Although I do not consider myself to be in any way old, I was actually allowed to play outdoors without adult supervision and climbed trees, I can remember a time before the letter ‘e’ was added to everything. Ebooks, Email, Elearning, Ecommerce, Epublishing, Enewsletters and much more. The the letter ‘E’ seems to have permeated the English language and indeed modern cultures to mean easy, new or convenient – BETTER? A more in depth analysis can be found here.
The marketing hype and developing cultural understandings of ‘E’ can easily fool teachers into believing that the simple act of turning on a laptop, handing out an iPad or loading a website makes Elearning, and this is new, faster, BETTER. Simply put this is not so. Doing something because it is new does not make it better, or indeed necessarily faster. Every teacher needs to consider the true impact of implementing or using any technology on the learners in their room. Fortunately the SAMR model is an elegant way of considering the impact of technology.
The SAMR model is not new to me and I regularly consider it when I’m choosing which tech tools to use in the classroom. If I’m being honest, I don’t frequently hit the redefinition end of the scale and I will sometimes be at the substitution end. I would say I generally hang around the augmentation stage. The important issue is that I have thought about the value of the tech to my children and this is something all teachers should be doing whilst planning to use any technology.
Redefinition can happen, and when it does it is wonderful. This year I have had two such lessons. Teaching in Ho Chi Minh City can be limited and with the rather hectic traffic, nearly impossible to take the children out of valuable field trips. There are tool great tech tools to combat this. One is Google street view. The list of amazing places that google adds increases daily but the one place I always use with my year children is in Antarctica. My class are currently learning about explorers and the moment and one we study in depth is Ernest Shackleton. The hut that he built over 100 years ago is still there preserved in perfect condition and thank to Google you can actually walk around it. My children were blown away!
The other place I like to visit is the Smithsonian museum. Their virtual tour is amazing. It is inconceivable that my children could walk around a museum like the Smithsonian. This site enables so much extra learning that would not really be possible without the use of technology. Seriously, you have to click this link. I dare you not be amazed!