The Missouri Reader Vol. 41, Issue 1 - Page 40

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IGNiTE: Technology Implementation in Literacy

By Alexandra Robbins

As a first year teacher, I was hesitant to departmentalize with my fifth grade team and be the only teacher teaching reading to our 80 fifth graders, while simultaneously trying to discover and implement new technology. My school was part of the IGNiTE initiative, which sought to make all classrooms in grades 3-12, 1:1 with Chromebooks. My school’s first year of the IGNiTE program coincided with my first year teaching. On top of learning how to teach, manage, and survive, I was also tasked with learning how to incorporate technology in personal, relevant, and engaging ways for all of my fifth graders. As the year wore on, I became more adept at seeking out and implementing technology into the reading curriculum.

While at a technology training, I was introduced to Ruben Puentedura’s SAMR Model for technology integration. The SAMR model is a breakdown of the ways we integrate technology into curriculum and how using technology changes a lesson (Puentedura, 2013). SAMR breaks down technology use into Substitution, which occurs when “the technology provides a substitute for other learning activities without functional change” (Romrell, Kidder, & Wood, 2014, p. 4), like having students take notes on a device instead of with paper and pencil. Augmentation is when “the technology provides a substitute for other learning activities but with functional improvements” (Romrell et al., 2014, p. 4), as in taking notes and including links to information pertaining to the subject. Modification is achieved when the technology incorporated leads to a redesign of the task assigned (i.e. creating a website, complete with links to information to outline a topic). The final step of the SAMR Model is Redefinition, or integration of technology resulting in an entirely new task or product, which would not be accomplished without the technology used. When I started using the SAMR model to define my lessons, I started to get more creative and more open with the technology tools I was willing to incorporate. As teachers, we know what we have done and we know what we have seen. Moving tried and true lessons to a new platform can be difficult and scary. Using the SAMR model as a meter stick to decide if the technology is actually useful to the work or if it is just being used for the sake of using technology can save teachers (and students) a lot of headache. “Learning activities that fall within the substitution and augmentation classifications are said to enhance learning, while learning activities that fall within the modification and redefinition classifications are said to transform learning” (Puentedura, 2013, p. 3). Obviously every lesson taught is not going to reach the redefinition stage of the SAMR model, just as there will always be questions asked that are not two’s and three’s on a depth of knowledge chart! Getting the most educational bang for your instructional buck will always lie at the highest levels of the SAMR Model. “It is these latter activities that fully realize the potential…” of teaching with technology (Hockly, 2013, p. 82).

In fifth grade, some of our favorite uses of technology do not always earn the badge of redefinition, but students and teachers love them all the same. A lot of really fun, engaging and useful tools and activities come from Read Write Think, where there are hundreds of lesson plans, complete with technology tools to top off the lesson. One of our favorite Read Write Think activities is the Bio Cube, which students

Click her for link to Read Write Think.com