Inspired, I decided to attempt a crowd-sourcing activity with my Grade 7 students, to see if I could make their collective learning visible to the class. We'd been learning about Heat in the Environment, and students were completing independent research assignments about a "big question" they had co-developed with peers and -- in some cases -- teacher guidance.
I used a padlet to collect students' discoveries to date; each group posted videos and general information about what they'd been learning, and as they did so, I tried to respond with specific questions to help them clarify, deepen or broaden their thinking. In this way, all groups' summaries to date, as well as my related responses, were visible to everyone.
I noticed that a number of students began to access videos and weblinks that other groups had posted on our Padlet, and I marveled at how readily we were able to collectively share resources!
In particular, I am interested in how digital immigrants begin to effectively incorporate technology into their instructional repertoire in transformational ways. Or, to put it more simply, how old dogs like me learn new tricks!
Something that perplexes me is how we define the various tasks we old-timers attempt... it's all exciting and new to us, but is it transformational? For example, my Science Padlet allowed for ways of sharing information effectively in a manner that would previously have been inconceivable... but did that really place it into the "redefinition" category, or was it merely a fancy, digital chart paper recording our class's thinking, and therefore, simply "substitution" on the SAMR ladder?
Not only is there plenty of commentary about what SAMR is and how it can be used in the context of professional learning and self reflection, but there also exists now a number of handy visuals to provide us immigrants with an overview of where we might be in the general scheme of things.
For example, if I consider the overview provided below, I can see that I am moving forward along a jagged front. For Note-taking and Presentation in my Math class this year, I am firmly in the Augmentation stage, whereas in in Assessment I have dabbled in Redefinition, and in file sharing I am ashamed to confess my residency in Substitution.
Although defining my early foray into the digital world often proved vague, it was without question a one-way street forward. My early experiments with things like Padlet, Kahoot and Explain Everything in class were at best clunky... but increasingly, I am coming to see this awkward imperfection as a necessary first step for early adopters and hesitant converts alike.
Regardless of which rungs we find ourselves hanging from on the SAMR ladder, the ditto machine and overhead projector are gone, my friends, and they are not coming back. There is only one direction in which to climb, and that direction is up!