There are a lot of events happening in the world today that give people cause to complain. However, what's more productive is to offer solutions with those complaints. In this blog post, I talk about how to teach students to engage in civil discourse as a means of resolving conflict and finding real-world solutions. Click through to read the whole post and download a free lesson!
What is talking about a problem without offering possible solutions? Complaining.

Sometimes, it's okay to complain. It can be cathartic, and it's okay to talk through our disappointments, but if complaining is all we are in the habit of doing when faced with a problem, then nothing ever gets solved.

I've been hearing a lot of complaining lately about riots, violence, terrorism, natural disasters--all things we should be complaining about.

But my contention is that we need to guide our students to kick complaining up a notch and learn to offer solutions for their complaints. This is called problem-solving, a vital skill that can help transform feelings of helplessness into something more productive. I have a free lesson below for you that I'd really like your help with. What would you add, keep, and how did it work in your classroom? We had AMAZING discussions in my class, but that's a small piece of the puzzle.

In order to become adept problem-solvers, our students need to be willing to listen to opinions that conflict with their own. But this seems to be very difficult for everyone, adults and young people alike.

There are a lot of events happening in the world today that give people cause to complain. However, what's more productive is to offer solutions with those complaints. In this blog post, I talk about how to teach students to engage in civil discourse as a means of resolving conflict and finding real-world solutions. Click through to read the whole post and download a free lesson!The students of today have come of age along with social media. Social media offers us a chance to be heard and to connect with others on a scale unimagined by previous generations. Social media has rendered C. Wright Mills's "Power Elite" virtually obsolete (the government officials and corporations who had the loudest voice in the past).

Revolutions have begun as a result of social media--think the Arab Spring (withholding comments about its outcome). Citizen reporting has become a thing because of social media--think Periscope and Facebook Live.

But there is a dark side to social media--a tendency to be exposed only to opinions that perpetuate our own. We don't get the whole picture that way. We begin to see individuals as the sum of their views. That is, if somebody holds an opinion contrary to our own, they are the "other"--untrustworthy, evil.

It's no mistake that this has happened. It's not a vast Orwellian conspiracy leading us all down these blissfully narrow paths. It's simple economics.

Social media outlets are not charitable organizations, but corporations whose primary concern is the bottom line. That bottom line is met through advertisements. Advertisements are targeted at social media users. If we don't visit their platforms, advertisers stop giving them business. If advertisers stop giving them business, they lose money (the new power elite?).

So, in order for any social media outlet to make money, we have to keep coming back to see their ads. We are more likely to return if what we see reinforces our existing views. They know what our existing views are because of our posts, likes, shares, and those very un-delicious browser cookies. Therefore, they have developed algorithms to ensure that our existing opinions pop out at us the most when we visit their sites.

Whenever conflicting opinions pop up, they have typically already been harangued and vilified by others of our mindset. And so confirmation bias sets in. And so we keep going back to Facebook, Twitter, Snap Chat, Instagram, whatever.

That is great for social media corporations, but disasterous for our democratic-republic.

Students need to be aware of this issue. They need to understand that conflict is a vital part of life--it introduces us to new perspectives. It allows us to grow. If we shield ourselves from conflict, we are also shielding ourselves from knowledge, from relationships, and from citizenship.

Opening ourselves up to conflict is important but so is our response to it. We must truly listen to opposing sides. Then we must counter (if we choose to do so) with logic, reason, and civility. Vitriol doesn't change minds, it leads to defensiveness.

Do I advocate moral relativism? Not remotely. Do I advocate standing up for your beliefs in the face of obvious injustice? Absolutely.

There are a lot of events happening in the world today that give people cause to complain. However, what's more productive is to offer solutions with those complaints. In this blog post, I talk about how to teach students to engage in civil discourse as a means of resolving conflict and finding real-world solutions. Click through to read the whole post and download a free lesson!
GET THE LESSON
But there is a civil way to do it. A way that employs logic rather than name-calling. A way that acknowledges the dignity we all possess as humans and is founded on the principle that we are more than our political views.

The lesson I use to introduce these ideas is simple. It takes two traditional periods or one block class. I used it as a unit challenge for my gamified classroom, but it makes a good mini lesson for any social studies or ELA class (change the unit topics to ones from, say, a novel).

