We’re Back! SAMR and Coding, how can we help our students get ahead?

We’re Back! SAMR and Coding, how can we help our students get ahead?

 

"Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important." - Bill Gates

The quote above is a great mantra to follow when working in schools with ICT. As I start back at work, I’ve realised that the focus for teachers (including myself) is often to incorporate an app in the classroom regardless of the educational outcome. In other words, an app for apps sake! This doesn’t require much educational/creative skill just an ability to follow instructions.

We loved being part of a professional learning day at Fitzroy Crossing High School in early June, while we showed teachers how to use a few apps, what we really wanted to achieve was for teachers who are relatively new to using iPads in the classroom, link back each experience to the SAMR theory for technology in education. This is crucial to the effective integration of technology in the classroom.SAMR ladder

 

So, how can we, the teachers, be the most important player in technology? By assisting our students reach the upper levels of the SAMR ladder (watch this great video where the inventor of SAMR, Dr Ruben Puentedura explains how to apply the model). This year I aim to work with teachers and students in reaching the top rungs of SAMR through providing opportunities that modify or redefine the learning. How do we do this? According, Dr Ruben (much easier to write and pronounce his first name) an achievable way is to make the final product that students create available to a global audience (this was inconceivable before technology) and provide opportunities for that audience to provide feedback to students, who can then use that information to reflect on their work/learning experience.

The iTunes U Course series is a great place to start modifying and redefining. You can explore courses by educators from highly regarded educational institutions, be inspired and have a framework for a unit of work that you could then modify to suit your learning environment. iTunes U is perhaps one of the most underutilised features of the iPad. I recently conducted a training session on using Sphero in the classroom and St. Hilda’s College had a great introductory unit called, Coding with Sphere.

My hope this year is to also connect educators in the Kimberley. How can we expect to connect our students if we are not modelling the same behaviour in our own technology learning? Our isolation makes our teachers and students the key beneficiaries of the ability for technology to easily create connections outside our schools. There are excellent educators throuBroome EdTEch catch upghout the region doing wonderful things with iPads and we need to create greater opportunities to share our knowledge. Our Edge IT Learning, EdTech afternoon teas are a terrific starting point. This year we have had three sessions- two weeks ago Derby Senior High School hosted a session. Nicola shared what’s happening in Apple Education and the session was well attended by teachers from the School of the Air and primary and high school staff. We look forward to heading back to Derby and working closely with schools in the region.

 

Our Broome EdTEch catch up was a chance for teachers from across the Kimberley to be inspired by the use of the robotic, Sphero! It was fun and interactive session where we got to be the students. Roebuck Primary school have a number of Sphero and we can’t wait to see how they use them…perhaps a bit of demo for the other Broome schools? During Term 2, Kimberley educators were also visited by Apple Education. An afternoon at the Cable Beach Club, was a lovely way to hear about the latest and greatest in Apple Education and network.

Next up, I will be looking at STEM in Australian school’s. Funding for Digital Technologies, with a focus on coding, has been a big educational issue in the recent Australian election campaign. I will explore why coding is so crucial to teach in our schools and how enjoyable it can be for teachers and students! Here’s a great article to get you thinking….