caption: I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, SamR-I-Am.
- Coetail Course 4 Week 1: Technology Integration
- Assignment 1: Using one or both of the frameworks presented (TPACK and SAMR), how would you evaluate your own practice of technology integration?
The photo above is of me, a few days ago, at our school’s Primary Halloween Party. I think I got more smiles from grown-ups than from children. Maybe the children are recognizing Dr Suess less and less. You can guess which framework I’m going to talk about today, from the pic 😉
I think we were introduced to the SAMR model in the early weeks of Coetail as a way of looking at Technology Integration in education. Since those early days, I do go around evaluating the tech I see through this framework.
SAMR stands for “Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition” and it is a continuum moving from using technology to Enhance our learning to using it to Transform our learning.
I’m not going to define the stages for you. The infographic from Langwitches will do that nicely for you.
It is a continuum and I know one of Coetail’s mission is to challenge us to push the envelope on what technology integration in the classroom looks like. For those of us in Coetail and for those of us already on board with technology, it is a challenge for us to land near the high-end more.
At the same time, I remember it’s a continuum and we’re allowed to be somewhere on the continuum. In my idealism, I try to imagine what it would be like if I dropped “Substitution” and tried for “Modification” or “Redefinition” the complete time. It would be an interesting challenge but I’ve no opportunity to try that, for the time-being, as I’m not actively holding a teaching-post. I’ve already decided that I will give that a try one day when I’m back in the classroom, though.
Gartner Hype Cycle
He has overlaid the Gartner Hype Cycle over top of the SAMR continuum. The Gartner Hype cycle shows the progression of maturity, adoption and social application of technology. His point (I believe) is that as we travel along the continuum towards Redefinition that we’ll go through cycles of excitement and great expectations–as well as times of disillusionment and discouragement.
My first introduction to 1:1 was when I taught at Renaissance College in HK (2007). It was a brand new school at the time. We were generously resourced. In Primary, we had a set of Macbooks shared between 3 classes. We also had 3 Mac desktops in each classroom. Each year group shared a technology hub (a fancy word for the hallway outside our classrooms) where there were 12 more Mac desktops for our 3 classes. From Year 1, we had all of this. The way I see it, if I use desktop/laptop softwares at their most complex levels, I’m automatically reaching towards transformative levels. I’m sure the software engineers did not spend all that money in development just so we can substitute their tech-tool, in exact place of another non-tech tool. Software engineers are artists themselves. They must have a vision for what their software will do. We don’t always have to invent our own vision. We can try to see their intentions and take-off from there.
Because I came from a 1:1 environment outfitted with laptops and desktops from the youngest grades, I am not all that happy seeing schools ditch them for tablets. I think tablets have their place, but they are not a substitute for a computer. Renaissance College has gone 2:1 now (tablets + laptops). I think the staff must feel the same way as I do. Once you’ve spent time working on laptops, you can’t go back to just tablets. Tablets have their strengths but I want to see both in the classrooms. Each occupy their own niche.
In the meanwhile, as we are running towards the apps, I worry about the software developers. Will they economically survive this? I don’t want to see my favourite software companies disappear in our rush towards free apps. I bought an iPad at the start of Coetail and my kids at home use it to play games and to watch videos. When they want to do something more complex, they reach for the computer. Sometimes I have the app on the tablet, but they still go for the computer version (ex. Comic Life).
So, when I saw that “hype curve” on that diagram, the first thought that came to me is that tablets are on that upward curve of inflated expectations. I’ve seen SAMR for iPad apps but I can see teachers really having to work to make sure their use of apps fall along the higher end of the continuum. I just think working in a laptop/desktop context with full software and its full capabilities makes it much easier to hit the high-end.
Evaluation of SAMR in my practice
Our assignment this week is to evaluate our own practice in light of SAMR. My most recent teaching posts were Music Specialist and EAL posts. I do try to take software to their limits so I feel that I was doing pretty well back then, when I didn’t know about SAMR evaluation. This is despite the narrow scope in which I operated in, as a subject-specialist, because I only saw the same children a few times a week. I also had to fit-in with the classroom teachers’ expectations of how I supported them in their UOIs.