You can grab an example of it HERE (feel free to customize for your classroom), but it basically goes like this:

***NEVER show film clips without previewing them first to make sure they are appropriate for your class.***

Day 1:
1. Bellringer: What rights are we guaranteed under the First Amendment? Explain which right you
believe is the most important.
-Discuss, and then project THIS summary of the First Amendment on the board. Show Clip 1 and Clip 2. Discuss whether or not either of those instances are examples of an expression of or a violation of the First Amendment.

2. Read the handout as a class and go over the rubric. Make sure the students understand that there is no right or wrong answer here. They are problem-solving and being creative. So that they feel free to explore, I don't make this a major grade, nor is there a product attached to it. They are simply discussing, writing their thoughts in an organized fashion on notebook paper, and then sharing with the class.
There are a lot of events happening in the world today that give people cause to complain. However, what's more productive is to offer solutions with those complaints. In this blog post, I talk about how to teach students to engage in civil discourse as a means of resolving conflict and finding real-world solutions. Click through to read the whole post and download a free lesson!
GET THE LESSON

Day 2:
1. Bellringer: What is the biggest problem facing our society? Explain why you think so.
-Discuss, and then listen to THIS interview. After it's over, ask students what they thought about it, what stood out to them the most, and how it's an example of bravery and civil conflict in action.
2. Give each group a few minutes to share and discuss their answers from the previous day with the class.
3. Closing: Have students complete the exit ticket about civil conflict and problem-solving.

This isn't a glitzy lesson--there are no bells and whistles. But it is a lesson that asks students to think about problems, offer solutions, and to also consider that individuals are more than their political opinions.

What do you think? How do you get your students to problem-solve, interact, and express compassion? Please let me know in the comments below--I'd love some new ideas!

For my fourth post in my Summer Professional Development series, I'm talking about using gamification for classroom management. You might be wondering why I'm advocating games for behavior control, but that's not quite it. Click through to read how we can adapt gamification to the classroom.



What is Gamifying?

 
Gamifying is fun. It’s incentivising. It’s a classroom management strategy. Gamifying is the way many apps, programs, and even businesses are starting to work. 
For my fourth post in my Summer Professional Development series, I'm talking about using gamification for classroom management. You might be wondering why I'm advocating games for behavior control, but that's not quite it. Click through to read how we can adapt gamification to the classroom.

Gamifying is not simply playing games in your classroom.


In short, gamifying is incentivizing desired behavior with points, levels, and rewards. Let’s say you teach a math class, and you want your students to bring their notebooks and pencils (or 1:1 devices) every day. Give them a point for doing that.


These points don’t go into the gradebook, though. They’re part of the larger game around which you have structured your classroom. After a certain number of points, students will move up a level, or “level-up.” Each level holds with it a desired privilege. That privilege can be a simple reward or “skill” that the student now possesses. Each level is associated with a badge.


This is how video games work. It’s how various apps that incentivize weight-loss and healthy lifestyles work (think about the badges you earn on your Fitbit). This is the way many offices work, as well, so it’s no wonder that classrooms are headed in the same direction.


Why Gamify?

I’ve been in the classroom for 15 plus years, and I believe I have a pretty good grasp on the management side. I’m good at developing a rapport with my students and at making my lessons engaging (I hope). What’s more, I’m not a very organized person, nor am I a gamer.


So why does gamification make sense for me?


Gamification is the direction the world is heading for a very simple reason--because it works. It works because it combines the right amount of collaboration with competition. It recognizes progress over grades, effort over results. It makes it okay to try and fail because badges, rewards, and recognition come from the effort--the process. We don’t always have to be perfect in a gamified classroom.


I hate exercising, but I know I should do it because it’s good for me. But that knowledge had not been enough to get me to do it in the past. When I bought a Fitbit, I could see tangible results for the progress I had made. I would earn badges for taking extra steps. Seeing the steps my friends had taken on a given day encouraged me to take more. I’m cheering for them, but I’m also competing with them. I may not see immediate physical results from taking 10,000 steps in a day, but I will see fireworks on my Fitbit.


