Learning Enhanced With Technology - Where do I start?

Technology affords us many opportunities to make learning environments and experiences richer for students. In order to keep focused on excellent best practices with technology, it’s helpful to think critically about how to best use the many choices that are available to us.

Keeping these questions in mind may also help:
  1. How might this technology enhance what I’m teaching?
  2. How might this technology improve the access to information, resources, or thinking strategies for students?
  3. What might be amplified in using this technology?
    • Authentic audience?
    • Multimodal approaches that remove barriers for students?
    • Transparency, which may make thinking more visible?
    • Digital records that make progress more visible?
  4. How does this technology make assessment more authentic, visible and/or formative for me as a teacher?

The two approaches below help teachers to approach technology integration mindfully.


The tpack model was first designed by Koehler and Mishra to describe the complex interconnection between pedagogical knowledge, content knowledge and technology knowledge. A teacher needs to have an good understanding of all three of these kinds of knowledge in order to plan learning activities that will appropriately leverage the best of the 3 realms in order to reach the ‘sweet spot’ in the middle. In the past, teachers often started with technology and therefore there was a tendency to become tool centric, rather than discriminating, in the use of technology.

Ask yourself: Who are my learners and what are their needs?

Pedagogy: How does what I know about my students shape how I want to teach them?
Content: What are the big ideas of my content area (both knowledge and skills)?
Technology: Given the many tools available, which ones match best with WHAT I want to teacher and HOW I want to reach my learners.

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The SAMR model was created by Dr Rueben Puentedura to describe a process that often occurs when we adopt new technologies. It’s natural to begin by doing the same things we’ve always done, replacing or substituting with a new tool, until we can truly understand its affordances and reinvent new approaches or uses that transform the learning. This process of innovation can happen slowly or quickly, depending on the technology.

Watch this 2 minute video to see the model explained:

Puentedura notices that educators often go through a process:

1. Substituting a traditional practice with a new tool (e.g., using Google Docs as a word processor - same task - different tool)
2. Augmenting - Using the technology to include something new that enhances the task (e.g. autosaving to the cloud)

3. Modifying - Technology allows for significant redesign (e.g. students can collaborate on one document and use the comment feature to provide immediate feedback)
4. Redefinition - Using technology to allow for new tasks that were previously unimaginable - (e. g., creating a piece of writing or a presentation collaboratively with students across the world including words, images and narrative and posting it to a website for a global audience)

Need more examples?
SAMR Examples WIKI: http://edofict.wikispaces.com/SAMR+Examples

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