In regards to what I did, I, in a very straightforward manner restructured my lesson to in relation to the SAMR model that it fit into the “modification” category. I did so through a means of working within the mindset that I was in, during class when I worked to change how the students were interacting and sharing information with one another so that technology was incorporated. The technology that was incorporated most prevalently was e-texts in conjunction with their native capabilities. In addition I introduce the function of back channels and their uses for extended conversation and further conveyance of thought throughout classroom discussions, enabling students to interact and have a voice in a way they previously could not have. What I saw and heard during this exercise relates to the classroom activity where we worked collaboratively to restructure our lessons to meet an aspect of the SAMR model. In class I saw groups and more directly my group mates, interacting in a meaningful way to help one another understand the SAMR model and framework so that we could also design appropriate lessons that would have a meaningful and connected impact on our students. I saw each of us taking on the role of teacher and student and learning with one another in a very direct and effective way.
What I felt was nothing more than empowerment and joy during this exercise. I felt empowered after having collaborated in the classroom, I had developed a lesson previously that I was quite proud of and now I have taken it to the next level through the use of technology. Without this class and the input and feedback from my peers I would not have been able to do this. I still feel empowered as I can now utilize the SAMR model and will continue to do throughout my teaching career to create powerful and connected lessons for my students that allow them to learn in a way that embraces our ever advancing tech-savvy and tech-efficient world. Previously I felt technology had very limited uses in the classroom (especially the English classroom) but now I know that technology has a cornucopia of uses in the classroom (and as technology improves it will become even more fundamental in my literature classes). Because of this I have a great feeling of joy, joy in learning new things and joy in new accomplishments.
What this might mean is that as the world changes we must change as teachers, we must embrace the changes so that we meet the needs of our ever changing student populations and teach them in ways the empower them and lead them to success. The students of yesterday are not the students of today nor are the students of today the students of tomorrow. Technology is rapidly changing the face and practice of education and to ensure our students receive the best education we must be the best educators we can. To do so we must embrace all facets of the world and technology in all content areas. Just because something is foreign to us does not mean that we can shrug it off and act as if it does not have implications within our classroom, if we do so we are losing any and all benefits from it that these foreign concepts have to offer us.
In evaluating what I observed I saw strong success in the classroom. I saw us creatively adapting our diverse lessons in new and exciting ways to the SAMR model, from music to literature and even mathematics. Every student was engaged and every student seemed eager to help one another. I personally found it interesting within my group how fantasy sports could be used to teach math and how music lessons could be enhanced through websites such as Noteflight. These were things I would have never learned if it wasn’t for this class and this exercise, and through this I saw just how powerful SAMR is in creating engaging and exciting lessons. I found this to be incredibly useful and value the experience highly.
In planning how this information will be useful to me, I have already decided to incorporate SAMR into most if not all of my lesson plans to one degree or another. Most of my primary and secondary education was fraught with event where technology was either banned or feared in the classroom. It made me view technology as a secondary tool and computers to be glorified word-processors for papers. I didn’t understand how useful they could be in the classroom and I found this entire exercise and course to be a wonderful exploration into the multi-faceted uses of technology in the classroom. In order to ensure to the best of my abilities that students will be learning and achieving to the best of their abilities I will make lessons that encourage connected learning through the use of technology and through engaged activities that cause students to learn on a multi-disciplinary level. I don’t just want my students to master the subject matter of my content area; I want them to come out prepared for life in as many facets possible from my class. I want them to be able to connect the world to the text and see the benefit of reading the word and the world simultaneously with the benefits of integrating technology into their daily lives as a tool rather than a distraction. The only recommendation that I have is that all teachers be taught to utilize SAMR and the benefits of teaching in an engaged manner that embraces students as “iStudents”, so that we can work to build a better future for our students and the world at large.