Those fireworks give me an immediate sense of accomplishment, and I want to keep on because that makes me feel good. Accomplishing goals, solving problems, working with others, and being recognized releases the dopamine that encourages me to keep going--even when I don’t necessarily feel like it.


Transferring this idea to your classroom can make your students feel the same way.

It might seem overwhelming at first, but it's definitely worth it in the long run. Below I've listed resources that will help you get started gamifying today.

Resources for Learning More about Gamification


For my fourth post in my Summer Professional Development series, I'm talking about using gamification for classroom management. You might be wondering why I'm advocating games for behavior control, but that's not quite it. Click through to read how we can adapt gamification to the classroom.
Get it HERE!
This is my simple method, complete with instructional video, organizational spread sheet, note and planning sheets, editable classroom templates, and example. You can use classroom technology...or not.

This video explains why gamification is the wave of the future in the classroom, office, and beyond.

This article provides specific ideas for gamifying your classroom.

Here are examples of gamification in the classroom.

Classcraft is a great tool for gamifying--especially in middle school. Most teachers I've spoken with find it a bit complicated but like it once they learn how to use it.

Remember...

For my fourth post in my Summer Professional Development series, I'm talking about using gamification for classroom management. You might be wondering why I'm advocating games for behavior control, but that's not quite it. Click through to read how we can adapt gamification to the classroom.We need to model for our students that true learning doesn't just happen. It takes hard work, it takes starts and stops, it takes failure....

Success doesn't come from playing it safe, but standardized tests and grades in school reinforce in our students that it does.

It's time to turn that notion on its head.

Since I don't tie gamification in my classroom to grades, it helps students do just that: Take risks. Fail. Try again. Be creative.

Students earn experience points (XP) by coming to class prepared, being on time, completing creative extension assignments, problem-solving, coming in for extra help, retaking tests and quizzes, and so on.

Gamification naturally fosters a growth mindset.

So don't be afraid to try gamification. It won't be perfect at first, but that is how we learn.

Do you gamify? How do you implement it? Leave a comment below and let me know!






 
As part of my Summer Professional Development series, I've got the third post for you, which is all about how to turn your vacation into a lesson. Learn how to use a choice board to help students use technology to get to know one another and share about their summer vacations. Click through to get the full tutorial!
This is the third post in my summer professional development series. So far, I've written about Infusing Tech One Lesson at a Time and Easy Tools to Techify Your Classroom.

This week, I want to consider how to turn summer vacation into a back to school lesson. But not just any back to school lesson--one that serves a dual purpose:

1. Allowing the students to get to know you and one another
2. Introducing technology tools that the students will be using all year long.

First, I have written about the back to school activity I have created. Then, I have offered a short guide for you to use in creating your own.

How I Turned My Vacation into a Lesson

One of the questions I challenged myself to consider this summer was, "How will I give an overview of some of the tech we'll be using this year without putting the kids to sleep?" And also without wasting a ton of time, which we never seem to have enough of.

An idea came to me when I was looking over some of the "getting to know you" activities that I've used in the past to help foster an environment of collaboration. Why not combine the two? Why not integrate the tech introduction into a "getting to know you" activity?
As part of my Summer Professional Development series, I've got the third post for you, which is all about how to turn your vacation into a lesson. Learn how to use a choice board to help students use technology to get to know one another and share about their summer vacations. Click through to get the full tutorial!
I teach a diverse set of students, so thinking of something that will apply to them all is no simple task.

I started by considering common ground that all students will have at the beginning of the year.
And I thought of one thing--they are all returning from summer vacation.

Summer vacation means different things to different students. For some, it will mean trips to Europe. For others, it will mean forty hours behind a cash register. Sadly, for still others, it will mean having to worry about where their next meal will come from.

But they are all returning from summer break.

So I centered this lesson around that theme. And because our students are so diverse, I centered it around choice. The assignment looks roughly like this:

-A choice board with nine tasks. Students select one task from each row to complete.
-Each task requires using a technology tool to complete.
-Each tool is demonstrated through a video tutorial.
-Students bring the tasks together into a Google Slides Presentation (so they can familiarize themselves with that particular tool).
-They share the presentation in Google Classroom.
-Students review one another's presentations and use them to complete a scavenger hunt.
If students took pictures over the break (which many of them will have), one of the video tutorials teaches them how to embed those pictures into Flippity Flash Cards and how to create those flash cards. 

