Friday, May 20, 2016

SAMR: A Growth Mindset and Language for Technology Adoption

You have probably heard more about the SAMR Model this year than in previous years. That is intentional and it is an important step for educators across our system to develop a working understanding of SAMR.

My daughters play softball. League rules indicate that teams do not keep score. They do not post innings or publicly display a clock. All of these are for clear and understandable reasons.  

And guess what most players and parents watching ask themselves and others (and sometimes the umpire) throughout the game.  Yep, you got it!  What's the score? What inning are we in?  How much time before the game ends?

It is natural for us to want a clear sense of where we are in the bigger picture of almost anything. Ambiguity is disheartening, confusing, and saps our inherent motivation to improve.

 For something as big and versatile and individualized as using technology to support, enhance, or transform teaching and learning, it is REALLY hard to give us a bigger picture of how well we are doing in adopting and using those tools. The SAMR Model aims to help us understand where an individual use of any technology or tool might fall in regard to what we did without the tool in place, or by using the tool differently than we did before.

Marisa Nathan, Michelle Murray, Paula Congdon, and Bob Blessington
celebrate earning their SAMR Calibration mini-credential after
completing a SAMR Calibration walk at Hadfield Elementary School.
If utilized properly, SAMR gives us the foundation for talking about how technology supports, enhances, or transforms what students and teachers do in the classroom. And that is exactly why you have heard more about it this year in our system.  SAMR is becoming our common language and our common understanding, regardless of what we use or how we use it. That is powerful!

If you have not yet dabbled in SAMR, there are some great ways to get started.

In just under 4 minutes, you can jump start your understanding with The SAMR Model Explained by Students.  This cursory overview will help you to get a working understanding of SAMR in just a few minutes.

The Instructional Tech Coordinator team has also developed a SAMR Self-Paced TDP course for all staff to engage in learning and conversations around SAMR. Look for upcoming announcements about TDP enrollment opportunities.  This course would be good taken individually, great with teaching partners, or an excellent collegial study at your building.