Classroom Collaboration Course 4 Learning Landscape New Media literacies

Let’s reflect …

What does integration of technology actually mean in the context of education? Already a while ago educators (Technology Integration in Education) and also companies (Google in Education) started thinking about it.

The SAMR model explains the single steps very well. Here a video: SAMR in 120 Seconds.

How would I evaluate my own practice of technology integration? How did the use of technology change my teaching and learning and the learning of the students?

My teaching career in primary school started a little bit than 7 years ago. Before I had worked for a software company as a trainer and I guess because of that particular experience and acquired knowledge I started to use technology from the beginning of my teaching. Reflecting on my students and my own use of technology based on the SAMR Model, which I first heard of maybe 1 1/2 years ago, I can see three phases:

1. Phase:

1 desktop computer in the classroom &  very few desktop computers for the whole staff to share

Students, f.e.

  • write articles for a news paper of the field trip
  • create posters for announcements
  • use a dictionary
  • use certain programs for learning
  • create a photo story

Me as a teacher

  • organize files

At that time my students definitely mainly used technology just instead of a paper, a paper dictionary, colored pencil, traditional printed photos, and so on. I remember that it was important for me that the students get familiar and independent using the PC because their life is more and more driven by technology. If they don’t know a word, I want them to check it independently. The aspect of creating also played an important role, although I just substituted other tools. As a teacher I just used the computer to save files. That’s it.

2. Phase:

Laptop cart with bookable laptops for each child & my own laptop as a working tool

Students, f.e.

  • search for information
  • search for pictures
  • use feedback tools like VoiceThread
  • write / reflect on a blog
  • recording a story
  • creating a movie

I’m as a teacher, f.e.

–       Use assessing tools like Evernote


The second phase was already a huge change and opened doors for using the technology. Probably I still substituted but new features created new learning possibilities. Information we probably would have found in a non-fiction book but are they updated? Pictures we might have found in magazines but would have there be a possibility to change and edit them? Feedback can be also given orally or in written from but would it have the same audience, would it have left the classroom then?

As a language teacher the way of assessing changed. To assess oral skills I usually just listened to the students. How helpful is it now that I can record them, listening to it again to get a deeper understanding of the needs? Aren’t there way more possibilities to personalize the learning of the children? The tasks for the students were still very similar compared to the use of technology at the beginning with only on PC in the classroom.

3. Phase:

Laptop cart with bookable laptops for each child.
Six iPads for the use in the classroom. My own laptop as a working tool. My own iPad.

Students, f.e.

  • talk in Skype with experts
  • create with coding apps on the iPad
  • develop an own Wikipedia about a certain topic
  • search for / use information / pictures with the knowledge about copyright
  • create a book trailer to promote a book they like
  • create a world map to share fairy tails from a different culture on Google maps
  • show their deeper understanding by using apps like ExplainEverything
  • use GarageBand to compose music to a ballade
  • produce QR codes to provide more information

The change of the task for the children started here. Suddenly the students collaborated way more often or how would they have been able to create an own Wiki if not together? The students get the chance to meet and ask real experts or how could they all Skype to a real passionated writer of letters?

Above I wrote that the life of the children is driven by technology. Sure, they need to know HOW to use technology but they even more need to understand WHY to use one or the other tool. What is the advantage of using a particular tool? Is it easier to collaborate? Can I get meaningful feedback of others? Am I able to create something which will be a benefit for myself or others?

As a teacher I wish to personalize their learning and support the student’s needs; I wish to encourage meaningful collaboration locally and globally in the context of real-world situations and to get feedback of their actions; I wish them to be knowledgeable about how to search effectively to get the information they look for; I wish them to be able to visualize their deeper understanding and create something new. (History of Integration of Technology).


REDEFINITION like in the SAMR model described is for sure our goal. It requires a mind shift and an exciting way of learning. For my own learning I wish to reach that level. Coetail is again a great way to get support and to head to new dimensions.

6 replies on “Let’s reflect …”

I love the line “Sure, they need to know HOW to use technology but they even more need to understand WHY to use one or the other tool.” I think we expect our kids to be really aware of all the new apps and the new tech skills. But really it’s our job to think about how to best way to include them in the day. Helping our students to be critical and open-minded thinkers about tech (or anything really) is really why teachers aren’t going to be out of a job anytime soon.

Thanks for sharing your experiences.



Thx …
Sometimes I think our expectation I really high regarding technology. But if we are able to design our teaching more concept based than content based then it is possible. Even yesterday I got the comment from a student that a teacher knows everything … And then an unexpected discussion start whether the human being can know everything and what as well as how much the computer / the internet knows. It is not about the content / about the information itself anymore. Same with the technology … Content or technology supports the concepts or the why we use a tool or not.


Hi Verena

It’s interesting that as you had more laptops/iPads, you moved up along the SAMR scale.

Your students and school are fortunate to have you, with your experience in the software business.



Thank you for outlining your vision of each ‘Phase’ of the SAMR model. I find these outlines with actual definitions much more useful, as they often lead me to think of other ways of integrating into my own classroom.
As one moves up the steps, I think it is important to develop a safety net for students who have not mastered all the skills required or for new students in the classroom. Working in an ever shifting international community, one might have a month’s notice regarding a new student, or perhaps a few minutes so that one cannot even make an extra copy of an assignment! Thinking ahead of time on how one can accommodate for such a scenario is most certainly helpful.
Have you faced a situation where as you had to quickly accommodate for a new student or other minor emergency? How did you handle it?
Thanks again for sharing!


Hi Aja,
Thanks for leaving a comment.

In my opinion we have quite strict restrictions at our school in order to create a safe net. Everything is basically within the community. I’m not sure about this because it makes it more difficult to communicate globally. For searching and finding information I always preselect the links for them. So Google or Wikipedia is never the first resources they check. Although I would like to find some time for a personalized Google search …

I never really had problem to accommodate new students. As a foreign language teacher they often get EAL support first or they are in the beginner class which I’m teaching in only one grade. If such a situation appears I would be good to have a buddy for the new student. As a (technology) teacher I definitely have to assess that new student. So far I rarely had a student with no experience. I’m anyways more worried about the kids who don’t get any restrictions or rules at home, e.g. a 4th grader who is already on Facebook. We need to be aware of them as much as the new students, don’t you think?


Verena, thanks for sharing how SAMR is working for you. I feel students and our circumstances really dictate where we are at a particular time on the SAMR model. Our ability to identify specific opportunities to target M & R improves, as we become more familiar and confident with using this model. Thanks again for sharing.


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