If they watched a movie or read a book, one of the tasks shows them how to open a doc, write a short report on it, and then transform the report into a word cloud image.

One of the tasks introduces web research tools by requiring them to briefly research one of three topics about summer and use those web tools to organize their research and create a bibliography.

I feel like this is a solid back to school activity that accomplishes both goals of establishing a collaborative environment through getting to know one another and of introducing some of the tech tools students will be using all year long and allowing students to become familiar with it.

I've made the activity available, complete with video tutorials, examples, choice board, rubric, scavenger hunt, and customizable templates for your classroom. You can get it HERE.

If you want to start from scratch and make your own to perfectly fit your classroom needs, here's what you'll need to consider.

Making Your Own Tech Infused Back to School Activity

Start by considering your objectives. What do you hope to accomplish? Then think about add-ons, apps, extensions, and other tools that you plan on using throughout the course. What would it most benefit your students to understand right away? I've described a few useful ones HERE.

Consider making short video tutorials of each tool so that the activity is self-guided for the students and you don't find yourself answering the same questions repeatedly. You can link to the tutorials right in the project. Then you can add the tutorials to the "About" section of Google Classroom, or whatever classroom app you are using, so that students can refer to them throughout the course as the need arises.

An easy and free way to make the tutorials is with Screencastify, a free Google Extension. I have a tutorial for using it HERE.

Then consider the task or tasks you want the students to complete. Do you want the tasks to culminate into a final product or do you just want to leave it as a series of activities or even one activity that requires a few tech tools? How do you want the students to share their creations with the class. Will they present? Will they post them in Classroom? Will they create QR codes?

Consider Back to School Activities you have done in the past. Consider how they can be re-purposed with technology.
Will you score the activities? What will your guidelines be?

Be sure to download this planning sheet complete with useful links to help you get started on turning your vacation into a lesson.

And don't forget to check back next week to consider the brain benefits of gamifying. 

How will you be handling back to school activities in the blended classroom? Will you "kill two birds with one stone" and use them to introduce technology tools? Leave a comment below and let me know!





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I've got some really great, easy tools to recommend in this post that will help you techify your classroom next school year! I'm sharing with you two apps, two add-ons, and two extensions that you can use. This post is part of my Summer Professional Development series, so click through to read about these tech tools and keep up with the rest of the series!
I am busy this summer working to improve my classroom game for the coming school year (and to catch up on Netflix). I'm sharing the former here in my summer professional development series.

Last week, I wrote about Infusing Tech One Lesson at a Time. This week, I want to share some simple tools that will help techify your class.

I've got some really great, easy tools to recommend in this post that will help you techify your classroom next school year! I'm sharing with you two apps, two add-ons, and two extensions that you can use. This post is part of my Summer Professional Development series, so click through to read about these tech tools and keep up with the rest of the series!
There is so much out there, and I discussed some in my Spring Tech Tips series. Today, I want to look at a few Google apps, add-ons, and extensions that can techify your classroom while improving your own and your students' productivity.

To offer a quick run-down, apps are basically self-updating programs or websites that are the next generation CDRom (remember those?). Add-ons are tools you can get to add features to Google Docs. Extensions improve the functionality of your web browser. You can grab these tools by visiting the Chrome Web Store.

There are so many apps, add-ons, and extensions out there that it's difficult to know where to begin, so I thought I would just pick my two favorite in each category and explain why they're so fantastic.

Techify Your Class with Apps

The web's the limit here--literally. But two apps that I want to discuss today are Mind Mup and Gooru.

Mind Mup allows your students to create mind maps--visual content organizers--digitally and then publish them to the web or share them with you.
I've got some really great, easy tools to recommend in this post that will help you techify your classroom next school year! I'm sharing with you two apps, two add-ons, and two extensions that you can use. This post is part of my Summer Professional Development series, so click through to read about these tech tools and keep up with the rest of the series!

Teachers curate the content of the web into lessons in Gooru. Gooru allows you to create classes and give your students codes to join or to share lessons via links. Search Gooru for a topic that you're teaching and units other teachers have created will pop up.

