Framework Debates

As technology become more popular in the world of education, new models are emerging for how to integrate the technology into lessons. Two of the most popular models are Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) and the SAMR model. TPACK explains the combination of content knowledge, pedagogy knowledge, and technology knowledge. The sweet spot of this model is called the TPACK. For more information check out this website.

My favorite model, however, is the SAMR model. This stands for Substitute, Augment, Modify, and Redesign. As you move up the ladder, the use of technology gets more advanced. In the first level, the technology merely replaces the activity without changing it. The second level is the same activity but the technology does provide some improvement. For example, using Microsoft word to write a paper would be a substitute for writing the paper with pen and paper. It augments the activity when the student uses the editing tools available on Microsoft word. Both of these phases fall under the enhancement part of the model, but in order to reach the transformation aspect of the model, the tool must modify or redesign the activity.

At the third level of the SAMR model, the technology is expected to redesign the activity and in the fourth level the technology should create an activity that wouldn’t be possible without the technology. For example, using email would allow for collaboration with other classmates and peers with internet access to modify the activity, but using Skype would allow the class to collaborate with peers and experts on the topic they’ve been working on.

The SAMR model is my favorite because it really makes you think about how the technology is changing the activity. When a teacher uses the TPACK model they aren’t pushed to redesign the activity. In order to be an effective teacher with TPACK, you only have to know how to use the technology. I think the most valuable part of the SAMR model is thinking how you can increase the use of technology to continue pushing the activity further up the SAMR ladder. I feel that a lot of teachers think of a technology to use in the class, but don’t necessarily think about how the technology is effecting the activity. Teachers are probably only thinking about the technology’s efficiency and not thinking about how much further they could push the envelope in order to get their students to achieve something completely different.

Plenty of teachers would think to have students use email to talk to an expert about a research topic, but the project could be taken so much further if the students had to interview the expert using Google Hangout or Skype. Having a real time conversation would give students a chance to go off script and ask questions they didn’t initially come up with. I have also noticed the interviewee is more willing to expand on their answers when they are just talking. Typing out all of their answers seems to inadvertently limit responses because fingers type slower than our mouth can talk and the interviewee is aware of how much they are type as opposed to how much they are saying.

All in all, both are good models to refer to, but I feel the SAMR model really pushes the teacher to expand the activity with technology and not just replace it.

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