Tag Archives: eLearning

The SAMR Model

12 Jul


SAMR, most basically, is a technology integration model for educators developed by Dr. Ruben Puntedura.  It outlines four categories of technology integration as in the diagram above.

While I’m still striving to transform many aspects of my instruction with technology, I now recognize the enhancement levels are completely appropriate for a number of tasks and occasions.  In fact, I still appreciate the “no technology” level at various times as well. The key, I believe, is matching technology integration to pedagogy or purpose. This has been fundamental to our journey.

Substitution: Technology is a direct substitute for what was done before; the core idea of the task remains the same

  • Students annotate an article with MS Word–they highlight, insert comments, and keep it for later use with a writing project→ Though done in a digital format, the annotation task and resulting product remain the same
  • Students complete and submit an exit task in Classroom; the teacher scrolls through the responses and makes mental notes of what to re-teach tomorrow→ Again, though completed digitally, the feedback loop remains the same as what was with scratch paper responses submitted as students walked out the door.
  • PowerPoint being used by staff instead of a blackboard.

It is important to reiterate to staff that LwDT is more than substitution.


The Transition for Students

2 Jul


At present the body of my work is completing scholarship applications for school leavers and advising these school leavers on their next steps. It got me thinking that secondary school dies not prepare a student in any way for university. They are as different as Super Rugby and the Olympic Sevens. I think this for the following reasons.

  • The timetable. No university has any class meets every day; no university schedule requires a student to be in class every hour of the school day. Some classes meet for two or three hours at a time. And the choices, don’t get me started.
  • Online work. In most of today’s university courses, there is a significant online component to the course. It is up to the student to be proactive to use it. It is in most cases it is part of the assessment.
  • Reading. The expectation in all courses in the sciences, history, philosophy, and social sciences is that students will have to do some significant primary-source reading (and writing on it). The anticipation in all courses is that students know how to read analytically and critically.
  • Being organised. Professors will not seek you out if you are doing poorly. The expectation is that you will go for help, find study partners, seek assistance from tutors and special programs, etc. on your own.
  • Homework expectations. It is assumed in most universities, according to most calendars I have read, that for every hour in class a student is expected to work at least an hour outside of class on reading, writing, research – often more.


What do you think? Are we really preparing our student for the next stage well?

Lets Be Connected

22 May


Ka rongo, ka wareware

Ka kite, ka mahara

Engari, mā te mahi ka mōhio.

I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, but through doing, I know.


Last year while on secondment to NCRS I did some presenting to groups and reflecting on teaching practice. Everything I did centred around our teachers raising student achievement. It reminded me about the importance of being a connect educator. I hope I brought this back to my own environment.

Overall a connected educator at Sacred Heart Girl’s College knows how to grow as a professional and to empower each other and their students to build their own personal learning networks to learn using the technologies that are available. Much is learnt from each other, with each other, and with the classes that they teach.

As part of my appraisal, one of my guiding principles is Whangaungatanga or connectedness, Kaitiakitanga or Guardianship and Manaakitanga or Generosity of spirit. These all deal with connectedness.

Kaitiakitanga – Guardianship

Ensuring sensitivity and thoughtfulness of actions in environments both local and distant.

A connected educator at Sacred Heart Girl’s College knows how to build their community of practise that has active participants like guest speakers and where everyone co constructs knowledge. A great example of this is uLearn16 or #edchatnz or subject associations meetings.

Whanaungatanga – Connectedness

Being connected requires learners to develop a secure sense of their own identity and agency to think and work towards where their potential might lie.

Sacred Heart Girl’s College is already a strong learning community that collaboratively constructs knowledge to form a foundation for learning. A connected educator at Sacred Heart Girl’s College knows how to use the managed online tools to find people and how to connect with them. They think carefully about the dynamics of interactions.

Manaakitanga – Generosity of spirit

Developing the ability to walk in others’ shoes which includes seeing issues from others’ perspectives and thinking carefully about the dynamics of interactions.

