Classroom iPads

Let’s climb up the next level

The SAMR model oder here is one very efficient way to evaluate technology integration independent from the device (smartphone, tablet, laptop) and scenario (f.e. 1:1 program).

One of my COETAIL cohort members (Brett MacRury) created a short video and showed which direction we want to go and what steps as well as thinking processes are needed. We don’t want just substitution only anymore. Feel free and watch it for further explanation.
Since the beginning of this school year I observed an essential change of my approach of using the iPads for teaching and learning. I started to evaluate the app I want to use before I use it in the classroom. Usually inspiration came from somewhere (colleagues, twitter, Google+, etc.) and I thought: “Oh, there is a new app, that’s cool, let’s try”. But wait:
Does it really transform and enhance the learning of my students?
Let’s check. That happened with Thinglink and my Grade 1 German class this year. The current unit is about Materials Matters and it took us a couple of lessons to get the vocabulary (nouns/describing words). Afterwards I asked the students to be scientists. The goal was to understand that different materials are used for different purposes. Their task was:

  1. Find a random item you find in the classroom.
  2. What materials are used to produce this item?
  3. How does the item look and feel like?
  4. Why were those material chosen to produce the item?

But what does the a real scientist do with his or her results? It didn’t take long until the students had ideas how they are publishing the results: in a newspaper, on the internet, during a conference, etc. How do we publish now our results? – That’s where the app called Thinglink came into play. Thinglink allows us to take a picture and add text or short videos (Youtube, etc. or selfmade) for further explanation.

Their task was:

      5. Publish your results and your understanding to share it with the world (meaning BIS community in our case).

If I look at the SAMR model – that is beyond Substitution. The app gave the students the possibility to express and explain their results using the right vocabulary and sentence structures. The results will be published on the community intranet. They couldn’t  have done this in a f.e. written form, because writing is not the focus yet. Their results would have been stayed in the classroom.
Did I redesign the task? I’m still a little bit confused about this part. Would be great to get some feedback on this. 😉 Older students could have find some explaining videos on the internet. That was too early for 1st grader.

I have to admit there are still some open questions. It’s never a linear process. Would be great to have that discussion about it. Could we even create a interactive picture of the SAMR model with examples of our practice?

Probably it’s like Jeff Utecht described here:

“I talk about the SAMR model a lot in my talks and presentations because I think it helps frame for teachers the kind of transformation that is possible with technology in the classroom. The one thing I don’t like about all the diagrams I find is that they make SAMR look like a hierarchy of levels rather than what I think they really are which are stages that we all go through when we are presented with new tools technological or not.Based on my own thinking I created the above diagram because what happens is once we redefine something it becomes common place and we start over dabbling with the next great thing.I like to use e-mail as an example. As some point around 1995 some IT person somewhere thought it would be a great idea if all teachers had an e-mail address. So what did we do…we used email to substitute what we use to do, then it augmented the way we communicated, next it modified how we expect to communicate in schools until it redefined everything from in school communication, to communicating with students, parents, and the wider community. Today….email isn’t seen as a disruptor…but it was.As we head into the final weeks I want you to step back and think about how you use technology or how it’s used in your classroom. Hopefully you are a scatter plot on that circle above. A little here and a little there….Redefinition is difficult as stated in the above linkRedefinition: The Technology allows the creating of new tasks, previously inconceivable. Think about that for a second…..that’s tough. That is using technology in a way that there is no back up plan. If the electricity goes out, if the computer doesn’t work that day there is no back up plan. The task you were going to do can not be replicated with paper and pencil or other materials. This is tough! It is not easy to redefine learning at this level…”

Unfortunately there is a downside:

I would love to present the results of the scientist here on the blog (Pls contact me personally if you want an example). Due to the privacy policy of our school I’m not allowed because you can see the faces of the children. My immediate thought was: Is there a way around? Maybe I can blur the faces of the children in the pictures as well as the videos. No idea but I’m was willing to spend a couple of hours. Back to It is possible to download the videos (within the JW Player 6)? When I read that I have to add something to the JavaScript API to get a download button I thought: Ok, that isn’t done in a couple of hours, that is something for 6 weeks vacation. Unfortunately I’m not familiar with APIs.
The whole experience brings me to other question:

How can I enhance the learning experience of my students, let them create, collaborate and share their learning, if I’m restricted by such a strict privacy policy? How does other schools deal with this? How will my students feel when I have to tell them that I can’t publish their results?


One reply on “Let’s climb up the next level”

I totally agree with Jeff’s idea that we are constantly moving up/down/sideways on the SAMR model. The best/worst part of technology is that things are always changing. And the iPads are a good example of this. We can’t use iPads as a substitute for the laptop. It doesn’t work that way. But it does do other things (especially capturing learning quickly) in really amazing ways. I really love the example you gave of what that looked like in your classroom.

I think really starting to do new things in new ways. I’m wondering if you could share just the audio of the kids talking?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s