Tuesday, October 28, 2014

SAMR - Swim Don't Climb

Although spooks and goblins are fast approaching, there is nothing scary about today’s tip: SAMR

Think of SAMR as a guide to help you elevate your game. Given the huge investment we put into technology, coupled with the fact that our students today learn differently, we need to both take advantage of the fab tech tools at our fingertips and teach in a way that really targets today’s learners. SAMR stands for Substitution, Augmentation, Modification Redefinition. Watch the quick student/teacher video below (thanks to the brilliance of Rich Colosi):

I like the metaphor of SAMR as the swimming pool versus the ladder (Carl Hooker - you are brilliant!). Even if you are the world’s biggest techie, you will still have some of your work “below the line” (the low end of the pool), however, if you feel that all or most of your work is “below the line”, then it is time to step up your game. I know, I know – you’re saying to yourself - “Oh Joan, it’s so easy for you! I have a hard time learning those tools. I don’t have any time to learn.” 

Hello, it is NOT easy for me. I worked very hard to learn how to use technology in my classroom. I taught math, language arts, and history for a long time in the 2nd largest public middle school in Connecticut. I spent a lot of time going to conferences, taking classes, spending time on Twitter, visiting colleague’s classrooms, learning from my students, anything I could do to develop the best learning environment in my classroom so that I could properly prepare my students for this brave new world. IT WAS NOT EASY! You must be willing to invest the time. 

We have one-on-one help available anytime. We are happy to team teach. Twitter is 24/7 free PD. You have colleagues all around you (and around the world) who are learning. When will you find the time? When will it become a priority? Learning how to implement technology is not easy but once you are in, you are hooked. Really learning how to use technology, to work on becoming digitally fluent, is key for your own personal survival. Soon your entire home will be “smart”, people you love will expect you to be able to communicate using certain tools, you will need to make appointments, shop, watch entertainment, all with using more sophisticated technology. Take that first step toward teaching “above the line”. You have a whole support team here ready to cheer you on. Make some time to learn about our fabulous databases. Get some coverage and go visit some of your colleagues. I am blessed as on walkthroughs, I get to see classrooms in action from PreK-12 – there is a lot of AMAZING stuff going on. People are generous here – take advantage and make time. You are worth it. Your students are worth it.

Here’s some inspiration: Teaching is both a science and an art, and many teachers around the world spend endless hours perfecting their professional practice. At TEDActive 2013, a few teachers from the United States offer some tricks of the trade they've learned (and continue to hone) along the way. 

Here’s a home grown example in Laura Fitzpatrick’s 1st Grade classroom: 

(yes, those are 1st graders making their own QR codes).

Be inspired. Ghandi had it right: Be the change you want to see in the world. It’s not easy, but it is worth it.

Let me know how I can help.