I got stuff, now what?!

The day has come when your dreams have come true and you get that bundle of iPads, or those chrome books, or that projector (for some). We Instructional Tech folks call this “stuff” because Technology for the classroom is changing every 14 seconds. Perhaps you feel as if getting your stuff is a dream come true or your worst nightmare. Many teachers jump off the innovation cliff themselves, and they fly. They are doing innovative things that should be shared on a national platform and have no idea that they are changing the game. That is not who I’m talking about today.

I recently worked with a teacher who I was told would need a lot, I mean a lot of support. This teacher even told me that they would never be able to do the most simple level of tech integration in their class. Funny thing is, that the whole time this teacher was explaining why they couldn’t (not they wouldn’t, that is a very different problem) they were setting up the management specs on their new iPad bundle. I say, “Do you realize how complex the process you are doing right now is? You are doing it beautifully!” This teacher interrupted me refusing my celebration, “But I’ll never be able to do all these app things or fancy things everyone else can do.” After refusing my first public compliment, I rebutted with another, “I don’t believe you. If you couldn’t, you wouldn’t have done what you just did so well. Forget the how, tell me what you would like to see happen in your class with these iPads.” From there, I set up a plan with this teacher to to team teach with me until comfortable doing it on their own. This teacher is simply overwhelmed by all the possibilities (and probably my passion too) and doesn’t know where to start. Innovation in your classroom IS a daunting task. Let me share a tool that might help you take baby steps until you realize that you too are flying and not falling off the cliff. It’s called SAMR.

Think of SAMR as Bloom’s Taxonomy for the use of Technology in the classroom. Just because you have iPads and they don’t have dust on them, does not mean you are using them effectively. This graphic will help you translate the levels of learning to how you are currently or planning to use technology in your classroom.

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Our team often discourses about how we are seeing technology used for in these terms. If you are not printing worksheets, but your students are completing them digitally, you are substituting. If you are navigating your presentations wirelessly from the back of the class, you are substituting. This is a place to start, but don’t stop there!

Augmentation is when the process changes to something that is more efficient and effective. When you change a process, you are innovating if it is more efficient. Notice I said nothing about technology here. Drill and kill has no place in Augmentation, but any tool or program that makes life more efficient and functional does.

Modification and Redefinition is when you are changing the game of education. Forget rules, you are doing whatever it takes to see students behaving like the current workforce. A great anchor question at this state is, “Are my students creating with their knowledge?” You are not just using Nepris to learn a concept, but using that professional connection for students to gain feedback on prototypes from actual professionals. You are transforming how you communicate with your students and families. You are using Twitter and Remind 101 to share and send information out instead of a newsletter. You are seeing that the information is being absorbed, you are spending less time, and your students are more engaged in their learning environment beyond the traditional school day. When you students are sharing projects, giving feedback, and receiving constructive criticism digitally.

Still confused? Watch SAMR in 120 Seconds here

I would encourage you to set doable goals with someone who can support you (ahem, iTeach) alongside a cohort of a few others who are doing the same thing. For example, a goal might be to substitute a tech tool for a dongle. Using a practice app instead of a worksheet checks off the substitution tier. Using Doceri to navigate through your visual presentations makes the process more effective (you are in the powers one more), so you are now in Augmentation. Students turning in projects via Google Docs is Modification of a creation process. Students tweeting to gain feedback from around the world is the Redefinition of how they learn and produce. Each tier is a good tier. Technology integration requires you to move back and forth between these tiers. Setting 1-2 (not 7) goals within a semester or trimester will have you up and innovating before you know it!


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About Lacy Bartlett

This year has brought amazing changes for Lacy that includes moving to a new state, transitioning out of the classroom, and landing her dream job in Manor's Instructional Technology Department. She and her husband, Aaron, along with our two fur children, Dolby & Daisy, have just moved here from Fresno, California as of June. As a classroom teacher, she dreamed of moving to Austin, transitioning out of the classroom, and assisting teachers in integrating innovative teaching into their classrooms. Manor ISD has made all those dreams come true! She is already going through "classroom withdrawals" and empathizes with everything teachers balance on a daily basis. Wherever you are at on the technology spectrum, invite me over and I will strategize on how technology can make your classroom more innovative, efficient, and 21st century learning environment. Her goal is that you will learn something new, feel supported in your implementation, and be amazed at what your students will create.

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