Thursday, February 21, 2019

Digital Learning Day 2019

Digital Learning Day 2019 will be on February 28th this year!  What is it, and how can you participate?

Digital Learning Day was founded by the Alliance of Excellence in Education and was first celebrated in 2012. The mission of that initiative was to promote innovative teaching practices through digital means. The goal of Digital Learning Day continues to be celebrating all the various ways teachers are using technology in novel ways.

Teachers who are fortunate enough to have multiple devices in their classroom can celebrate Digital Learning Day almost any day, but Feb 28th might be a great time to try something new!

We at the Office of Technology and Learning want to use the advent of DLD to introduce a technology model that you may find useful: the SAMR model, created by Dr. Ruben Puentedura.

You may have heard of SAMR before, but we are here to help explain it to you! Something you should really understand is that SAMR is NOT an instructional model; it is a technology integration model. Dr. Ruben Puentedura's work and research certainly includes instructional design components, but SAMR should not be used as a measure of teacher or lesson effectiveness; instead, it should be used as a tool for teachers to help them assess where a particular lesson is in the SAMR model in terms of integrating technology into their classrooms.

Substitution and Augmentation

The first two levels of SAMR show that technology can enhance learning. With substitution, teachers use technology to simply substitute a more traditional lesson. Augmentation means that the technology adds some meaningful function to the lesson or task.

Consider this example: Writing a paper examining the causes of the Revolutionary War.
  • Substitution: Students simply type the paper with word processing software to substitute hand writing with typing. (There is no functional change for the students' task.)
  • Augmentation: Students use the capabilities of MS Word or Google Docs to spell check and grammar check their papers. (Students still type the paper, but the function has been enhanced by the technology.)

Modifications and Redefinition

The last two levels of SAMR show that technology can transform learning.  With modification, teachers are able to redesign the lesson or task because of the available technology, while redefinition implies that particular lessons and tasks were simply not possible before the technology existed.

Consider this example: Reporting on the causes of the Revolutionary War.

  • Modification: Students create and edit a video documenting the causes of the Revolutionary War. 
  • Redefinition: Students design and develop a virtual reality tour leading classmates through events that perpetuated the Revolutionary War.

Teachers should note that one task or lesson is not better than another, rather, the lessons simply allow for students to exhibit different skills and knowledge. Having said that, teachers can assess whether they are substituting or augmenting tasks and lessons or if they are modifying or redefining them. The slides below can give you some ideas about how you can try Modification as you continue to grow as an educator.

(Click the square "frame" to enlarge the slide show.)

If you are interested in learning more about Digital Learning Day, below is the webinar from last year's DLD:

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