- Though teachers may be eager and even required to use technology with students, especially as it has become a necessity for remote learning during the coronavirus pandemic, knowing how to effectively weave these tools into lessons to enhance digital learning may pose a challenge, Edutopia reports.
- One method to consider is to look at the SAMR model, which may help educators build the best plan for their needs by examining four areas: substitution, augmentation, modification and redefinition.
- Substitution (replacing one thing, like a physical worksheet, with a digital version) and augmentation (expanding that step by adding, for example, a hyperlink to an online video) are at the base level. Modification, meanwhile, reimagines an existing process, like moving a classroom's workflow to a virtual space via a learning management system such as Canvas or Schoology, and redefinition transforms an experience entirely, often accomplishing something a classroom itself cannot, like a virtual reality field trip to another country.
Every step does not need to be addressed for the SAMR model to work. The idea, rather, is to allow educators to consider to what degree a particular component of the learning experience should be improved — and how that change is accomplished.
Technology can be a wonderful tool, enhancing the way students gather and even create content, whether that's done with tablets and laptops or even virtual reality headsets. It has the potential to open the door to experiences and learning beyond what's possible from within the four walls of a classroom.
But those enhancements don't always require the flashiest, most high-tech device — especially if it's just passively pushing out digitized versions of the same old content. Students can also just as easily connect to most learning resources, whether those be specific platforms or just a YouTube or Facebook video, on just about any tablet or notebook as they can a high-end computer.
Bringing technology into the classroom also raises equity and accessibility concerns. Administrators making these decisions must consider if students have access to similar devices in their homes or if they'll be able to take the school's devices home. And even then, a lack of home internet access can hinder learners. The range of abilities must also be considered, from motor functions used to operate the device to a range of visual and hearing impairments.
As learning for many students has moved online and may continue for some time, how to best integrate technology into learning and what makes the most sense for each usage scenario is even more important for curriculum designers and educators to consider. Digital tools can be fun and dazzling, but they are ultimately resources to illuminate the broader learning pathway. The real goal is to fuel an exchange, to create a spark between students and educators, and feed that hunger to learn more.