The units will include lessons comprised of readings, videos, images, interactive activities, and/or questions. The questions can be formatted several different ways (including multiple choice and free response) and are great to use as formative assessment.
I've got some really great, easy tools to recommend in this post that will help you techify your classroom next school year! I'm sharing with you two apps, two add-ons, and two extensions that you can use. This post is part of my Summer Professional Development series, so click through to read about these tech tools and keep up with the rest of the series!

I've got some really great, easy tools to recommend in this post that will help you techify your classroom next school year! I'm sharing with you two apps, two add-ons, and two extensions that you can use. This post is part of my Summer Professional Development series, so click through to read about these tech tools and keep up with the rest of the series!

Techify Your Class with Add-Ons

Every time I'm working in Docs, Forms, or Sheets, I always think, "I wish there were an add-on that would allow me to do such and such." Then I go to add-ons in the tool bar at the top, do a quick search, and there generally is.

It's difficult to narrow add-ons down to just two, but I would have to say that my favorite for Sheets is Flippity and my favorite for Docs is Easy Bib.

I would cry bitter tears if Flippity ever disappeared. It's a series of templates designed for non-coding geniuses like me to use in Sheets. With Flippity, you can create flash cards with images and film embedded, quiz games, crossword puzzles, bingo, spinners, progress trackers, and much more.

All you do is fill in the template provided with your content, go to file and select "publish to the web," go back to Add-ons, select "Flippity.net," click on the link, and you will be directed to an awesome, interactive activity that you just created on a humble spreadsheet.
I've got some really great, easy tools to recommend in this post that will help you techify your classroom next school year! I'm sharing with you two apps, two add-ons, and two extensions that you can use. This post is part of my Summer Professional Development series, so click through to read about these tech tools and keep up with the rest of the series!

I've got some really great, easy tools to recommend in this post that will help you techify your classroom next school year! I'm sharing with you two apps, two add-ons, and two extensions that you can use. This post is part of my Summer Professional Development series, so click through to read about these tech tools and keep up with the rest of the series!

I've got some really great, easy tools to recommend in this post that will help you techify your classroom next school year! I'm sharing with you two apps, two add-ons, and two extensions that you can use. This post is part of my Summer Professional Development series, so click through to read about these tech tools and keep up with the rest of the series!
The bane of my existence in grad school was bibliographies (and my students never seem to get them right now). I hated lugging around the MLA or APA handbook and checking and double checking that I got the formatting and punctuation just right. Easy Bib now takes care of that headache for us.

While typing a paper in Docs, students simply open the add-on. Easy Bib comes up in the right hand pane. Students enter the website URL, book ISBN, or Title, etc. Easy Bib formats, alphabetizes, generates, and inserts your bibliography straight into your Doc.
I've got some really great, easy tools to recommend in this post that will help you techify your classroom next school year! I'm sharing with you two apps, two add-ons, and two extensions that you can use. This post is part of my Summer Professional Development series, so click through to read about these tech tools and keep up with the rest of the series!

Techify Your Class with Extensions

Extensions can increase your and your students' productivity. I have chosen to feature two that are perfect for conducting research--Liner and Sprint Reader.

Liner enables you to highlight important text in web articles. It then saves the articles and highlights to your account. I love it because you can then organize the articles into folders by topic. When you go to create your Easy Bib, just open up your Liner Account, and grab the links from there.
I've got some really great, easy tools to recommend in this post that will help you techify your classroom next school year! I'm sharing with you two apps, two add-ons, and two extensions that you can use. This post is part of my Summer Professional Development series, so click through to read about these tech tools and keep up with the rest of the series!

Sprint Reader is a speed-reading extension. It forces you to fly through the text. This is a huge time-saver if you (or your students) are researching a lot of material. You'll be surprised how much information you retain. Then scroll back through the article, and use Liner highlight important points.
I've got some really great, easy tools to recommend in this post that will help you techify your classroom next school year! I'm sharing with you two apps, two add-ons, and two extensions that you can use. This post is part of my Summer Professional Development series, so click through to read about these tech tools and keep up with the rest of the series!
A word of caution here--if you are teaching ESL and struggling learners, do not use Sprint Reader. It will frustrate them. Select an extension that will read the webpage aloud to them instead, such as Read Aloud. The text can even be read in different languages!