I hope to spend most of my time using technology at Modification and Redefinition levels when I return to the classroom teaching and not waste time at the Substitution levels. Moreover, I hope to be a mentor by modelling and being an example to those who are not aware of the SAMR model. The best type of PD are personal “pass by your classroom and saw this and wanna try it too” conversations. I love hearing invitations like that. 🙂
The SAMR model is a tool to challenge oneself and not one to bash other people’s efforts. Others will be challenged when they see what we’re doing in our classrooms if we’re not being judgemental towards them. The best evangelization tool is not to force the horse to drink water, but to add a pinch of salt. Conversations around the water-cooler are often where the pinch of salt is added. 🙂
I decided to create a chart to list down examples of SAMR in my life, with no green eggs or ham. This was more to clarify in my mind what the different stages really mean. While I was doing this, I realized that I was struggling to conceptualize what a Redefinition stage would look like. It’s hard to reach for something when you’re not too sure what it looks like. What a good exercise! (The ones on the chart in Italics are what I have not yet attempted…but can imagine being the next step up.)
I apologize for the wonky table but I am still “table-challenged” and will probably forever be…
Creating and your passions
I think when we’re passionate about something, we naturally want to take it to the highest levels of creation. It’s an inevitable part of the design cycle when we have the tools & materials on-hand to explore our passions. We also need to have time to ask questions, problem-solve, and to learn from others. Besides my sewing and quilting, I’ve seen this continuum unfold in my children’s lives in music composition and book publishing. “The sky’s the limit” in project-making, these days.
Above is my embroidered quilt that won a third place ribbon at the Calgary Stampede. I didn’t stitch out these beautiful motifs in the middle of the squares. I bought the embroidery software files and loaded it up on my machine and the machine did it.
I was very surprised that the judges would accept a quilt whose surface decoration was done by a machine. You see, traditionally, hand-quilting was prized far above machine-stitching. We’re only talking about a straight stitch here.
The below two quilts were hand-quilted. You can see and feel the 3D “puffiness” of the design because it is hand-quilted:
Contrast this with an example of machine-quilting below, which is flat:
I can’t describe to you the big debate and the arguments in quilting circles (in the 1990s?) when people started moving towards machine-quilting. Was it cheating? Was it crass? So, you can see why I was amazed when the judges deemed my embroidered quilt in 2005 worthy of a ribbon. I felt a bit undeserving of the ribbon as I did not quilt those designs on the surface. The machine did it all. I essentially pushed a button (though I did choose the colours of the threads). I think the judges were making a statement to the quilting community that we’re moving onto new forms of quilting and design. Evidences of technology-use in our creations are now acceptable, because the advance of technology has changed our tastes. The change in the culture of the quilting community to accept machine-quilted and machine-embroidered quilts are examples of Modification in my life.
From Crayon to Garment
I leave you with some images that are examples of Redefinition of drawing. My children (ages 4-8) or I used embroidery software to draw and then used the software to digitize the drawings. The children drew right on the computer screen with a mouse. For my projects, I would usually draw on paper and scan into the software to trace with the mouse. (I learned about vector and raster files while learning all this.) I loaded the embroidery files onto the machine and the machine stitched it out. What fun we had!
The embroidery design at the back of my garment is my name in Chinese (won a first place ribbon and a third place ribbon in two separate shows).
My children are literally painting with thread. Above: 4 year old Daniel. Below: 6 year old Lyndon.
Below: 8 year old daughter
We stitched out their designs on blank t-shirts and enjoyed them for a number of years.
With technology, their drawings took on a level of enjoyment and permanence completely different from a 2D flat drawing. Their drawings became a piece of textile that could be touched and felt. Their creation could be shared with the rest of the world, if they wanted to because it was also a software file. Because it was a software file, there was potential for re-mixing as it could be cut, copied, and pasted. It could have been an enterprise if they wanted to sell their files. (Did you remember that we’re talking about 4-8 year olds? 🙂 ) To me, this was Redefinition of “drawing”.
I’d forgotten about these until I was going through my picture library, today, for examples of our sewing. My children are teenagers now. They’d forgotten them too. I showed them the pics and they went into peals of laughter. They now use CAD— Autodesk at school in Design & Technology but the foundation for their currents studies was laid years ago.
Do you like Green Eggs and Ham?