Tuesday, September 11, 2012

SAMR,TPCK and The First 200,000 Years

Yesterday I was alerted via email  to the fact that Reuben R. Puentedura was presenting a short talk at the Australian Museum - brought to us  compliments of Apple. My diary had a free slot so I worked through lunch to get things done and headed off to the city. What a wise decision. To hear from Mr SAMR himself about the model that we often refer to when talking to teachers about integrating technology into student learning was a joy.
The model is a simple one, yet so integral to our thinking about contemporary teaching and learning.
Reuben spoke about the fact that we need to be more ambitious in our expectations of what we can achieve. We must think differently in order to see things in ways never seen before. 
We often hear ourselves, and others say, "its not about the technology - its about the learning." Well, I am now pleased to admit that, not only is it about the learning BUT it is, in fact, also about the technology. Without it we cannot achieve what is possible with it. I now feel I do have permission to talk about the technology and the integral role it plays in allowing people to think differently - and the profound augmentation of human intellect that couldn't be possible without the technology.
I rejoice at this thought and rejoice in the fact that I can share my joy with you in ways not thought possible in the recent past.
It is critical to keep this model at the forefront of our work with technology, mindful of the fact that we cannot expect everyone (nor ourselves) to be proficient at the top of the ladder when starting out. For some, it may take 2-3 years to progress from technology as a substitution tool to incorporating technology in transformative ways that redefine the way we think and work. The point is not to remain at the bottom. 
My hope is that I am able to support those I work with to understand the model and transform teaching and learning through the redefinition of tasks used in order to seek out and stimulate goals that are achievable and that allow students to think and act like never before.

This model, in conjunction with the TPCK model will hopefully guide our work for some time to come.

No longer is content king!
Traditionally, many teachers would look to content, then pedagogy followed by consideration of technology. This thinking locks teachers into the Substitution level of the SAMR ladder.
We must begin to think about these three components as peers.
Technology must be an essential component if learning is to be transformational. Try to think in parallel. Approximate your plans before locking them in.
By all means begin with the content, but don't go too far - 'rough it out' then move onto pedagogical considerations which will help shape it. Once again, before too much detail is locked in, look at the available technology to see how interaction with the world will cause a change in the process.
Caution: starting with the technology can be problematic as it can lock you in if you don't look carefully at pedagogy and content. 

Reuben's latest model - The First 200,000 years...

PS A great afternoon became interesting when, having spent a moment in the ladies' room at the end of the day I ended up LOCKED IN a small vestibule under the museum with no way out. The emergency exit doors were locked, the hosts had obviously left as I entered the restroom and did not have their mobile phones on, or loud enough, to hear my ring for help. After about 7 mins I was lucky enough to see an employee (who happened to be passing by) through the small glass pane of one of the doors. She let me out but I'm still not sure she understood that I was actually locked in.
I did manage to use my trusty iPhone to search for the museum phone number. Press 1 to hear opening hours, Press 2 ....etc.


  1. Priceless! You could've ended up as a museum display.

  2. Hey Michele, so glad you went. I sounds like it was moving experience. I went tonight and found it just as inspiring. Actually spent 15 minutes with Ruben after the talk having a one to one. We had a discussion about how we could model his ideas when rolling out a unit of work. He has some great ideas around this notion too.

  3. Thanks for this Michele, I really enjoyed reading it!! It is great to be continually challenged around what we are all immersed in all the time. I am sorry I missed the talk and it makes a refreshing change from SAS and Attendance packages and whether or not the M code actually registers as a Present not an absence!!!! It isn't all that bad!!


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