Tag Archives: digital citizenship

SAMR and Tech Integration

In my opinion, “Best practice” for Tech Integration is when it is natural and authentic, used to teach digital citizenship & literacy skills, embedded in all/many aspects of curriculum, developmentally appropriate and works to augment, modify and (ultimately) transform teaching and learning.

Does it always look this way?  Definitely not. Do I keep striving to make it this way?  Definitely yes.

Striving. Courtesy of Unsplash (no attribution needed)

I wasn’t entirely sure what my school’s belief of technology integration to be, and how closely my personal beliefs were in alignment. I asked another Ed Tech Coach at the school and we realised that we weren’t entirely clear on what our school’s philosophy statement was, or even where it might be located in our crowded Google Drive.

If I as a (new) Ed Tech coach am unclear, then there is a very good chance most other teachers (and therefore students and parents) are not, either. This is “clearly” something our Ed Tech team (along with Administration and Curriculum to aid teacher buy in) needs to revisit.

I recently I shared some of my “Tech Integration Comments” used in previous years in report writing with colleagues.  As I read through them, I  thought I had done a decent job at seamlessly embedding them into into each of our 5 curricular areas.  Mind you, our Early Years reports are already very transdisciplinary skill focussed rather than traditional subject focussed, but still, I’d managed to embed a Tech themed comment into each of the five areas: Communicator, Thinker, Self-Management, Social, Researcher.  

So when I read  Edutopia’s Technology Integration Guide Description :

“When technology integration is at its best, a child or a teacher doesn’t stop to think that he or she is using a technology tool — it is second nature. And students are often more actively engaged in projects when technology tools are a seamless part of the learning process.”

SEAMLESS. Tech integration at its best. Photo Courtesy of Unsplash. No attribution required.

And again, Kim Cofino’s post, We Are All Technology Teachers:

“I firmly believe that technology is best taught within the context of the core curriculum. The natural use of authentic technology within the classroom setting, just like the way we use paper and pencil without any second thoughts, is always what I’m striving for.

I couldn’t help but think I managed to achieve that in my classroom last year–at least some of the time 🙂  This year feels a bit different, being the Tech Coach, or the “iPad lady” or the “Seesaw Teacher” or the “IT” person.  I am noticing that tech is definitely not yet an embedded or natural practice within most of the classrooms I visit.  (Also I tend to cause mayhem and desperation when I do bring out iPads–the students often aren’t “allowed” to use them at other times.)

Kim also does a nice job likening our changed responsibilities with respect to EAL teaching –we are all EAL teachers, and expected to employ strategies and best practices used by EAL teachers….(simply giving oral explanations day in and day out isn’t enough.) She states:

“It’s the responsibility of the technology facilitator (or coordinator or integration specialist or whatever they may be called) to help their colleagues build their understanding of successful technology-rich teaching practices.”

I’ve been having some discussions with another Early Years colleague about the appropriateness of Technology integration in an early years, play based classroom.  I am constantly wrestling with the best way to do this.  I felt much freer to be spontaneous and try things and experiment when I was a classroom teacher.  Now I often have multiple discussions beforehand about a technique/provocation/app/introduction, etc. The extra discussion and reflection, however, can be beneficial.  Recently we were discussing the SAMR model in relation to best practices surrounding tech integration.  

I admitted to occasionally using an app as a simple substitution, or for consumption mainly (letter/shape recognition/addition practice games, for example).  Sometimes this is a place to start.  

Sometimes a simple Substitution (using a drawing app, like Drawing Pad rather than traditional pencils and paper) has its place and can easily become an Augmentation when used with intention. Of course, this is only one app, and like any tool–when used with intention it can be used to create something great, or, for simply playing about (always necessary when introducing an app).  It is hard, however, for young children to understand this difference, and as a teacher, to know when and how to guide/direct this intention in a play based environment.  

Arguably, there are many Augmentation features to using this particular app: Digital literacy skills are gained: learning how to locate, read and select appropriate symbols associated with different commands; deciding whether to save, share/export, or start over. With some guidance the stamp feature also becomes an Augmentation feature–children who are not yet able to accurately represent objects now can add the stamps to a background to create a much more detailed scene than they could have before. The children can quickly fill a page with rich colour to express a mood. Of course, they can do this with paper, too, but many young children give up this task before finishing as the amount of time and pressure required on their drawing utensil to achieve the same result is too much.

Pencils. An outdated technology? Photo Courtesy on Unsplash, attribution not required

pencils

Pencils. An outdated technology? Photo Courtesy on Unsplash, attribution not required

The downside when the app is viewed through the lens of simple Substitution: fine motor control relating to pencil grip and pressure on paper is lost.  I would argue a different (and equally important) set of muscles are required to draw with one finger, or to select tools, swipe, pinch, etc…which the way things are going with the ubiquity of mobile devices, these muscles will ultimately serve them more often.   