How do you techify your class? What are your favorite apps, add-ons, and extensions? Leave a comment below to let me know. And don't for get to check back in next week to learn how to turn your vacation into a lesson with tech!




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Technology in the classroom can feel really overwhelming, which is a bummer, since it's so important for instruction. This blog post talks about infusing tech one lesson at a time, so click through to read more about adding technology in bite-sized steps.
One of the greatest gifts of teaching (aside from impacting lives, I know, I know...) is summer break. And it is quite a gift. During the school year, the job is a non-stop, all consuming, emotional roller coaster ride of thrilling highs and jolting lows.

Technology in the classroom can feel really overwhelming, which is a bummer, since it's so important for instruction. This blog post talks about infusing tech one lesson at a time, so click through to read more about adding technology in bite-sized steps.But I wouldn't have it any other way. And I wouldn't want to do anything else.

So I always grab the gift of summer to rest, spend time with family, hopefully go on a trip, and to work on my craft (teaching, not Netflix, though sometimes it may seem like it's the latter).

If I spend year after year doing the same thing in my classroom, I feel like I've wasted the summer. One of the greatest gifts of this time (aside from the family thing) is that it's a chance to grow professionally--to learn new things--to work on our craft as teachers.

This summer, I'm sharing my professional development with you, my colleagues, and I hope you will do the same with me, whether it's in the comments here, on Facebook, or by email.

I asked what you wanted to learn more about professionally this summer, and I decided to focus my own development around those things.

These were your top responses--edtech, brain-based learning, coaching and mentoring, and social studies instruction. So, based on your feedback, here's the plan for my summer professional development blog series (and by the way--the underlying theme for everything will be tech, as more and more of us will be taking the 1:1 leap in the fall, and coaching other teachers through the process):

1. Infusing Tech One Lesson at a Time
A method for integrating technology mindfully without completely overwhelming yourself

2. Easy Tools to Techify Your Class
Simple and free/cheap tools that will make teaching with technology pay off

3. Turn Your Vacation into a Lesson
Using that trip you took this summer as part of an engaging, techified lesson

4. The Brain Benefits of Gamifying
Why gamifying your classroom can help students learn and a model for implementing

So, here is my first Summer Professional Development Blog Post:

Infusing Tech One Lesson at a Time

Creating lessons is just one part of a teacher's job, but it's a huge job. Planning the same way we always have can take up an enormous part of our time, so being asked to integrate technology into our lessons (especially if we're not sure where to begin) can be overwhelming to say the least.

That's why we should do it mindfully--with a plan, and not just for the sake of adding technology. A framework for doing this can help us get started.

Dr. Ruben Puentedura has offered a useful framework for educators with his SAMR Model. The model is helpful in guiding us through integrating technology, but first we have to understand how to use it.

I want to take us through the steps as simply as I know how by both explaining the framework and going through the steps with one of my own lessons. I'm going to use a lesson that I'm working on right now. It's from my next pen and paper sociology interactive notebook.

I generally create the paper-based lessons first because that's how I think, and then I go back and look for areas that would particularly benefit from the addition of technology to blend.

Here is my simplified version of the SAMR Model:


Technology in the classroom can feel really overwhelming, which is a bummer, since it's so important for instruction. This blog post talks about infusing tech one lesson at a time, so click through to read more about adding technology in bite-sized steps.


I think of SAMR as a staircase. The first step is to simply incorporate technology, but as we progress upward, we are actually using technology to transform our lessons into an experience that couldn't be had without tech.

Step 1: Ask Yourself the Questions

Technology in the classroom can feel really overwhelming, which is a bummer, since it's so important for instruction. This blog post talks about infusing tech one lesson at a time, so click through to read more about adding technology in bite-sized steps.

Step 2: Substitution

My next step will be to incorporate technology through substitution. I can take my lecture, and condense it into a brief film. The film will be linked to a Google Slides activity that will do away with the Foldable Graphic Organizer and the copying, cutting, and pasting. 

So the point of the substitution here will be to save time and resources on copying and manipulating paper products and to make the lesson more student focused by eliminating the lengthy lecture. Here are before and after pics:

Technology in the classroom can feel really overwhelming, which is a bummer, since it's so important for instruction. This blog post talks about infusing tech one lesson at a time, so click through to read more about adding technology in bite-sized steps.

