Today in a session with Project Tomorrow’s CEO, Julie Evans, we were treated with a sneak peak at some of the data trends from the last Speak Up survey administered this past December (2012).
Now, data and I have had a rocky, tumultuous relationship. In my early teaching years, data and I weren’t too familiar with one another–passing ships in the night. As a graduate student, I started to flirt with data a little bit once I caught a glimpse of what he could do for me and some of the practices I was researching in my classroom. But, we hit a major roadblock in our relationship the year that data was wielded like a thick, leather belt, snapping and cracking down the hallway, forcing data-driven instruction down our throats, angrily pushing us towards practices that did not align with our beliefs and better intuition. Data and I broke up that year, and I admit I talked trash about data behind his back.
There was no magic moment when data came back into my life and the past was erased. It took a lot of coaching and mentoring from leaders, friends, and mentors who had healthy, constructive relationships with data. Today, we’re cohabitants of the same house, focused on the improvement of learning for everyone on our campus; we relate easily, flexibly, and without judgment.
So, today when Julie announced she was giving us a preview of the yet-to-be released data, my nerdy heart skipped a beat. Our campus participated in the Speak Up survey–a difficult task in a campus of 2200 students. Individual campus and district results will be made available tomorrow, 2/6. I appreciate having the national trends to compare our local results to and anticipate that we’ll fall in line with those trends.
Three Key Trends for Educational Technology
1) Students want devices that allow them to personalize the educational process, the same way that they personalize their social media and web presence. They want devices that help them be more productive and allow them to CREATE and ADAPT.
2) We’re at a BYOD/BYOT tipping point. The stage is set for integrating personal devices into learning. Administration has turned a corner with its willingness to allow personal devices, teachers are curious, and students are willing and able. How can we take advantage of the growing momentum and be thoughtful, reflective and strategic in our visions and action plans?
3) The “true” digital natives haven’t even arrived yet on our high school campuses. According to the findings of Speak Up’s yearly survey assessing the rolling of technology in learning, a shift has occurred in the readiness, access, and skills our 9-12th graders bring to the digital table and their middle school counterparts. They are coming to us very soon; how will we prepare for tomorrow’s learners?
Wow! I’m excited. I’m ready. I’m curious.
Great things are happening here at The Ridge! I’ve always believed that the leadership, innovation, and vision of individuals on this campus have the potential to make us leaders in education, especially in regards to raising student engagement and closing the achievement gap.
Recently, Fossil Ridge was awarded a KISD Education Foundation Grant. The project titled, “Closing the Gap” was the collaborative brainchild of a handful of these leaders.
The goals of the project are:
- Close the gap in access to technology that exists in our student population, allowing for equity to digital tools and resources and extending the school day to a 24/7 model.
- Investigate the role that technology has on learning.
- Inform the long-range vision for technology integration and strategic plan for our campus.
I am pleased that the community and district leaders recognize the efforts and leadership capacity on our campus and am thankful for the present and future support we will receive as we work towards these goals.
As discussions took place regarding deployment of our project, which involves selecting twenty AVID students to receive Dell tablets and Verizon mi-fi cards for use at home and at school, we all agreed that in order to truly understand how technology impacts learning. We needed to form a leadership team, who would engage in a PLC that explores theory, methods, and tools for educational technology. It’s not enough to simply provide students with access to technology. Even the largest 1:1 programs in schools, without a professional development plan for teachers, will not produce the impact on learning that designers anticipate.
This team will visit schools in the Metroplex who have adopted some kind of technology model (1:1, BYOD, etc.) and observe how their deployment model impacts learning, what type of systems are in place to support student and teacher integration of technology, and measures that can capture the data we need to inform our vision. In addition to field trips, the team will also meet regularly to share resources, explore models, and create lessons that integrate tools. But, it all has to come back to the same point: How does technology impact student engagement and learning?
This past weekend I was explaining our project to another National Writing Project teacher consultant who is an instructional leader in a neighboring district that is exploring these same questions and working to support teachers as they grapple with technology that is integrated into instruction. She suggested that we start with the SAMR model developed by Dr Rueben Puentedura. Through this model, Dr. Puentedura demonstrates how our goal when considering a long-range technology adoption cycle on any scale, from district-level down to the classroom, should be to move from enhancement to transformation.
SAMR stands for substitution, augmentation, modification, and redefintion.Substitution: At this stage you are using technology as a direct substitution for another tool. Think using a word processor in lieu of a type writer without utilizing functions such as spell check, grammar check, etc. Dr. Puentedura argues that at this level, productivity actually decreases.
Augmentation: If we continue with our example of the word processor, then at this next level we would use its built-in features such as Spell Checker, word count, copy and paste, etc. Productivity or work flow might increase at this level, perhaps students can produce a finished draft more quickly using a word processor, but how has the tool transformed their thinking?
Notice the dotted line between the Augmentation and the next level in the model. This is meant as a target. When considering tools and tasks that integrate technology with learning, our goal should be to be above this line.
Modification: Again, if we consider the word processor as a tool, how could we modify the tool to allow for greater productivity? Rather than printing the file and sharing it, what if we integrated another tool such as email or drop boxes to publish and share? Or, what if we integrated a product or feature of another tool such as a chart from Excel, digital photos of artificats, etc. At this level, Dr. Puentedura claims, student learning begins to transform.
Redefinition: Here’s where my mind really starts to bend…In the redefinition level, technology allows us to do things otherwise impossible to create new products in new ways. Rather than a word processor where one student is authoring a product, what if students utilized Google Docs to collaborate in real time! This would not have been possible before. Students couldn’t work from their own houses from their own devices on a task at the same time. Now, technology allows for this level of collaboration and creation.
My colleague explained it to me much more simply…instead of old things in new ways, our goal is to shoot for new things in new ways.
I did some reflecting over some of the tools I’ve highlighted in the blog that meet this goal. Below you’ll find a list of tools and links to those blog posts that help us reach the Enhancement level of learning through technology.
My Big Campus
GoAnimate and Sock Puppets
I’m curious to hear your take-away after thinking about this model and how it applies to your decision making and lesson planning process. Limitations, drawbacks, confusions, applications? Leave your comment!
Tech Tuesday (again…late, by 6 days! oy vey…): Socrative.com
My apologies for my tardiness. Last week, I was able to demonstrate a fantastic mobile app and website that allows teachers to create response activities for students. The fifty or so teachers who sat in on my demonstration were so very patient with my technology flubs and mishaps. I promised to be more organized in my blog post, so here it goes!