This potential loss of skill reminds me of AJ Juliani ‘s article SAMR is Missing a Level, where he describes E for elimination, located right at the top:

“What happens when technology is no longer “integrated” into what we do, but instead Eliminates what we do because of the advancement?”

He gives the example of school children no longer needing to learn the Dewey Decimal system in favour of Augmented Reality to help locate a book–or even more drastic–eliminating the need for libraries at the University level entirely–at least in the traditional sense– in favour of online journals.

The future? Photo courtesy of Unslpash, no attribution required.


I told my colleague, who was becoming more skeptical as to tech’s value in Early Years, that ultimately I was sold on tech integration when I began to see its true power in two areas–(where I saw us moving along the
SAMR continuum to modification and transformation) documenting and sharing learning in our class blog and when creating digital stories.

Passionate about Tech Integration. Photo Courtesy of Unsplash. No attribution required

I wrote a post a few weeks ago about my class’s learning journey with digital storytelling using Book Creator, ending with:

“This began our lengthy exploration into Stop Motion as a digital story telling tool and prompted the evolution of moving from ebooks to pure movie making magic.  Stay tuned for future posts regarding this process.”

I do want to describe/reflect on this a bit more…but not here, not now. I’ve got a Tech Integration Philosophy Statement to think about.

Digital Stories Revisited

In 7 essential skills that aren’t taught in school, there is an Andy Warholesque 15 minutes of fame kind of quote:

“Your goal is not immortality,

but a momentary piercing

of the ever-shifting zeitgeist.”

I would argue that one of these of these essential skills is being able to tell a story and spread your message not only digitally, but in a way as to engage and influence people.  

Pixabay attribution free image +google drawings

Pixabay attribution free image +google drawings

Last year, I began to explore this idea with my small group of Early Years students with a vengeance.

With only 7 children, and a relatively open curriculum, I had the luxury of working individually with each of them (or in small groups) on different digital storytelling projects throughout the year.  Using Book Creator, we began by creating class ebooks based on books read in class.

*Note: I am a huge Book Creator fan.  I have been introducing it to all the first grade students (and their teachers) this past week using this short presentation. Feel free to make a copy/download.

One of these ebooks was our own version of Todd Parr’s, “It’s Okay to be Different.”  Students thought long and hard about what made them different from other students in the class.  One said, “It’s okay to speak Spanish.” Another declared, “It’s okay to call your dad  Mausi.”

IT”S OKAY TO BE DIFFERENT:

Once downloaded as an epub to our ibooks library, and shared to our class blog, the students could view the digital book at any time, just as they might a real book.  They could then view and revisit the ebooks they had created on the ipads, on the desktop and projected onto the wall.

When revisiting their digital stories, I noticed that different digital viewing formats offered different possibilities and extensions of the learning experience. 

Projecting an ebook onto the wall initiated a re-arrangement of chairs for ideal viewing (theatre style.) This sudden re-arrangement of the room provided a provocation for different feelings and connections. The children suddenly felt the seating reflected a train journey, leading to a mini inquiry into riding trains.

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The viewing experience of projecting eBooks onto the wall prompted a completely new inquiry: riding trains!

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Students became focussed on creating their own tickets–those with little interest in print now had an authentic reason to practice their SBB’s. (Swiss Rail System.)

We projected clips of moving trains onto the wall and the children rehearsed packing bags , catching trains, and punching tickets…eventually making their own tickets, using the local Swiss SBB logo as our guide.

Of course this spin off was unrelated to our ebook…but the process of revisiting our work and the way in which we viewed the book prompted an entirely new and unexpected learning inquiry.

We also re-visited our Books as epubs in the iBooks library. (Books created on different iPads were eventually Airdropped onto all other iPads so the students could access all books on any iPad, acting as a traveling library.) The portability of the iPads allowed us to bring them to our Buddy classes.  We shared the stories with a wide range of ages—all of them impressed by our school’s littlest learners.  It also prompted discussion: “Wow, how did you do that?” and provided an opportunity for the students to develop their oral skills.  Other class teachers—viewing over the students’ shoulders, learned something, too and were motivated to create their own ebooks.

We also uploaded all creations to our class blog so they could be shared at home with family members, or at school assemblies.  All comments made by others were revisited in class, helping to build the confidence and perseverance to make more ebooks.

Finally, viewing the ebooks on the desktop helped build other skills—the understanding that different devices provide different views of the same thing, but perhaps more importantly– the patience and fine motor skills required for small hands to maneuver and click with an aging mouse!

With each new ebook we tried to blend a different app or or learn a new process.  

