EdTech Strategy: A Classroom Teacher’s Journey to Transforming Learning

How can we create an EdTech Strategy to leverage the power of technology to transform learning?  An article from Karen Caswell.  

EdTech Strategy: A Classroom Teacher’s Journey to Transforming Learning

 

“If we want to see innovation happening in our schools, we need to trust, encourage, and empower teachers to transform their practice.” John Spencer

 

As a teacher in an Apple Distinguished School, with 1:1 devices, this was the essential question that I asked myself. I believe we are all innovative teachers and innovation can be empowered by technology. We can aim to give students voice and choice, allow them to be problem solvers, allow them to be the creators, and to be authors, filmmakers, scientists, artists and engineers.

Research has shown that technology can be used to transform learning however integrating technology adds a whole new layer to teaching and learning.

So how can technology transform your teaching and learning and help you develop an EdTech Strategy?

Dr. Ruben Puentedura, designed the SAMR model to help teachers integrate technology into teaching and learning. The model supports and enables teachers to design, develop, and integrate learning experiences that use technology. It encourages the leveraging of technology to implement highly effective learning that was previously inconceivable in traditional classrooms with the goal of  transforming learning experiences so they result in higher levels of achievement for students.

We can use SAMR to reflect upon how we are integrating technology into our classrooms. When designing a task we need to think is it an act of:

Substitution – where technology acts as a direct substitute, with no functional change

Augmentation – where technology acts as a direct substitute, with functional improvement

Modification – where technology allows for significant task redesign

Redefinition – where technology allows for the creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable

There are times and places for tasks at all levels of the SAMR model, however we know that modification and redefinition move tasks from enhancement to transformation. Above the line transformation of learning promotes high order thinking skills such as analysing, evaluating and creating and engages students in rich learning tasks which have a positive impact on student achievement.

EdTech Transforming Learning

It can be easier to break the four elements of the SAMR model into two parts, and look at Enhancing and Transforming Learning.

Substitution and Augmentation enhance the learning experience.  This is where technology acts as a direct substitute, with no or some functional improvement.

We can enhance student learning using technology in these ways:

  • Searching for information
  • Using online learning programs, such as Epic, RAZ Readers, Mathletics tasks
  • Note taking or word processing eg. typing a story
  • Digital drawing
  • Using Google Earth to locate places
  • Using PowerPoint or Keynote to create a student workbook, saving as a PDF and sharing to be completed on a device
  • Submit work to an online platform such as Seesaw
  • Finding images online to add to a presentation
  • Make digital books or presentations and add voice, images/photos/drawing, etc
  • Online quiz with feedback
  • Receive or give feedback
EdTech learning

The space we ideally want to be working in is transforming student learning through Modification and Redefinition. This is where technology allows for some task redesign and allows for new tasks that were previously inconceivable. 

We can transform student learning using technology in these ways:

  • Collaborating with others using Padlet, Flipgrid or Nearpod
  • Watch and creating online tutorials
  • Applying feedback received to improve work
  • Contributing to a class or personal blog or collaborative space
  • Using mindmapping software like Padlet or Popplet, adding original text, images, or videos
  • Create a movie, music or animations to demonstrate learning
  • Create digital posters with self-created videos, QR codes or links to other original work
  • Using green screen to create videos to demonstrate learning
  • Recording learning and sharing to teach others
  • Research and share findings online
  • Create and post original videos online
  • Collaborate with students from other schools on a project
  • Create a multimedia book to share online
  • Create a survey, collect data and analyse results
  • Participating in a Mathletics Live challenge with others around the world
EdTech in action

One of the main indicators that we are transforming student learning is wider collaboration and sharing. This is an area where we can face some challenges, due to network blocks, but the ways we overcome these include:

  • Seesaw blogs – parents, school community, wider community;
  • Blogging site (approved by the Education Department)
  • Creating and sharing Podcasts
  • Flipgrid
  • Publish books to the Books store

Technology is just like any other tool, in that it is just a tool. The ability to transform learning lies in the hands of the teacher who designs the learning experience using technology.  This helps us develop an effective EdTech strategy.

 

Learning with technology

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