging?
4. Administrative support?
5. What did you do in the area of communications with parents?
6. Describe/share how this has worked, benefits to students,
7. Did anything surprise you? anything unexpected happen?
8. How did you prepare the students in the area of digital citizenship?
9. Based on the results, will you continue to encorporate blogging as part of your instructional practice?
10. Closing comments.
Jenni provided excellent insights into these interview questions. Hear her thoughts on professional learning, role modelling, real world audience, digital citizenship and PLNs in the QueST Radio 1-24 broadcast recording .
Jenni’s class website
Jenni’s student blogging site
Jenni’s professional blog: Thinking about Teaching.
Collaborating with Division 18 in B.C.
Follow Jenni on Twitter
Follow Jenni’s on class on Twitter
Kathy Cassidy’s Connected from the Start: Global Learning in the Primary Grades