As we started our 1:1 iPad initiative last year, one of our goals was to move slowly and thoughtfully through the SAMR model. We took a close look at Carl Hooker’s version of the SAMR model as a swimming pool. Some of our teachers have taken the plunge into the deep end, but for the most part we wanted our teachers to be comfortable with Substitution and Augmentation before we cross into the deep end of Modification and Redefinition.
In order for our teachers to succeed in their move forward, my goal this year is to be the Lifeguard & the Swim Coach. Ironically I have been a Swim Coach for 20+ years, so this is probably the easiest analogy I could ever come up with.
The Lifeguard: Someone has to be there as the teachers move into the deep end, because someone is going to ‘cramp up’ or start to panic when they can’t reach the bottom. My goal is to be there when they hit the deep end for the first time. I would consider their desired learning outcome to be their life vest. If they don’t have this with them, and it’s not front and center in their plan, there is very little chance they will stay afloat in front of their class.
When they first try to Modify or Redefine a lesson I want to be in the classroom in case things don’t go as well as planned, or if the students have technology questions the teacher may not be prepared to answer. The more support a teacher has, and the more I can build their trust, the more willing they will be to try this on their own.
The Swim Coach: Someone has to prepare them for this move to the next level. This is the most important part of the process. Teachers not only need to understand how the technology works, they more importantly need to understand how to utilize this technology to enhance their lesson, and engage their students. My role as the coach is to help our teachers take a closer look at their desired learning outcomes, and teach them how to use the correct tech tool so their students can reach and even exceed these learning outcomes. The more prepared our teachers are, the more comfortable they will be as they move into the ‘deep water’ of Modification & Redefinition.
A good coach will prepare their teachers with the right tools, teach them the best way to use these tools, and be there as the lifeguard to ensure their safety when they wander into the deep end. With the right coaching and support, your teachers will succeed as they move into the Modification and Redefinition end of the SAMR pool.
As a last thought, you might want to think about giving your teachers the whistle, and let them use it when they get in too deep. Because the only time you need a whistle, is when you see a teacher wandering into the deep end – without their learning objectives.