Reading Reflection: Rethinking Education in the age of technology

The SAMR model as a framework for evaluating mLearning online learning

We do not have a “one to one” at our school. We typically have to bring a mobile cart into the class or go to a computer lab if we want to use computers during instruction. Doing this adds another level to technological integration that may not be worth the extra energy and time in doing so. As a teacher, I often question whether I should use technology in my classroom and that the cost of using out ways the educational gains. For an example, is there a paper method that may be just as good as the digital technology version? By the time I bring the cart in my room and boot up the Chromebooks, could I have just started right away with paper and pencil?

As a high school teacher, I see mobile phone ownership grow over the years. As of now, most of my students have a mobile phone. This degree of technological penetration is nearing saturation. The value of having these devices as a teacher is one of convenience. For situations that involved content consumption or basic content creation, mobile devices have made instruction easier. I can circumvent the extra step in going to the computer lab or not worrying about scheduling the computer cart. In addition to this convenience there are added benefits that has helped define mobile learning (mLearning) such as personalized, situated and connected (Romrell, Kidder & Wood, 2014).

SAMR stands for substitution, augmentation, modification and redefinition. It is a framework by which to evaluate the usage of technology in the classroom. Each word represents a level or degree of technological integration as well as gains in learning.

SAMR model and Google for EDU
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In the most recent article that I have read, “The SAMR model as a framework for evaluating mLearning,” the researchers use the SAMR Model as their framework for mLearning (Romrell, Kidder & Wood, 2014). A literature review of mLearning classify how each of these studies fall within the SAMR Model.

The overall conclusions made are based upon some of my opening thoughts. Is it worth it? Is it worth the extra steps needed to use technology for a particular learning experience? These are questions worthy of consideration if you are an educator or an instruction designer. One must decide the cost/benefits of technological integration. The answer would most likely be “yes” on the modification and redefinition end of the SAMR model. For the lower end (substitution and augmentation) may also be “yes” under the definition of mLearning. Further research should be done to help integrate SAMR and mLearning. With this research, a more certain “yes” answer may be provided for mLearning in an educational setting.

Romrell, D., Kidder, L. C., & Wood, E. (2014). The SAMR model as a framework for evaluating mLearning. online learning, 18(2). doi:10.24059/olj.v18i2.435

Technology Integration Matrix (TIM)

As a practicing teacher, I often question the usage of technology in my own classroom. The struggle I have is not necessarily in its value overall. For that I am sold. Technology is valuable for what I am doing. The struggle I face is assignment by assignment basis. Often, I ask myself, “How is this technology going to improve upon the experience?” “Will the assignment be just fine without the technology?” “Is the traditional paper and pencil method just as good or maybe even better than using the technology?” These are questions that important for educators to wrestle with as they go about their lesson development. Making an informed decision on this may be helped by a matrix called TIM.

A recent tool has come on my radar recent called “Technology Integration Matrix” (TIM). The guide was created by the University of South Florida’s College of Education. TIM is a guide that helps aid in decision making of technological usage and integration in the classroom.

The matrix (figure 1) consists of five by five characteristic grid. The top of the matrix is called the “Levels of Technology Integration”. This end provides the degree in which the educator will be using the technology into the educational experience. The left side of the matrix is called, “Characteristics of the Learning Environment”. This side of the matrix sets the type of common learning strategy that will be used with the learner.

Figure 1: Technology Integration Matrix

The website provide is extremely robust and goes way beyond the grid and provides very detailed explanation of every part of the matrix and helps educators understand how it can be applied into their classroom.

Link to the Matrix Page

Link to the Website