Technology in the classroom can feel really overwhelming, which is a bummer, since it's so important for instruction. This blog post talks about infusing tech one lesson at a time, so click through to read more about adding technology in bite-sized steps.
As you can see, students completed the same task they would have before adding tech, but we saved paper and time by substituting technology. Of course, by adding URLs, I did cross over into augmentation just a bit, but this is basically pure substitution.

Step 3: Augmentation

Now, I'll refer back to my answers in step one and find the ideal place for augmentation, that is, enhancing with tech what I was doing before. The ideal place for this is with formative assessment. 

I decided what students needed for formative assessment is immediate feedback. I love exit tickets, but I usually don't return them to the students until the next day. I can remedy that by turning my exit ticket into an exit quiz, and placing it on a self-grading Google Form, so that it will look like this:

Technology in the classroom can feel really overwhelming, which is a bummer, since it's so important for instruction. This blog post talks about infusing tech one lesson at a time, so click through to read more about adding technology in bite-sized steps.

Here is a link to a blog post about how to use the self-grading quiz feature in Google Forms in case you's like to augment your quizzes. :)

Step 4: Modification

With this step, we delve a bit deeper into tech infusion. We're taking something we were doing before, in this case, my Types of Societies Mini-Book, and we're redesigning it so that the new product must be created using technology.

In this case, I used a website called mindmup.com to create a digital Types of Societies Mind Map. Here's the before and after:

Technology in the classroom can feel really overwhelming, which is a bummer, since it's so important for instruction. This blog post talks about infusing tech one lesson at a time, so click through to read more about adding technology in bite-sized steps.
Technology in the classroom can feel really overwhelming, which is a bummer, since it's so important for instruction. This blog post talks about infusing tech one lesson at a time, so click through to read more about adding technology in bite-sized steps.
Students could feasibly create this by hand, but they wouldn't have the resources of the web or the power to digitally share.

Step 5: Redefinition

Redefinition is at the top of that golden stairway to technology heaven--the ultimate goal--the purpose of which is to redefine teaching and learning by implementing tasks that would not be possible without technology.

Technology in the classroom can feel really overwhelming, which is a bummer, since it's so important for instruction. This blog post talks about infusing tech one lesson at a time, so click through to read more about adding technology in bite-sized steps.

In the "Before" scenario, we are more than likely modifying because students will probably use the web to research their careers and presentation software to compile their presentations; however, in the absence of technology, they could research using books in the library and present by writing a paper or creating a poster or the like.

But the "After" scenario is redefinition because in the absence of technology students would not be able to reach out to and interview face-to-face via Hangouts or Skype employees from all over the world in their chosen careers.

The Takeaway

SAMR is a useful model for incorporating technology into your lessons. Many of us have no idea where to begin and SAMR enables us to start on the ground floor and work our way up the stairs at our own pace.

I would add that even though redefinition is the ultimate goal, no matter how adept at infusing the tech we may become, we should never discount the bottom stair, nor even the ground floor.

There will always be times when substitution is appropriate or even just good old fashioned pen and paper work. Technology has opened so many possibilities in education, and we should not discount it. But we should not discount more traditional methods, as well, when they, too, are appropriate.

How have you infused your lessons with tech? How do you plan to in the upcoming year? Leave a comment below, and let me know. And don't forget to check out "Easy Tools to Techify Your Class" here next week!


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Sources Consulted

Brown, P. (2017). A Guide for Bringing the SAMR Model to iPads - EdSurge News. [online] EdSurge. Available at: https://www.edsurge.com/news/2015-02-06-a-guide-for-bringing-the-samr-model-to-ipads [Accessed 26 Jun. 2017].

Holt, T. (2017). Digital Discoveries - Intro to SAMR. [online] YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jn1nHgFesUs [Accessed 26 Jun. 2017].

Puentedura, R. (2017). Hippasus. [online] Hippasus.com. Available at: http://www.hippasus.com/ [Accessed 26 Jun. 2017].

Schrock, K. (2017). SAMR. [online] Kathy Schrock's Guide to Everything. Available at: http://www.schrockguide.net/samr.html [Accessed 26 Jun. 2017].

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