Take Aways from What’s Next

Noreen Bush,  Ruben Puentedura, me, and Sue Skala with our SAMR Ladder

Noreen Bush, Ruben Puentedura, me, and Sue Skala with our SAMR Ladder

Last week, on March 26th and 27th, Noreen Bush, Sue Skala, and I had the opportunity to attend an event hosted by Apple in the Twin Cities called What’s Next: Transforming the Future of Learning.  This was an invitation only meeting for lighthouse districts (schools Apple recognizes as high functioning) to discuss how to increase the efficacy of one to one programs.  There were less than thirty districts invited to attend and each district was limited to only three participants.  College Community was the only Iowa district invited.  Apple brought in Ruben Puentedura, the creator of the SAMR model  for digital integration, and Damian Bebell, a pychometrician from Boston College who specializes in measuring the impact of educational technology.

I really wasn’t sure what to expect from the event.  It was a very small group (only about 50 educators attended) to have access to such highly regarded thought-leaders.  So, it was really cool to be able to ask questions of both Dr. Puentedura and Dr. Bebell as they came to mind.  We also had access to chat with them between sessions.

We spent a good deal of time processing the Puentedura’s SAMR framework.  The SAMR model is elegantly simple, but allows for depth and complexity and thinking.  It does not entail anything that’s really new conceptually, so it’s easy to learn.  But, SAMR provides a robust framework or lens that we can use to think about how employ digital tools and to what level of effect.  Noreen and I will be working with our digital literacy trainers this spring to bring them up to speed.  My guess is that we’ll be using the SAMR framework for our next iteration of the Plan on a Page.

Along these same lines, the highlight for me of the two days was when each district completed at SAMR Ladder for a local goal.  Sue, Noreen, and I decided to look at Goal #4 from our Plan on a Page to see if we could enhance it.  The Ladder activity requires the designers to map out each level of the SAMR model for the goal.   We were pleasantly surprised to be selected by Dr. Puentedura as one of two exemplars he choose to share with the rest of attendees.  I luckily had the presence of mind to tape his feedback for us.  As you watch the video, you might want to think about how this model might impact your next unit design.

Just to be clear, we don’t anticipate that we’ll get to the Redefinition level of the Ladder next year.  But, it gives us a roadmap on how to get there.  We’ll be sharing much more about SAMR in the upcoming months. This example does give a straightforward sample of how SAMR can be operationalized.  As always, feel free to post your thoughts or questions here.

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