Technology as a Catalyst in Learning

As an educator who feels like they are working hard to keep up with using technology to enhance both student and teacher learning, I feel that the SAMR model is a great evaluation tool towards my efforts and effectiveness with technology integration. Also, as stated in the 2011 summer technology blog, ‘Beyond Substitution: The SAMR Model’, “The model aims to enable teachers to design, develop, and integrate digital learning experiences that utilize technology to transform learning experiences to lead to high levels of  achievement for students”. With this in mind, I can use this not only to evaluate myself during the implementation process, but also aim to assess if following this model really can enhance student learning if implemented properly.

Google Docs has become streamlined at my school in place of Microsoft Word. At first, seems like a change that doesn’t make sense since we are doing away with a processing system that we have all become very familiar with, to take on another. Why replace one system with another that does the same thing? I now see that these thoughts were only aligned with the ‘substitution’ phase that has no effect on improving student learning. However, after working with Google Docs and becoming more aware of all its functionalities, students and teachers can do much more together than what could be done with other word processors. For example, as a teacher, I am able to collaborate with students and students can collaborate with one another outside the classroom in real time using the chat and commenting functions. Also, teachers can give detailed, quick feedback using these functions outside the classroom as well, which takes us from ‘substitution’ phase to ‘augmentation’ phase and beyond, depending on where you want go with the specific task and who the students are going to be connecting with outside the classroom.

Doing this as one example is key, as it supports what is stated in the edutopia article, ‘What is Successful Technology Integration’, Where in order to do this successfully, “it must support four key components of learning: active engagement, participation in groups, frequent interaction and feedback, and connection to real-world experts.” I believe it is also not only important to note this, but also that as education continues to reinvent itself and move very quickly from teacher as gatekeeper of knowledge to facilitator and guide of student learning and developing 21st century skills, such as communication and problem solving. As the Forbes article ‘The Single Best Idea for Reforming K-12 Education’ To do this we need to use technology to enable and inspire students to learn so as to spark their energies and talents.