SAMR

I can correlate the SAMR Model to a topic I am considering for research/dissertation. I’ve been working with college instructors with incorporating social media learning activities for creative writing courses. Throughout my work in this young initiative, I can relate this to the SAMR model’s four stages.  The implementation of social media can be defined as a substitution to the student’s learning experience. Rather than students sharing their work in an LMS or within the physical classroom, students are instructed to substitute those mediums with social media platforms.

After the initial implementation, the English professor and I allow students to utilize any social media platform that they are used to using. This enabled students to share their written work with their peers and showcase their work to the public (if they so choose) outside of classroom time.  This change is likened to the “Augmentation” stage of the SAMR model.

 

Most recently, the professor and I decided to experiment with modifying the entire learning activity, but reaching out to experts and well-known authors via social media. This encouraged students to share their work with these well-known figures and potentially share their work in order to welcome constructive criticism from seasoned professionals. As outcomes are observed and feedback from students are received (via surveys related to their educational experience) in this experiment, future courses will incorporate the exercises (if it turns out to be successful) with necessary changes. This process can be labeled as the “Modification” stage of the SAMR model.

 

Being that I had and continue to have first-hand experience with this project, I’ve decided to alter a unit that I am teaching in an “Introduction to Computers and Information Technology” course. A unit exists on Social Media tools and how businesses incorporate these tools. I intend to (as long as the outcomes in the previous project are positive) to incorporate a similar project (without the creative writing component) into the computer science course. Rather than requiring students to post in the discussion forum in the LMS for this unit, I will assign the task of answering unit-related questions to a social media platform. This will require students to gain experience using the platforms and understand the unit content more thoroughly. This technology integration can be categorized by the “Redefinition” stage of SAMR.

UbD

The teacher begins with the end in mind. Focusing on the big picture (the end) helps to focus students (through teacher planning, guidance, and assessments) learning throughout the process so they are able to transfer, the skills and information they will need to know in order to complete the project. Planning UbD units are very detailed and take into account activities and assessments throughout (to guide student learning at any particular point) in order to gather evidence that shows students understanding of the big concept. Teachers are not the “sage on stage” in a UbD classroom. Students are in charge of their learning with the teacher being more of a guide, or facilitator. Teaching continually assesses student learning and understanding and will adjust activities and instruction accordingly, throughout the unit.

Systems View of Educational Technology

A systems view of Educational Technology describes learning development and management processes used for designing and evaluating instruction. A systems definition of Educational Technology is having a strategic plan, embedded assessments to assess the process along with a clear end goal in mind. While utilizing effective approaches to create and assess its integration, one must have a plan that encompasses training and full support during the planning, preparation and implementation stages. By doing this, transformational change within the organization will occur. For instance, if teachers gain proficiency in technology, they will in turn, instruct their students how to utilize technology more effectively and efficiently. As indicated in the text, “Student uses benefit everyone in the school, whereas teacher uses benefit the individual teacher.” (Zhao & Frank, 2003).

 

When there is no plan or support within the system, teachers end up utilizing technology ineffectively. For example, utilizing adaptive online tools has to be taught. At times, teachers sit students in front of the screen and expect for students to demonstrate progress and be successful. Since students do not progress at the same pace, direct instruction still has to occur.

Zhao, Y., & Frank, K. (2003). Factors affecting technology uses in schools:  An ecological perspective. American Educational Research Journal, 40(4).