We Have To Go Beyond SAMR

One mistake that I would like correct in my work as a technology integrationist, was using only SAMR when talking with teachers a couple of years ago.  I had time with teachers in my building, not a lot of time but a couple of hours, and I decided to introduce SAMR to them.  We were still in the early stages of our 1:1 and it seemed like a good tool at the time to help focus on how we can implement technology to move forward.  I thought the simpler language of SAMR would lead to more reflection on how we were using technology, without getting lost in the terminology.

Unfortunately, I do not believe SAMR is enough to get teachers to reflect on how they are using technology and to start thinking of how we can do things in a better way through the correct use of technology.  It is so easy to get into the mindset of starting out in Substitution and eventually moving forward, but many see the ease and comfort of Substitution and fail to move forward.  The act of digitizing what we have done in the past does not lead to greater learning in students.  All it may do is to improve efficiency a bit.  We should be constantly looking at how we can improve student learning, not teacher teaching, through the use of technology.  We have so many new possibilities that were not possible before that we have to be pushing ourselves to improve.

While there are other tools or frameworks out there (TPACK, Florida Technology Integration Matrix, TRUDACOT), it is hard to find one that will be the complete tool that teachers need to improve.  The biggest aspect, and maybe the one that I should have started with, is the mindset educators have about what good teaching looks like and how technology can be used to achieve this.  If we aren’t using technology to improve our pedagogy, then all we are doing is making the learning experience more shiny.  Technology by itself will not lead to better learning, technology couple with good pedagogy can lead to better learning but only if we focus on the pedagogy aspect first and always remember that student learning is the goal, not teacher teaching.

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