Saturday, February 13, 2016

SAMR vs. TPACK - What works for me?

This model is one that our school district has been discussing, using, and encouraging for several years.  It is simple and shows a pattern for progress that adds technology skills step by step.  It makes sense to me because I have looked at my instruction using this model and have worked to move from simple Substitution toward Redefinition.  

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As SAMR moves a student from substitution to higher forms of understanding,  it encourages learners to analyze and evaluate information and to create using what they have learned.  It connects well to the 4 C's (21st Century skills).   When students have the opportunity to communicate what they know with fellow classmates and then to share their skills through collaboration, they are encouraged to think critically about their knowledge and then to create something that shows their understanding.  This creation is something they can be proud of and is often a product they can share to help or encourage others.  
It is easy for me to see a progression from Substitution, adding a technology like putting a worksheet on line,  to Augmentation where the students can easily use web information and apps to enhance their product, like using the WordReference dictionary to find words and improve their work. 
When they use Google Docs or other means to collaborate they can move to Modification. And finally, when they are ready to creatively share their own original work, they have moved to Redefinition.  

This model ends with a similar result to SAMR but is organized in a different way.  It combines Content, Pedagogy, and Technology to "enhance teaching and support learning more deeply and effectively".  The  Content refers to the facts, concepts and theories that are the basis of any course.  The Pedagogy is the framework of the learning theory by which the instructor teaches his/her subject.  The Technology is the set of tools, including hardware, software, and apps, that layer into the other two domains to enhance their ability to have students learn in innovative and exciting ways.   It allows the teacher to delve deeply into exactly what and how he/she teaches and then to search for technology that will support that style and provide more efficient ways of learning and more choices for learners to show what they know.  TPACK is the perfect blend of all three domains and provides opportunities for both students and teachers to be comfortable with the new and improved process of learning.

My Thoughts on the Models

I see the value of both the SAMR and TPACK models.  I believe that they both lead to positive results for the teacher and the students.  If I had to choose a system by which to evaluate my choices for progress in my classes I believe I would lean toward the SAMR model.  This is partly because I am more comfortable with this system since my school district has widely adopted it.  I think that it is also partly because I easily see this as a linear progression of teaching practices that logically adds more supportive technology step by step.  I include a Project Based Learning unit in each of my courses and I have watched students begin to truly take the responsibility of and for their own research and creative product.  It is exciting to see them prepare, plan and execute something all their own and be proud of their accomplishments!
I have also tried to include smaller projects that fit both the Modification and Redefinition categories.
My Spanish 1 students use the free Toontastic App to create a basic conversation and record it with the cartoon characters that move around the screen while they talk.  This fits the goal of redefinition.  They also use the free PicCollage App to create a collage using images of things they like and don't like  with the correct Spanish sentence to say how they feel about each image. This project fits the Modification category.
My Spanish 2 students use iMovie to create a restaurant scene where customers order food and discuss their preferences while conversing with each other and their waiter.   They use Book Creator to tell the story of a fictional character's daily schedule using reflexive verbs.  These are both using Redefinition to integrate the available technology.  

Continuing Enhancements

As my Spanish 2 students are completing their unit on foods, I would like to have them use technology to show how to create a recipe of a native food they might try in the country they will "virtually visit" through their PBL project.  I have set up the idea and suggested that they could actually use iMovie to record themselves creating the recipe, or they could use another method to show photos of the ingredients and final product while they record themselves narrating through the visuals.  Most of our students have been using educational technology for more than a year so they are comfortable with trying new things and finding what works for them. I am not sure how long this will take or if the students will want to work at home or during class.  I do not expect any really difficult issues but the minor problems of an uncharged iPad or an absent partner may slow us down a bit.  Many of my students say they appreciate the opportunity to show their skills in a creative way rather than simply "testing" to show knowledge.  The active engagement makes it more interesting and they remember it better.
I would like to try something with my Spanish 1 class that I haven't done before. I have noticed that they have real trouble understanding the connection of Subject Pronouns and the conjugations of SER which they learn in the first unit.  I would like to try to have them use Educreations  to make a screencast that explains this connection and how to choose the correct conjugation.  I believe this will encourage them to think critically and truly come to a better understanding of this basic concept.  It will also help me understand what they don't understand!  The Educreations app is readily available to us and many of the students have used it previously.  If there are any issues, I would guess that it would be the difficulty of the concept and figuring out how to explain it that will take the most time.  I do think this is worthy of the time it will take and I will look forward to encouraging my students to become critical thinkers. 


As I read through the numerous wonderful ideas in this lesson for technology integration, I discovered many new projects I would like to try with my learners.  I am excited about the possibilities!
I would like to  look into using MoveNote with Google Presentation.  I have had several students try to employ Google Presentations but were unable to add their voices.  MoveNote may be a great answer to this problem.
I am sure that I will have many more questions as I try new apps and projects.  I look forward to working with my colleagues and  students to solve these challenges.

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