In2edu I.C.T. Resources Enhancing Education & Learning

SAMR - Critical Review.

There are times when the "flavour" of the month is actually a rebalancing in education as it places an emphasis that is needed as society changes. When I started teaching, setting a prescribed set of values for a school was the biggest no-no, pupils had to 'discover' these for themselves and should not be persuaded by teachers. Today, I believe in many schools values, discussion around values and even the presentation of thoughts about individual values are a high priority in many schools. If we learn anything from Finland's "educational success" it is that their education system seems to run counter to much of the competitive, assessment driven, do more systems and philosophies that have invaded many educational systems. What I especially think is impressive about Finland is that the leadership buy in seems so uniform top to bottom and they are not afraid to keep evolving or changing (there is some debate about whether they rested on their laurels recently) but this comes from the basis of the decades of educational system improvement.

So this leads us to SAMR - seen as model of digital technologies implementation. Here is a presentation with some thinking about the SAMR model in itself and as always, like Chinese whispers we need to look at the source~creator for their feedback on how their model has been implemented and the flaws they see in this or the adaptations in their thinking to the model since it was launched.

The SAMR model was created by Dr Ruben Puentedura. What Ruben would say is that you mix the different tasks, try to work at different levels and use what works. All the levels are defined relevant to your current practice and what is augmentation for one person, can be modification to another. Having said that, people often see it as 'higher is better' therefore you should only aim for "above the line" learning. It is often seen as a model for teachers, for planning, for lessons and therefore not so relevant to PBL, or inquiry types of learning.

My Take: SAMR is a simple tool for both teachers and pupils to plan and reflect on meaningful use of digital technologies in the learning journey. While it is especially more difficult to define clearly for an individual what a modification or redefinition task may look like, the simple thinking about teaching "above the line" is important to help teachers and pupils to quickly evaluate the learning task and integration with technology. It is a bit of chicken and egg scenario, higher level use of digital technologies can lead to deeper learning and deeper learning can lead to higher level use of digital technologies. Aligning SAMR with Blooms may also prove useful in some cases. It is important to keep in mind that SAMR is not a one way journey to a "higher plane", depending on the circumstances a substitution or augmentation may be the best use of digital technologies. Taking the route to deeper thinking is based on good knowledge and skills and it is much harder to have good levels of thinking without digital literacy, the same as it is harder to read to learn if you haven't learned to read! On the other side of the coins there is a reluctance to, "Learn or Teach above the Line" as it will involve change and challenge... so an emphasis on these areas of the SAMR model may be needed to really open up learning opportunities.

  1. Finland's "educational success"
  2. Hattie meets Puentedura on Growth Mindset criticism.
  3. Critical Review of SAMR
  4. SAMR - A model without evidence
  5. The Problem with SAMR
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Backing up your Laptop

Apple laptops have a automatic backup system built in. If you connect a usb or firewire portable drive (external drive), the operating system will recognise it and ask if you want to use the drive as a TimeMachine backup drive. This video overviews the process. Tip: When you name your backup drive it is wise not to use spaces in the name i.e. "MyBackup" not "My Backup"
If your drive is not recognised try formatting the drive (see picture below). Feel free to talk to school technicians first, if things like this make you nervous- we love to help.

Only implement the following steps if you are feeling confident about what you are doing.


Creating Bookmarks and Folders in Safari

A few visual tips on being organised with bookmarks/favourites/favorites. Click on the picture to enlarge it.

All Internet browsers (Firefox, Chrome etc.) allow you to do something similar.... so if you are using a different browser then use these ideas to figure out how your browser works with bookmarks.

Best Reference Sites

Always look for 3 sites to cross-check information, especially if you do not use one of the commercial encyclopaedias. Be fair in your use (quote and reference your sources) and look for released information that you can use.
  1. Creative Commons Search (Images and Information) 
  2. Te Ara NZ Encyclopaedia
  3. Wikipedia (Check your information against other sites as it is a Wiki) 
  4. Britannica K8 Online Encyclopaedia (your teacher has passwords) 
  5. All other Epic Databases (your teacher has passwords) 
  6. Google Search choosing good key words 

For those with a mac you can put searching in the fast lane by working out how to use Alfred (a freeware software search engine installed on your harddrive or downloadable here)

We had both worked through the long Labour Weekend and at about 4 o'clock Pat Street (the Christ College technician) had got the sound desk installed. "Who is going to run it?" he asked. The silence was deafening. I knew I had to cover the lighting and couldn't do both. William was standing nearby and I asked him if he would be keen to do the sound, as he had been working with Mr Foster on the sound up to then. William said, "OK."

Pat said, "Well, here is the model number of the sound desk, look it up online, download the manual and read it through and you should be right in the morning."
I thought, "This will be interesting!"
In the midst of the last minute rehearsals the next morning, William was on-fire. He displayed knowledge and skill on the sound desk right from the get-go and contributed significantly to the success of the production. Another great example of life-long learning, have a goal and learn your way to it.

Taylor Budge Year 4 Start

In 2009 Taylor Budge was the head of I.C.T. at Medbury. His journey started in Year 4 when he applied for membership into the I.C.T. Crew. He passed at first bronze, then silver and finally Gold level and on the way became one of the most respected boys that teachers knew for solving their day-to-day problems.

His ability to problem solve grew in leaps and bounds over the years and his confidence grew enormously as a result. Congratulations to Taylor for an amazing learning journey over a number of years at Medbury.

Pupil and Parent ICT Licences

To provide a benchmark and a positive start to your 1:1 experience, these will guide you to the basic skills that are important for success with your new device. They only focus on important skills and habit not on the learning and learning competencies that will also be part of the 1:1 implementation. Click on the files below to download.

You will be presented with a certificate when you have achieved these Expert or Ultra-Expert levels. There are Skills ladders for most of the programs we use. They help us learn to use the programs better, to pass bronze, silver or gold for the I.C.T. Crew and to set learning goals. Look at the full set of I.C.T. Rubrics here or below .
  • Pupils ICT Skills Ladder (Licence to drive a laptop) [View]
  • Parents ICT Skills Ladder (Licence to be "with it")  [View ]
  • ICT Skills Ladder (Skills you can learn in all programs) [View]
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