Friday, August 2, 2013

Reflection on a Summer of eLearning

The SAMR Model I created as part of my RUP
Wow, I feel like I just wrote the post that I was starting an online eLearning summer course, and here I am writing up a reflection on how it went. The summer went by way too fast!

My biggest takeaway from the eLearning coursework this summer is the SAMR Model. Having a framework to see where I am and where I need to go when it comes to technology integration was really eye-opening. I think it's just what I need to use with my colleagues to help THEM see what meaningful technology integration looks like, too. I plan to weave this in to the things I do and the professional development I provide this upcoming school year.

Because I want to introduce the SAMR Model to my colleagues this year, my Really Useful Project was a screencast I made of myself going through an introduction of the SAMR Model, and at each level, illustrating how Google Docs relates to the framework. We use Google Docs district-wide, and most staff are at least familiar with it, and many are using it or planning on using it. I thought using Google Docs to show what each level of the SAMR Model looks like would help them better visualize how to move up towards more transformational learning opportunities for students.

[Want to watch this on YouTube? Click the link here!] What's neat about the SAMR Model to me is that I realized other aspects from the course this summer, like discussions about student engagement and motivation, really goes hand-in-hand with this framework. While it may seem like a lot of work to transform the way you integrate technology and reach the higher levels of the SAMR Model, once there you're actually doing yourself a favor and making your life easier, because when students are working that that transformational level, they're engaged AND motivated, and the teacher is no longer holding their hands every step of the way in their learning. Students are driving their own learning and are getting a better idea of what the real world is like.

I appreciated the tools section; and though I feel like I curate a lot of resources and had heard of a lot of the tools presented already, I still picked up a few new ones that I plan to look into further. Hearing how others use resources, even ones I had heard about before, was helpful. I found myself pulling from discussions and things I had learned in this summer course (especially about motivation and engagement) when I presented a BYOD workshop just this week for our staff who came in for some summer professional development. I feel like having this course under my belt helped to make me feel more confident about helping others see how important it is to embrace technology in the classroom.

I'm looking forward to applying what I've learned (and keeping some things in the back of my mind as I work with others) this upcoming school year! It's going to be a great year.


  1. Lesley,

    How did you make your SAMR model video? I've seen so many of those screenshot & narrated videos that people have made for a variety of topics, but I have never found out how they do that. Do you use a video editing program like Adobe Premiere or is it more simple than that?

    I learned a lot from the SAMR model as well and every time I use technology I'm always looking at it through the SAMR lens to figure out if I can think of a way to ratchet up my lesson to a higher level of SAMR. I still find myself having a hard time differentiating between some of the levels, however. I struggle the most differentiating between the Augmentation and Modification stage. In the end, I'm not sure if it really matters. What matters, in my opinion, is that technology is being used at a level higher than Substitution.

  2. I too really found the SAMR model useful. I'm very visual, and it gave me a frame of reference for where I am and where I need to head next. It also helped me more realistically evaluate myself and where on the matrix I fall.

    Great video! Have a wonderful year!

  3. Thanks, Ryan and Julia!

    Ryan: I made the video using a software called Camtasia Studio. It's what I use at work to make and document tutorial video clips for staff on how to use various technology that we have, like their online gradebook, etc. I used Camtasia to screencapture and add in the arrows, boxes, etc. (There are lots of screencapture programs available - check out this site for some more ideas!

    The video itself was a combination of PPT slides (so all the intro stuff and in between) and then me demonstrating in Google Docs. I'd stop the video/recording between each demo/level of SAMR and then put all the clips together when editing. I hope that makes sense! Jing is a free program that does screencapture (up to 5 mins) and it's really easy to use - it's on that list in the site I linked above!

    Back on topic: I, too, struggle the most between Augmentation and Modification and coming up with clear differences and whether I'm in one or the other... but then I think you expressed my feelings well: what matters is that technology is being used at a higher level than Substitution. I have come to accept that not EVERY use of technology is ALWAYS going to be transformational/redefinition. And that's okay. It's okay to do SOME substitution. But striving to move up is important.

    Julia: I, too, am so visual! The SAMR model really was the biggest, most important piece of this course for me because I feel like I can SEE how it all works and how all aspects of the course work together because of this framework.

    Have a great year, you two!

  4. Does this mean you now prefer the SAMR model over the TIM?

    1. Joe,
      I didn't really have a preference one way or the other at first - one of my assignments for my summer eLearning class was to identify where I was on the TIM. But as you can see, I ended up really embracing the SAMR model. I think it's a bit simpler and easier to follow, and it really was more than a framework for integrating technology - it tied in to a lot of other things we had talked about in that summer course and just resonated with me. I think since we're just starting BYOD in our district this upcoming year, I thought SAMR was easier and made more sense to help teachers who are just getting their feet wet see the progression.

    2. Thanks for the reply Lesley! Great info. I train teachers on integrating tech into their classrooms and it's important to make things as easy as possible for them to ensure a high rate of success. If a teacher is further along in their progression could it possible to switch over to the TIM?

    3. Sure, I don't see why not. That makes sense to me, though I don't have any experience with that scenario yet. As an instructional specialist that feels pretty tech savvy and helps teachers in the district integrate technology, too, I still feel overwhelmed by TIM.