The SAMR Course was the second of the Flex PD courses offered for Milaca staff this school year. There were 8 staff which participated including 3 teachers from the 6th grade team. After an initial meeting of everyone, we discussed SAMR as a model for integrating technology at higher levels. Here is a link to the presentation I created and shared with the teachers. It not only provide a background, but was used to frame a discussion about incorporating technology at more meaningful levels. Teachers then were given 4 weeks to plan, implement, and reflect at least once on each level of SAMR.
For most, they discovered that substitution, while the easiest to implement, was least effective at engaging students and promoting higher level thinking skills. All of them seemed to expect this, but at the same time realized that even substitution has its place in the classroom. The augmentation and modification levels also didn't prove to be too difficult for this group of experienced teachers. In their reflections at each level, they discuss how the levels of engagement increased as the integration of technology moved from lower level enhancement to higher level transformations. Redefinition proved to be the trickiest for each to integrate. Mostly because they believed that redefinition requires students to work on an in-depth project, which happens less frequently in their classrooms. Only 4 of the 8 completed an activity or assignment at this level in the 1 month time frame. To me this says, one thing I would do differently next time would be to emphasize how to integrate at the modification and redefinition levels in 1-2 class periods, without the need for long, intricate projects.
As with the Innovator's Mindset course, I gave a course evaluation at the end of the SAMR Course as well. 6 of the 8 participants completed the survey. Here are some of the results.
All 6 responded at a 4 or 5 level that the SAMR Model challenged my thinking about the role/use of technology in education and encouraged me to think about new and better ways of teaching and learning. Selected comment: "I have ways that I do things and need to see a valid reason to change. This made me think of those reasons."
All 6 responded at a 4 or 5 level that they would be likely to share what they learned about SAMR with another teacher/educator
4/6 responded at a 4 or 5 level that they believe greater levels of integration will have more impact on student learning in their classes. Selected Comment: "This will increase the level and depth of the projects we are doing."
5/6 responded at a level 5 (the other was 4) that they believe this was an appropriate topic for a FlexPD Course.
Only 1/6 responded at a level 4 or 5 that they believed 1 month was an appropriate amount of time to plan, implement, and reflect on each of the levels.
All 6 responded at a level 4 or 5 that they believed the reflections enhanced their learning and growth about the SAMR model and integration of technology.
5/6 responded "Yes" (the other was "Maybe") to the question about whether or not they would take another FlexPD course similar to this.
My favorite "pat myself on my back" comment: "I liked your approach to what we are trying to accomplish in these hours. I liked that you treated us as professionals and trust that we really do want to get better in our profession. When motivated and interested teachers will put in effort and learn because we want to help our students learn more and get the most out of their education. Thanks Jeremy."
Even though the sample size of participants and respondents was much smaller this time, I think the results show that the FlexPD course concept is one that teachers really appreciate and value. This motivates me to offer more like this in the future. I am considering offering this particular course again during second because I think it is something others were interested in, but the timing for the course wasn't right for them. The other part I would change is to allow staff a longer time to complete the course. Surveying staff before deciding on that however, would still be a good idea.