I have been doing a lot of thinking about integrating technology into the classroom and how important it is to ensure that it is authentic and purposeful. When thinking of the constructivist theory, technology can greatly impact students learning and can transform learning when used in the proper way. The SAMR model describes how technology can enhance or transform teaching and learning based on its integration. The two lowest levels of the model are substitution and augmentation. When in the lowest levels of the model, you are enhancing learning. When using substitution, technology is merely a substitute and has no functional change on the outcome. Augmentation enhances learning and teaching through using tools to perform tasks. The two highest level of the model, include modification and redefinition. In these two levels, you are transforming teaching and learning and in essence, there is a functional change in the classroom. Students may be asked to create a documentary which will then be played in front of an authentic audience or work cooperatively to achieve a task which cannot be done without technology.
Dr. Tim Clark has created an excellent graphic showing the different between the two levels as digital vs. digitized learning.
Although I try to use “digital assignments” the majority of the time when I am integrating technology, sometimes there is a need for a “digitized assignment”.
Sun Associates (2013) describes technology integration best practice as “matching the most effective tool with the most effective pedagogy to achieve the learning goals of a particular lesson.” This is extremely important when integrating technology in the classroom. It is important to actively think of the instructional theories and pedagogy first, then select technology as a tool to enhance learning.
SIDE NOTE: As I was searching for images on the SAMR model, I came across the image below, which added a category of equitable participation. I was very excited when I found this image because I think the idea of including social justice through technology is a big part of teaching digital citizenship and media literacy… I have talked about this in a few of my previous posts. EC&I832 has reminded me of the importance of sourcing images and when I went to source this image, I was surprised it was created by none other than the Katia Hildebrandt!
“Effective integration of technology is achieved when students are able to select technology tools to help them obtain information in a timely manner, analyze and synthesize the information, and present it professionally. The technology should become an integral part of how the classroom functions — as accessible as all other classroom tools.”
— NATIONAL EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY STANDARDS FOR STUDENTS, INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR TECHNOLOGY IN EDUCATION
Integrating technology effectively and efficiently into the classroom allows you to teach to the 21st century learner. When thinking of teaching to the 21st century learner and integrating technology, it is about facilitating multiple literacies, cultural competence, communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and innovated thinkers.
A final thought… even if you are new to using technology in the classroom, start with the lower levels of integration and build up your comfort zone, you are still enhancing teaching and learning, then take baby steps to use technology to transform teaching and learning. But more importantly, keep strong pedagogy at the forefront.