A New Way of Teaching-SAMR and Wrapping My Head around Blended Learning

Note:  I began this draft a week ago.  Now I’m spending days with Apple learning how to implement my iPad in lessons.

This morning I convinced myself I needed to wake up.  It took a lot of coaxing and convincing.  After all, this is my last week for being lazy.  This week alone I’ve watched two seasons of New Girl and several episodes of Inspector Morse.  Please stop looking at my like you’re disappointed.  I have not binge watched anything at all this summer…with the exception of Stranger Things with my husband. I feel no guilt about this.

Most of my former colleagues have gone back to school this week.  Right now, they’re sitting in a hot library or a too-cold cafeteria learning about the new policies for next year.  It’s strange not being there, but while they are gearing up for starting school in August, I’m wrapping my head around an entirely new way of teaching for a brand new job in a brand new grade level.  Whoa!

For the past four years, I have taught in a classical school.  I’ve used traditional models of educating students, focusing mostly on discussion and the Socratic method.  It’s a model that fit my teaching style very well, but I’ve decided to try something new this year.  This year I will be teaching in a performing arts  in a 1:1 iPad environment.  It’s exciting because I know the possibilities are endless, but at the same time, it’s also incredibly daunting.

I consider myself moderately versed in technology.  I keep this blog, I began a YouTube channel for my AP students last year, I use social media, and I even required students to utilize technology in my classes.  It wasn’t easy, because in a classical school, we were committed to not over-utilizing technology.  We had some Chromebooks and some laptops, but if you wanted to use them in your classroom, it was an all out war to reserve them.  I hate war.  I hate confrontation, so in my classroom, I mostly avoided it.

Now here I am in an environment where my students will ALWAYS have a device.  Where I do begin?

In education, implementation of technology follows a the SAMR Model-Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition.  Substitution is fairly easy.  The task assigned to students doesn’t change.  Students could type a journal entry in a word processor instead of handwrite it the old fashioned way.  You’ve just substituted a program for paper.  Easy peasy!   Now when students begin using spell check and other tools, you’ve now entered the realm of augmentation.  Augmentation occurs when the task doesn’t change but because of technology you’ve improved it.  I feel very comfortable in these two stages. It’s the other two that I’m going to have learn a whole new way of educating my students.

The final two stages are modification and redefinition.  Modification means that a task can be significantly redesigned.  Because of technology, the task you’ve assigned students changes. For this stage, students can download a book, annotate and mark it up through an app like notability.  Taken a step farther, you can redefine the task.  Redefinition means that you create a new task that was previously inconceivable without technology.  Students can use the information they’ve learned through their research and notes to create collaborative mind maps using an app or web-based site like Mindomo.

So how does a classical teacher maintain her classical ideals utilizing technology?  Lucky for me my school encourages blended learning.  Blended learning allows a classroom to utilize technology for content delivery that it curated, supported, and delivered by a traditional classroom teacher–me. I guess you’ll have to stay tuned.

One thought on “A New Way of Teaching-SAMR and Wrapping My Head around Blended Learning

  1. You have no idea how sad I am that you are not teaching where my children are going to school. I am, secretly, angry and write emails that I never send to a newly appointed Big Cheese. I feel cheated because I lost out on so many excellent educators who have left a place that I picked for my kids. And I miss you being there. You gave him strength to me who he is. And he is a better person for you being in his life.


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