A connected educator at Sacred Heart Girl’s College knows how to use and take the tools from their kete to move their practice forward. They know how to get the learning needed to improve the craft of teaching. A connected educator at Sacred Heart Girl’s College knows how to use pedagogical eTools.  They know how to bring back what they have found and learnt online and share it with their school community via a reflective educator blog. Personal learning is transparent, visible and accessible by all.

Ka rongo, ka wareware

Ka kite, ka mahara

Engari, mā te mahi ka mōhio.






Flipped PD

22 Feb


I have been thinking a great deal about the flipped classroom professional development I am running at present. Some teachers at school asked me recently asked if I had some tips. SO here goes:

Set rules

You could probably call this a policy, but it’s the non-policy policy—just some basic rules and a common language to make sure everyone is starting and finishing at the same point.

Diversify professional development sources

Less about experts and more about staff capacity. To achieve a self-sustaining, always-on operation, it has to be has to be turned over to the teachers through dozens of sources, from books and  resources to blogging and social media.

And not all teachers will be chomping at the bit to hop on twitter to beat the bushes—so give them somewhere to start. Maybe a challenge during a staff meeting:

Look for a variety of resources, a book,  articles, or a streaming webinar. Then find an elegant way to curate and share it all with the school.

Create a pilot

Pilot it in one department  to work out the bugs, the factors you didn’t consider, and to better understand how it might work yourself. You may find this new open approach to PD confuses folks, and that’s okay. Simply go back to steps one and two. Our Maths department was brilliant at this.

Connect teachers

Connect teachers from different schools even in different countries—to not only improve the diversity of resources, but naturally expand professional learning networks in the process. These connections will catalyze the effort as you move on. Relationships and curiosity are awesome.

Developing eLearning skills

5 Jan

Technology is an immense tool that can transform the way students learn. My eLearning skills are those that I wish to develop this year. Not so much one particular tool but more the way I approach these tools and how they complement the way I teach. One of my favourite quotes which demonstrates this comes from Steve Jobs:

“What a computer is to me is it’s the most remarkable tool that we’ve ever come up with, and it’s the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds.“

To me, this quote best illustrates the potential impact technology can have on learning. However for this impact to be felt, technology needs to be used effectively. To help with that, there are various models available, one of which is the Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition Model (SAMR for short)


The SAMR Model (above) was developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura. It enables educators to analyze how effective their use of technology is on teaching and learning. The model ranges from Substitution to Redefinition and the supposed impact on learning at the higher levels is greater. It can also be broken down further into two main categories, Enhancement and Transformation:

– Enhancement (Substitution and Augmentation) – technology is used just to enhance a task

– Transformation (Modification and Redefinition) – tasks are designed in a way which would not be possible without the use of technology

I see so many teachers using eTools successfully in the classroom but many are just tapping the surface by only getting as far as substitution. In a later blog I discuss this further. For the time being my skill to be developed this year is to go deeper into this model.

What skill do you want to develop this year

Richness of LwDT

4 Jan


LwDT can form an engaging platform for teaching and learning, with the potential to expand the realm of the classroom. A useful tip is that a phone can be the most useful and common device. Functionality and context are key considerations when selecting web sites and applications.

Mobile devices and their apps can provide utility and flexibility in a compact, portable package. Among the options available are:

GPS and other location-based functionality

Video, audio, and still image capture

Mobile networking and collaboration

The ability to bridge to other tools and data

Scanning and data logging in the field

Visual and audio recognition

Screen readers, slow keys, text to speak, and other accessibility features

The portability and convenience provided by mobile devices enables instantaneous connections means a richness added to learning.

How have you enriched your teaching using simple LwDT?

