Monday, June 11, 2018

Beyond SAMR Ladders & Pools: A Framework for Teaching & Learning-- ISTE June 26, 2018

At ISTE in Chicago on Tuesday, June 26 from 4:15-5:15pm I'll be presenting Beyond SAMR Ladders & Pools: A Framework for Teaching & Learning with our Director of Teacher Development, Sara White. The day before I'll also be presenting a short teaser at ISTE Bytes, on Monday, June 25 from 8:30-9:30am. Here's more info:
You'd be hard pressed to find an educational technology leader unfamiliar with the SAMR scale. The concept of differing levels of technology integration with stages of use in education is not new. Over the past few decades, we've had various acronyms like ACOT, RAT, TPACK and more. With SAMR, we've seen analogies like ladders, coffee, pools, and wheels. One of the limitations with each of these is they really just focus on technology, sometimes pigeon holing a technology tool or app into a specific level, when instead the focus needs to be much more broad. For example, even though a green screen end product might look great, students might simply be at the basic level of learning. And looking beyond technology, what about the four C’s, authentic real world learning or global learning?

Four years ago in Minnetonka Public Schools we stopped referencing technology scales and acronyms and developed our own framework for teaching and learning. We found great benefit from reflecting on all areas of teaching and learning, too. Now conversations about technology not only include the levels of complexity, but also to what extent students are thinking critically, communicating, what they are creating, if their experiences were authentic, personalized, collaborative, and global. It all fits together as part of the conversation and bigger picture of instructional best practices.
The Minnetonka Framework for Teaching & Learning
Each of these other areas of instruction and learning have their own levels and stages, too. For example, you can say that your students are collaborating, but is it at the basic level of talking with a neighbor about their answer to a problem or a higher level of collaborative skills involved in negotiating and resolving decisions about what information is most important for a group presentation? Because of this, we developed a larger framework for instruction overall. There are eight dimensions on our framework, and each has its own levels of complexity (similar to SAMR levels). 

The Framework shows "how often modest adjustments to lesson design and learning environments can significantly elevate students’ opportunities to learn. It provides educators with a launching point for planning meaningful, engaging instruction for learners who already live in a complex information society in which the nature of work is rapidly changing. Teachers can create places of learning that engage students at high levels and lead to deeper understandings by intentionally planning learning experiences with these strands in mind." Framework Overview document

To develop this comprehensive framework Sara coordinated the work and efforts of teacher and administrator teams who worked to identify and compose the definitions and levels for each level of complexity on the Framework, as well as write an overview document and create guides of about 10-15 pages that detail each of the Framework's eight dimensions. (View the draft guide for Authentic & Real World Learning). Sara also scripted an overview video that we showed our staff  during back to school workshops a few years ago:

Our Framework now guides our curriculum writing with dimensions and levels being identified in our UbD units. It also is the focus of our staff development, including technology. Our instructional technology coaches meet with teachers and do trainings focusing on strands of the Framework. Teachers meet in roundtables to discuss how they are designing instruction around different dimensions of the Framework and how technology integrates with these other areas. They also discuss the progress they are making on their technology goal for the year which is tied in with another Framework dimension. These goals are shared with the instructional technology coaches and their building principals. 

The Minnetonka Framework for Teaching and Learning has helped us move beyond SAMR ladders and pools to designing student experiences for meaning, engagement, and deeper learning. In fact, our teachers haven’t even heard of SAMR. Come discover a way to design and implement a roadmap for teaching and learning alignment and move beyond simply focusing on technology implementation toward successfully creating more meaningful, deeper and engaging learning experiences for students. If you'll be at ISTE in a few weeks, please join me on Tuesday, June 26 from 4:15-5:15pm.

Learn more about Minnetonka Schools and Technology Integration:

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely amazing work you've done! This is exactly what we need at my school. Bravo! I am looking forward to attending your session at ISTE 18.