Monday, June 22, 2015

Making it Better with SAMR

In a previous post titled SAMR Model: A bright idea for using Educational Technology I researched and presented what the SAMR model was all about.  I had a chance to apply the SAMR model to an existing unit of study that I teach in second grade.  My challenge was to analyze the existing components in a unit that I teach using the lens of the SAMR model and then modify the unit with new technology components.  Below is a quick refresher on the SAMR model:

I chose an insect research unit from our curriculum for this project because I had already added some new components to the unit last year.  This four-week research project is based on a Common Inquiry Process where students find answers to their questions about insects while researching a specific insect of their choosing. The choices of insects are intentionally limited to ensure that print and electronic resources are available, of good quality, and are as age appropriate as possible. Collaboration is encouraged for students who choose like insects.  Students begin by sharing what they know about insects and then learn about common traits such as body structure.  Students use a flow map to guide them through this project which culminates in presenting their research by developing a Google web site.

 I've put together a presentation on Prezi that outlines the current insect unit and the modifications I incorporated into the unit using the SAMR model as a guide.  Check it out!

Thanks for viewing my Prezi.  I've also included a document below that outlines this unit in more detail along with analysis and rational for the modifications using the SAMR model.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Google Earth and Virtual Field Trips

I have always been fascinated with geography.  Seeing different places and features of the earth is exciting and naturally evokes my curiosity.  Most elementary students share the same excitement and curiosity when it comes to seeing new places and learning about things near and far.  Google Earth and organizational websites utilizing interactive geographic software open up a huge resource for investigating places all over the world.  Teachers can use these resources to provide students with unique learning experiences in a wide variety of academic areas.  Google Earth is a free interactive geographic browser that interfaces with the internet.  Teachers can use it to take students on virtual field trips to places around the world; cities, oceans, mountains, volcanos, museums, even outer space!

At a recent educational technology conference, a presenter demonstrated how he used Google earth with his students to explore the White House in Washington D.C. .  His demonstration was fascinating and it demonstrated how easy it was to use Google Earth to explore the many rooms within the White House. As a introduction, he used Google Earth to show the exact path taken by the man that jumped the fence and trespassed into the White House.  Very cool!

Besides following sensational events, why use Google Earth in the classroom.  Here a graphic from SERC (Science Education Resource Center) at Carleton College that highlights the values of using Google Earth in the classroom:

Getting started with Google Earth takes some exploration on your own.  First, you want to get the application.  Then, it's important to learn about the features in this app and how to use them before using it with students.  Google has put together a collection of tutorials on the tools available in the Google Earth app.  One very useful tool is called Tour Guide.  Here is a tutorial on Tour Guide:

I'm excited about using Google Earth in my classroom.  It's a powerful application that can be used in a variety of ways to engage students in their learning.  From visiting the setting in a story that students are reading, to seeing what a volcano looks like when it erupts, or visiting the White House, Google earth is an amazing tool to have in the classroom. 

The following resources are helpful to learn more about Google Earth and virtual field trips:

Visit historical/culturally significant places and artifacts through the Google Cultural Institute

The White House through Google Cultural Institute

The resources above were also used in part for creating this blog post.

Monday, June 8, 2015

What is Digital Citizenship?

School safety is a top priority.  As educators, we work to ensure that our students are safe physically, socially, and emotionally.   With more and more media and technology in our student's lives, helping students be safe online and using technology responsibly is crucial to their development and well being.  

We live in a digital world where we interact digitally everyday. To be successful in this digital world we have to know what is right and wrong, be able to capably use technology, and exhibit responsible behavior when using it.  This is the concept of digital citizenship. 

To be a good digital citizen, you need to be digitally literate, and teaching students digital literacy is crucial for them to be good digital citizens.  Below is a video that offers some perspective:

In my school, we have focused on teaching digital citizenship to students beginning in the early elementary grades.  It's appropriate and needed. Well before kids begin formal schooling, chances are they have already had many experiences with media and technology.  So, what can an elementary teacher do to teach digital literacy and digital citizenship to young learners?  
Mary Beth Hertz, a k-8 Technology teacher in Philadelphia, writes about digital citizenship in the elementary classroom in two of her blog posts on edutopia.  These are good articles to begin thinking about teaching this topic: Digital Citizenship in the elementary classroom and How to to teach internet safety to young students .

Here are a few great resources I found for teaching digital digital literacy and digital citizenship with elementary students:

I hope this blog post and the included resources are useful to you and your students.  Thank you for reading!


Thursday, June 4, 2015

The SAMR Model: A bright idea for using Educational Technology

The S.A.M.R model is a tool for teachers to use for evaluating technology integration in the classroom.  It was developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura, the founder and president of Hippasus, a consulting firm that concentrates on applications of informational technologies in education.  He developed the SAMR model as a guide for selecting, using, and evaluating technology in teaching and learning.  I have found the SAMR model to be both enlightening and useful.  The SAMR model works similarly to Bloom's Taxonomy; moving up through the different stages in the SAMR framework are associated with higher levels of student learning and achievement. The frame work looks like this:

Dr. Puentedura equates his model to that of a ladder; climbing up the latter you move from enhancing lessons with technology (Substitution, Augmentation) to crossing a threshold by transforming lessons (Modification, Redefinition).

Here is a quick overview of the SAMR model:

I've put together a Screencast that further explains the SAMR model.  This presentation was developed with my school and colleagues in mind.  However, the presentation includes details and examples that could apply to many elementary settings.  

Thanks for your interest.  I hope the information I have provided and the presentation I developed are useful to you in your teaching practice.