With our next ebook, we focussed on another element of our “All about me Unit”–our favourite things. The children explored the instant alpha tool in a separate photo editing app, Juxtaposer.  We developed our fine motor skills and attention to detail further as students carefully traced around a photo of their bodies to erase the background, before adding it to their favourite page in the book about favourite things. 

ALL ABOUT ME:

Next, we blended video, pictures and sound and tried out the (then new) comic book feature in Book Creator when we made a Quiet and Loud book.  The students needed to think of two juxtaposing ideas for the book–(doors are quiet, but slamming doors are loud…very challenging for 4 year olds–they needed help with this. )  Now familiar with the book making process, the students slowly began taking more ownership of the design elements of making a book—selecting the colours of their page, their font and basic layout:

QUIET AND LOUD:

It was around Thanksgiving when my fabulous Ed Tech Coach, Jocelyn Sutherland brought us an iPad stand.  We immediately jumped into playing around with Stop Motion.  She initially tried a simple claymation technique using playdough…

…which we eventually modified to create the word ‘Happy’ as the “intro” to our class Thanksgiving ebook.  The students developed many literacy and digital skills while making the “title page” alone–

  • letter recognition/formation–we created the letters we used to make the stop motion video in Letter School and learned to take a screen shot
  • importing screen shots into Pic Collage for easy printing
  • more letter formation using playdough
  • intro to spelling–that the letters that make up Thanksgiving must go in certain order
Early Years students learning Stop Motion movie making techniques from 5th Grade Buddies. Photo, my own

Early Years students learning Stop Motion movie making techniques from 5th Grade Buddies. Photo, my own

Interested students learned the process of making stop motion videos using Stop Motion Studio App with the help of our fifth grade buddies.  I documented the entire process in our class blog here.

This began our lengthy exploration into stop motion as a digital story telling tool and prompted the evolution of moving from ebooks to pure movie making magic.  I plan to continue to document and reflect on the learning process in future posts.

Collaboration? Too Busy Deciding…

The real question, then, is, “how much time are you spending deciding what to spend time on?”

To quote seth's blog link on another fellow coetailer Tricia Friedman's blog… inviting others to collaborate via student blog prompts….yikes, the META here is killing me!

Gave me something to think about… https://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2016/02/worth-thinking-about.html

(To quote  seth’s blog link on another fellow coetailer Tricia Friedman’s blog,  inviting others to collaborate via student blog prompts….yikes, the META here is killing me!)

The above quote seemed rather appropriate as I reflect on the amount of time I have spent thinking about this week’s post on global collaborations.  I am feeling a bit stuck, and a bit in awe, thinking about some of the example collaborative projects.

This video was shared in a comment by Emily Roth on one of my posts:

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bemDf6wuHJ0[/youtube]

The video shows a collaborative project involving seniors learning about the internet, facebook, youtube, etc. from some very helpful teenagers, and I was almost moved to tears. This particular project is perhaps not the ideal project for 4 year old expats living in Switzerland to take on, but inspiring nonetheless.

Finding that ideal collaborative project has been an-ongoing goal: I completely agree that (global) collaboration is a key component to 21C Learning, and have made it a personal/professional mission this year to simply begin by collaborating more often and with more teachers and classes at my own small school.  So far I have made the initial contact with several different classes, but I am hoping all collaborations will continue to develop, evolve and expand.  

connections

Connections and Collaborations are key elements of 21C Teaching and Learning

My Early Years students and I have collaborated with grade 1 on a variety of small projects using the iPads (Collaborative/Christmas Memories using Puppet Pals, Story telling with My Story.)  A really proud moment was watching a 4 year old showing the 6 year olds how to make a stop motion movie, to be used in their upcoming school play.

We’ve worked with grade 5 throughout the year, reading, baking, building, along with a few joint ipad app explorations.   We have a joint “Buddy” blog, but with so many other pressures, including our own class blogs, this venture has been a challenging one to maintain. 

Most recently, we have highlighted our class blog at assemblies and have invited comments from the audience.  I quickly typed comments from most of the students (we are a small school) on the spot.  I think all were happy to have contributed something, it wasn’t simply those who were presenting and showcasing.  This realisation also helped me to understand more fully the power of blogging and creating a shared (learning) experience.

Our newest collaboration is teaming up with grade 3 as “blogging buddies” who are learning about digital citizenship.  We are learning to make comments on one another’s blogs…something that isn’t without its challenges. My Early Years students don’t read or write yet, don’t have their own google accounts, need help scribing, etc. Currently we are meeting face to face, which perhaps defeats the purpose of an online collaboration, but we are learning that good citizenship skills are also good digital citizenship skills: we make appropriate, specific and positive comments and we are learning to ask questions, all of which help to get a possible conversation going… Thank you Jocelyn Sutherland for pointing me to this post: digital citizenship starts with face to face citizenship by Andrew White.

