I am in a bit of a conundrum and have a question that I seem to ask myself every six months. I look at the technology that I use in my class and what I see as being important to my students with becoming digital citizens and have to ask myself am I using all this technology to make a difference or just because it makes it all look prettier and engages the students in the same way that a PSP or Gameboy would? I know that the students I teach are born into a digital world and technology is part of their lives, but I need to ensure that the technology that is used enhances their learning instead of just coinciding with it.
I assume that if you are reading this that you are an educator so I want you to ask yourself the same question about your classroom and the classes within the school that you work. Is it all making a difference or just more engaging for the students? I have a feeling that if you are taking the time to read this that you are one of the few that are looking at technology as a way to enhance education and provide students with opportunities that were previously unattainable without modern technology, but how many classes in your school still use computers to publish stories and I pads to play maths and spelling games? With most schools the technology is in place, but the pedagogy behind the technology and the vision and understanding is not. We still use the term 21st Century Teaching and Learning, but in 2013 we should just be calling it Teaching and Learning.
Now I know that those of us who are the leaders of eLearners within our schools have only just reached the point where we have gotten the reluctant eTeachers on board or are still battling them to come to the party, but we still need to be moving forwards and improving our own practice and that of our colleagues who are thriving in the technological world alongside us. Now I have mentioned SAMR previously, but yesterday I came across the flow chart below and traced it back through Twitter to a man who I always get inspired by when I read his tweets named Mark Anderson (@ICTEEvangelist). This Flow chart, created and freely shared for our use by Mark, is the ultimate tool for use within a school as it is so simple in use, but instantly identifies if your chosen tool or lesson is at a low or high level in relation to SAMR and then provides you with a clear path for rethinking your choice.
Look at the flow chart, take it to your Syndicate and Staff meetings, get your colleagues to look at it to and evaluate their technology usage and maybe we will really begin to put all the technology that is within our schools to use in the way that it was intended.