I noticed something very interesting yesterday when I was giving a presentation on the SAMR model. Now I wonder if this was an isolated incident or was it something that occurs naturally. If it occurs naturally, then it makes me rethink perhaps how we should introduce technology to kids and to teachers.
First, let me explain the training:
I was introducing teachers to the SAMR model of tech integration. You all know by now it is: S: Substitution, A: Augmentation, M: Modification, and R: Redefinition. Here is a brief intro to it if you are not familiar with the SAMR Model:
After I introduced each letter, the teachers were given specific apps to explore on their own in groups. Most had never actually dived deeply into how the apps worked, only having cursory knowledge of them. Some were seeing them for the first time. So, I would talk about Substitution for instance, and then the teachers had to figure out:
- How the app worked
- How it could be used as a Substitute in a regular lesson
- Write a lesson that had the app in it instead of the traditional lesson
All of the teachers were able to figure out how substitution worked. But at the lower levels of the SAMR model, TO A GROUP, they all jumped way ahead of simply substituting and moved well into Modification and Redefinition. Completely on their own, without suggestion or direction. It was just an organic movement.
As an example, we started with an app called Inspiration Maps, which is a mind mapping tool. I simply wanted them to explore the app, and see how they could substitute the app mindmap for one on paper. Within minutes, (Now remember that they had mostly never seen the app before) the teachers were explaining to me that they could imbed clip art, pictures, hyper links, things that went way beyond simple substitution. They had jumped into Augmentation and Modification. They told me about saving the mind map into other programs, embedding the products into all kinds of OTHER programs, which was essentially jumping into Redefining the lesson.
When looking simply to substitute a lesson in Storybuddy as a simply replacement for a crayon/pencil/paper assignment, the teachers really lit up when they discovered that you could record your voice into the story. Imported pictures, take pictures with the iPad and more They jumped right from substitution into Modification and Redefinition without prompting.
This got me wondering if there is some kind of natural point where people jump from using technology in a simple way (Substitution) to a more advanced way (Redefinition) and they don’t even realize that they are doing it? From writing a simple email to attaching photos, from just typing in a word processor to embedding photos and sound and videos and then saving in multiple formats?
I wonder if training that shows people how to do EVERYTHING is not needed, just point in a direction and let the learner explore and make the connections on their own. How much time would be saved if that happened? And what about those that cannot make the connections? Where are they left?
What are your thoughts? Do you think that people naturally jump from simple to more advance use of tech without being shown? Should professional development change to accommodate that? Should kids be treated the same way when it comes to exploring technology in the classroom?