Skype as a Tool

1 Jan


Teachers are good at becoming experts in a wide variety of subjects, but it’s always nice to be able to bring in the outside perspective of someone more experienced with the topic you’re covering in class. Over the years I have spent a great deal of departmental money on bringing in experts. Experts in various professional fields have a tendency to be busy, making it hard for them to commit to an in-class visit. But a Skype call’s much easier to fit into a packed timetable.

Calls with experts can be set up as a Q&A or more of a lecture, depending on what you prefer. You can give students the assignment of doing some research and coming up with questions in advance, so they have an opportunity to interact with the expert and learn more. This can take a lot of different forms depending on the subject you’re teaching. A professional artist can do an art critique of your students’ work in class. A musician can provide an informal music lesson over Skype. A museum curator or university lecturer or local personality can discuss different items in their collection, saving the time and money of a field trip.

You can always get more out of these interviews by giving related assignments to students. You can have them summarize what they got out of it in a paper, short video, or podcast. Indeed podcasts are great. The stuff podcast are especially good. Or ask them to create something related to what the expert discussed, like a piece of art that would fit into the collections at the curator’s museum.

Well then Skype has so much potential and I hope to develop it in 2016. What was a tool that you had success with 2015 in the classroom?

My Favourite eLearning Tools

30 Oct


1. Socrative
Socrative can be used for quick quizzes and also on the fly, as I’ve already shared. Here’s another feature. Before class, I create quizzes that we can play as a game called Space Race. The website automatically divides the class into teams. Kids know what color team they’re on and can look at the rockets racing one another on the board. I don’t always record the grade, particularly when I know I have more teaching to do.
The advantage of Socrative is that it gives me percentages that I can use as a grade if we’re ready for that. You can even use it for traditional quizzes if desired.
2. Kahoot
Kahoot lets us build fun quizzes. Students use computers, cell phones, or other devices to join in the game. You can create flashcards for review. You can also embed videos and use Kahoot as part of the teaching process, or students can create review games to share. One disadvantage is that students can use aliases. While I can see overall how the class is doing, unlike Socrative, I can’t see the patterns of which unfamiliar nickname is struggling.

What are some of your favorites?

Flipped Classroom Tool

13 Aug


The flipped classroom describes a reversal of traditional teaching where students gain first exposure to new material outside of class, usually via reading or lecture videos, and then class time is used to do the harder work of assimilating that knowledge through strategies such as problem-solving, discussion or debates.

In the flipped classroom, the roles and expectations of students and teachers change where:

  1. students take more responsibility for their own learning and study core content either individually or in groups before class and then apply knowledge and skills to a range of activities using higher order thinking,
  2. teaching ‘one-to-many’ focuses more on facilitation and moderation than lecturing, though lecturing is still important. Significant learning opportunities can be gained through facilitating active learning, engaging students, guiding learning, correcting misunderstandings and providing timely feedback using a variety of pedagogical strategies,
  3. there is a greater focus on concept exploration, meaning making and demonstration or application of knowledge in the face-to-face setting.

My favourite tool to in the classroom is Movenote. Movenote is a great free tool that integrates nicely with Google apps. With Movenote, you can easily present your documents with video and/or voice. You can also use a pointer tool to highlight particular parts of the presentation. I tend to use Movenote when I have templates using Google docs or presentations. I can then explain in detail how to use the templates, highlighting specific parts as I explain. Movenote then hosts the videos that are created, and I can either embed them on my site or use the link so students can watch the instructions anytime that they need to.

I Can’t Accept: Part Two

8 Aug

No Way

I can’t accept and continue to allow educators to believe that integrating technology into instruction is optional. As individuals, we can choose to ignore the influence of technology in society, but as educators we are robbing our students of experiences they will need to be successful.

I can’t accept that we have one of the most important jobs in the world.

I can’t accept and continue to think that learning is limited to what happens within the four walls of a classroom. Learning happens everywhere.

I can’t accept and can’t allow ourselves not to be held accountable. We as the educators are responsible for what happens in our schools, and it’s that responsibility that makes working in education awesome. #Justsaying

Do you agree on these?


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