Screen shot of my Twitter Plead

Screen shot of my Twitter Plead

I am looking to expand on my students’ local, face to face collaborations, with more global connections, but am unsure of next steps and really do want to make it meaningful.  I have posted in Twitter using the hashtag #comments4kids, but simply finding an appropriate blog for my students to comment on first (as suggested on the comments4kids blog itself—-give and you will receive) is challenging–most I’ve looked at are text heavy and completely inappropriate content wise for my mostly EAL 4 year olds.  

CALCULUS-olga, olga shulman lednichenko, lednichenko, lednichenko-olga, olgalednichenko, lednichenko-olya, olya lednichenko, IMGAES AND PHOTOS OLGA LEDNICHENKO

What I ‘m seeing…
flickr photo shared by lednichenkoolga under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

What I'm thinking

What I’m thinking..(the kind of thing we do!)

 

I have received some nice feedback–(thanks online 6 cohort colleague, Linda Grunwald!) but have yet to find any real bites.  I suppose other educators like me, need a real purpose for the collaboration. People don’t necessarily want to collaborate simply for the sake of collaborating…just as we don’t always want/need to use technology for the sake of using technology….its use must be purposeful and integral to the collaboration.  

Which brings me to another, perhaps most promising and purposeful collaboration at our school’s nearby campus in Zug, Switzerland. Our small Lucerne campus is unfortunately closing at the end of this academic year and our students and many of our teachers will make the transition to our larger campus at some distance away. We have organised upcoming field trips to visit our new campus and make new friends, but I keep thinking another way to ease this transition is to begin a digital connection.   What that could look like, I am still trying to hammer out.  The next challenge will be to present the idea to my new colleagues on the other campus in such a way they can’t refuse.  I worry at resistance, as these are the same colleagues I will be coaching next year,  but I am hopeful…that this is exactly what we will “decide to spend time on.”

 

Getting “ahead” Legally

Living in Switzerland, and being on “ski” break this week I have had a lot of extra time to read and hopefully get “ahead” in the course.  I have been using my time to read a lot of blogs, leave comments on a few, save links and quotes for future blog posts.  My mind is literally spinning with ideas and my current trouble is narrowing down a focus for this week’s post and reflection.  Since I had too many ideas and a limited word count working against me, I am taking Ben’s advice and am splitting up the post I originally started.

Too many ideas, limited word count...

Too many ideas, limited word count…

My first error in thinking I could quickly “get ahead” on posts was assuming I could churn out several reflective posts in a day or two. I can do a lot of “consuming” of information in that time, but the harder part–the sorting, categorising, and consolidating aspect of reflection simply takes time.  I need time to reflect on all the new ideas.  I need time to seek out more information to see what I can find to further support and extend my new line of thinking.

 

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Me, being driven crazy by plug ins, widgets and posting to pages

My second error was assuming the “tinkering and playing around with my blog” would not be the time suck that Jeff promised it would.  I am being driven crazy by seemingly simple things (the digital equivalent of putting a paper in a folder, or in other words, adding my posts to a Page) that I haven’t yet figured out how to do simply–without altering code on a plug in (??? all Greek to me) as some tutorial I googled suggested- and wondering how to tap into my PLN for answers.   Of course, the more time it takes to tinker with the appearance, the more stressed I become that I am running out of time to focus on the actual content.

Now, I realise that in our visual world, the appearance of the blog is a huge part of the package, and just as important as the “content”–the medium is the message kind of thing.

Your message is only as good as your ability to share it.  

So, just as I am finally getting a little more comfortable with public sharing, and hoping that people actually do take a look, at  week 3 with no comments on my blog, I am a little disheartened.  But I have to remember my inner mantra form week 2…Networking is High Maintenance, and you get out what you put in…So, I am going to  step up my game in the karmic commenting department myself.  More on how that turns out later…

Spreading UK love…

 

And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.–The Beatles

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For the love…

The next part of the game plan to make more visually appealing blog posts is to find some good and legal sources for images…Pinterest had a zillion lovely memes for my favourite Beatles lyric, but I am not sure how legally I am allowed to share them.  I am loving the noun project but am otherwise wondering why is it that the nicest images aren’t found in any creative commons search engines?  I am also still figuring out how to best credit images…photos for class is great for being easy to use, but the embedded attribution really takes away from the visual experience.

 

 Yuck!  →→→→→→→→→→→→→→→→→→→→→→→→→→→

I am also learning from free technology for teachers about best practices for using images.   I know this week is supposed to be all, “Google+ and Twitter”…but I am actually all, “Sign myself up for free pics!” Woohoo!

 

 

 

Photo Credit: UK love, flickr photo by @Doug88888 https://flickr.com/photos/doug88888/3447152946 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-SA) license