Just Add An e (Or i If You Love Apple :-)

Although I do not consider myself to be in any way old, I was actually allowed to play outdoors without adult supervision and climbed trees, I can remember a time before the letter ‘e’ was added to everything. Ebooks, Email, Elearning, Ecommerce, Epublishing, Enewsletters and much more. The the letter ‘E’ seems to have permeated the English language and indeed modern cultures to mean easy, new or convenient – BETTER? A more in depth analysis can be found here.

The marketing hype and developing cultural understandings of ‘E’ can easily fool teachers into believing that the simple act of turning on a laptop, handing out an iPad or loading a website makes Elearning, and this is new, faster, BETTER. Simply put this is not so. Doing something because it is new does not make it better, or indeed necessarily faster.  Every teacher needs to consider the true impact of implementing or using any technology on the learners in their room. Fortunately the SAMR model is an elegant way of considering the impact of technology.

The SAMR model is not new to me and I regularly consider it when I’m choosing which tech tools to use in the classroom. If I’m being honest, I don’t frequently hit the redefinition end of the scale and I will sometimes be at the substitution end. I would say I generally hang around the augmentation stage. The important issue is that I have thought about the value of the tech to my children and this is something all teachers should be doing whilst planning to use any technology.

Redefinition can happen, and when it does it is wonderful. This year I have had two such lessons. Teaching in Ho Chi Minh City can be limited and with the rather hectic traffic, nearly impossible to take the children out of valuable field trips. There are tool great tech tools to combat this. One is Google street view. The list of amazing places that google adds increases daily but the one place I always use with my year children is in Antarctica. My class are currently learning about explorers and the moment and one we study in depth is Ernest Shackleton. The hut that he built over 100 years ago is still there preserved in perfect condition and thank to Google you can actually walk around it. My children were blown away!

The other place I like to visit is the Smithsonian museum. Their virtual tour is amazing. It is inconceivable that my children could walk around a museum like the Smithsonian. This site enables so much extra learning that would not really be possible without the use of technology. Seriously, you have to click this link. I dare you not be amazed!




4 thoughts on “Just Add An e (Or i If You Love Apple :-)

  1. Well put! It’s not like substitute is bad…..just know that’s what you’re using the technology for. I’m at the EARCOS admin conference where tomorrow I’ll be talking about this. You have to know what can get or what you can expect to get out of the hardware to know if it’s worth the learning that you are going to see.

    Redefinition is hard…really hard because it means doing things that there are no back up plans for. That if the technology was to fail you that day…then the learning that would happen in it’s place would not compare to the learning that would have happened. The new experience lead to better, more in-depth or more engaging learning then can happen without it. That’s the goal of course 5. Create a unit that does that! 🙂

  2. I enjoyed reading your blog today, Michael. I, too, am from the pre-E-generation. How did we ever survive? When I first started integrating technology into my classroom, I used the virtual tours as the “hook” for literature, social studies, and science. We visited Barbados before reading The Witch of Blackbird Pond, “walked” through the Parthenon in Athens, and a tropical rainforest in Brazil. I haven’t checked out Shakelton’s shed, but I can’t wait to check it out. And, if only I could really sit in Archie Bunker’s chair at the Smithsonian! 🙂 Thanks for sharing those two ideas.

  3. You are doing some good things here. I had no idea I could take my class to Antarctica. I am in the middle of a rocks unit in science and I think a trip to the Smithsonian looks great. You can get some closeups of some really interesting crystals and minerals. It is easy to find all of the different exhibits.

  4. Echoing Jeff, there is no problem with Substitution. I’m grateful everyday for spell check and word processing. And not every thing has to be on the redefinition level. In reality, we’re probably moving up and down the SAMR model all the time. But being thoughtful about how we use tech (or anything new) is so important. Because without the reflection, whatever it is we try to do will just become a fad and will fade.

    For more virtual tours, make sure you check out the Google Cultural Institute. It’s one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen and it’s free. And the possibilities of doing really important, fun and transformative lessons with this is limitless. Have fun in there!


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