Upon embarking into the world of educational technology, I remember being inundated by piles of amazing charts about the SAMR model and how we as teachers needed to aspire to integrating technology at the modification and redefinition levels.
I totally bought into it. Drank the "coffee", so to speak, and I was thrilled to discover a well of untapped creative energy and inspiration inside myself.
After almost two years of 1:1 iPad work at SMA, I am excited about the variety of modified and redefined activities and assessments I've been able to build into my classes. Multi-media digital portfolios, game-based formative assessments, flipped video assessments, and other similar activities abound in my curriculum. And I continue to add to my spectrum of modification and redefinition every chance I get.
But I have rediscovered the power of simplicity as well.
There is power in saving paper and time simply by making handouts, notes, and presentations digital, because that means I can have that extra conversation with the student who needs it, or spontaneously post and discuss in class the poem or article I happened across on Pinterest that morning. There is power in having students turn in papers digitally, so we can fit more revisions into a shorter time period and I can offer better, faster feedback. There is power in photos of in-class notes and online discussions and digital file management and calendar reminders--all of which allow my students to learn effective ways to self-organize, self-manage, and problem-solve.
All of these simple changes may be at the level of substitution or augmentation on the SAMR chart, and yet their positive influence on my students' experiences is unmistakable.
So, this is for you, black coffee drinkers. And also for you, double mocha caramel frappaccino lovers. Variety is always good. Creativity and redefinition are to be aspired to. But sometimes simple is just what you need.
"Finding the Right Balance in Tech Use" (Tormala), Edutopia, April 10, 2018.
"Keynote is just a slide creator...isn't it?" (Tormala) EdTechTeam, Jan 2018.
"Getting Girls into STEM: The Power of Blended (and All-Female) Instruction". (Tormala) EdSurge, March 21, 2017.
"Confronting the Abominable Snow Day". (Gilbert & Tormala) Edutopia, Feb. 2017.
"Video Interviews with iPads: The Power of Mobile Technology". (Tormala) EdTechTeam, Jan 2017.
"Discomfort, Growth, and Innovation." (Tormala) Edutopia, Oct. 2016.
"5 Epiphanies on Learning in a 1:1 iPad Classroom." (Tormala) Edutopia, July 2014.