Posted on August 30, 2011 by Ollie Dreon
I’ve been thinking a lot about how we integrate technology into our classrooms. I attended a presentation recently where the speaker talked about the SAMR Model. The model, introduced by Ruben Puentedura, demonstrates different ways that educators bring technology into their classroom. The model presents a hierarchy of integration phases that educators typically employ. For instance, educators can integrate technology as a substitution to something they typically have done. Maybe they replace their traditional chalkboard lectures with Powerpoint slides. In this situation, the technology acts as a direct substitute to the traditional method with little functional improvement. In other phases of the SAMR Model, Puentedura explains that educators integrate technology as an augmentation to previous practice. Here the technology acts as a direct substitute but with functional improvement. Maybe students are using word processing tools to complete projects. In the higher phases of the model, educators completely transform their classroom so new means of collaboration and communication are leveraged. For example, educators can integrate technology as a modification to their classroom practice, completely redesigning an activity so that students are now interacting in new ways. An example would be allowing students to collaborate through Google Docs on projects. Here, students are able to work together to edit and build on each other’s work.
In Puentedura’s highest phase of integration, educators integrate technology as a complete redefinition of classroom activity. Students collaborate with experts, author new content and publish their work to the world. In this process, the student’s role evolves from being a consumer of information and content to being a producer. Maybe students are blogging about their research or sharing their findings in a wiki. In a redefined classroom, the student isn’t just a passive receiver of information but an active participant in a worldwide forum.
As I’ve been mulling over the SAMR model, I think the hierarchy has some flaws. I don’t think the phases are as discrete as Puentedura proposes and I think the hierarchy lends itself to labeling some integration as better than others. I also believe that the representations of the model focus too much on tasks and tools and too little on the most important component of what we do: student learning. While the model has some issues, I thought it would be a great conversation starter and possibly provoke some thought.
For those of you starting school this week, have a great start to your school year.
Filed under: Collaboration, Communication | 3 Comments »
Posted on August 23, 2011 by Ollie Dreon
In the Web 2.0 world, collaboration is key! Our creative works are being shared with friends and colleague from around the world, whether through email, through social networking sites or through blogs. But sometimes, sharing can be difficult. Maybe I want to share a video or a large PDF with a few colleagues. Or maybe I want to share an audio file with my students. While I have many sharing options at my disposal, most come with a fair amount of risk. An email system could block my file completely. Social networks and blogs restrict certain file types and have file size limitations. Depending on how I want to share my files, I run the risk that my friends, colleagues and students may never receive the material at all.
Luckily, more tools are appearing online that can help make sharing files easier. Minigroup is one of these tools. Minigroup lets you create private web-based group pages for sharing anything you want. With Minigroup, you can post messages; upload or embed photos, video and music; or share any kind of file. You can also schedule events for the group to attend. Minigroup is a little like GooglePlus, but with a lot more security, privacy and customization. Like GooglePlus, Minigroup allows users to create multiple sharing groups and share different materials with each of the groups. A big difference, however, is that Minigroup allows users to have different profiles with different sharing groups. For instance, I can be called “Dr. Dreon” within my student group and be called “Ollie” within my friends and family group. This is a really nice feature for those of us trying to manage different profiles with different usernames across a host of sites. Minigroup is a one stop sharing location!
Built upon a social networking interface, Minigroup offers a free, easy to use option for students to share with one another. For those of us concerned about privacy, the media and materials shared within Minigroup are hidden from search engines and strangers. Unlike Facebook, there are no publicly visible groups to join. The only way to be in a group is to create one yourself or accept an invitation to join someone else’s group. Although it’s still in Beta, Minigroup would be a great solution for any educator who wants her students to share their digital creations with the rest of the class.
Filed under: Collaboration, Sharing | 2 Comments »
Posted on August 10, 2011 by Ollie Dreon
I found this video interview last week on the Chronicle of Higher Education’s website. In the interview, the moderator talks with four students from different schools about their professors’ use of technology in the classroom. The interview highlights the good and the bad in terms of technology integration. One student talks about how his professor held office hours through Skype to allow more access to students. Another student complains about a professor who was totally dependent on her Powerpoint slides, saying “PowerPoint is the apple in the Garden of Eden I think, to be honest. It leads down the line of temptation.” With Powerpoint, the student explains, some professors are tempted to dump text onto a slide without students being able to know how it all fits together. While the students’ opinions are being debated on the Chronicle website, I think their viewpoints are interesting and educational. As educators, it can help us to know our students’ point of view.
On a side note, the video also demonstrates GooglePlus’s Hang Out feature, where a group of people can video chat with one another.
Filed under: video | Leave a Comment »
Posted on August 2, 2011 by Ollie Dreon
Google Maps is one of the go-to applications that is part of my everyday life. It seems like I’m always pulling up Google Maps on my computer or my iPhone to find directions to a school, a restaurant or some far-off destination. In classroom settings, however, I haven’t used Google Maps that often. Sure, I’ve used ZeeMaps (which interfaces with Google Maps) to create a wiki map for students to share information across a class. I like using sites like ZeeMaps because the map evolves through collaborative student work. While a map created in ZeeMaps grows with student involvement, the end product is still a static map. A visitor can see the additions made by students but miss the evolutionary nature of the map itself.
Animaps, however, lets users create an animated map with markers that move, images and text that pop up on cue, and lines and shapes that change over time. Animaps can be shared with others where all of the animations can be watched like a video. Visitors can play, pause, slow and speed up the action. With Animaps, the map takes life and viewers can watch the action.
In a classroom setting, an educator could use Animaps to describe some historical battle to share with students. A science teacher could use Animaps to discuss the movement of landforms or the migration of animals. Beyond instruction, an educator could also use Animaps as an assessment tool where students create Animaps to discuss the events in a book or to show how different political events shaped history. Think of Animaps as a platform which draws on student creativity and can be integrated in almost any content area.
Be sure to check out the Animaps tutorial below:
Filed under: Google, Maps | 1 Comment »