Reducing The Gap With ICT

ImageI was really excited today to hear from one of our Preparatory School staff members, Ginny, as she shared a perfect example of ICT connecting our students with a poet that had influenced their thinking for a recent Poetry Party they hosted. I posted in October about how our students now live and learn in a global community, and also how through the use of technology they could bring experts into their classrooms, and this demonstrates that point perfectly.

The students in Year 6 had been influenced by the work of Austin Kleon, and from this they displayed their poetry in a darkened room requiring viewers to use a torch to read their creative poems. Ginny tipped Kleon off about this Poetry Party exhibition and he subsequently blogged about it over here saying:

This is the coolest idea ever! I might steal it. Thanks to Ginnie and her students!

This simply reinforces how ICT and eLearning reduces the gap between students and a global audience. It can connect students with a range of people that have shaped their thinking, allowing for direct interaction and increasing the authenticity of the student work and learning experiences.

Blackout Poetry Party

Blackout Poetry Party

There are so many great tools that can be used by students and staff to display their work and learning for the world to celebrate and I look forward to more examples of this type of engagement with authors, poets, artists, film-makers, scientists, explorers, and sportspeople!

Teaching the Teachers – Introducing the SAMR Model.

Over the last fortnight I have been involved in delivering interactive training sessions for our 2014 Yr9 teachers. This is a critical stage in the preparation of our 1:1 Computing programme that will see the 2014 Yr9 Cohort bring a laptop to St Andrew’s College. It builds on the ‘behind the scenes’ changes already implemented: the replacement of the wireless network, improved switching and ensuring our fibre internet connection has sufficient capacity to manage the increased demands placed on it next year.

It can sometimes be a little daunting training the teachers – they all have significant experience as classroom practitioners along with a strong grasp on effective pedagogy. My job is to show ways in which the use of technology can increase engagement and contribute towards improved outcomes. One of the models we have adopted to help with this is the SAMR model developed by Dr Ruben Puentedura and is intended to be an easy model to consider how to integrate technology with a teacher’s existing practice.

The SAMR model has four stages which build on top of one another:


This example shows how Google Earth can be integrated in the four levels

Substitution: The technology acts as a direct substitute, with no functional change

Augmentation: The technology as a direct tool substitute, with functional improvement

Modification: The technology allows for significant task redesign

Redefinition: The technology allows for the creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable

Dr Puentedura explains the SAMR Model here

For many staff, the integration of the technology, in this case each student bringing a laptop to class, will allow for some very easy “substitutions” to take place e.g.

  • Traditional “handouts” are emailed to students directly or placed on the College Learning Management System (Moodle) so students can download them.
  • Similarly, Powerpoint presentations are made available to students for download instead of hand writing the key notes down from the Powerpoint or whiteboard.

The beauty of the relatively simple SAMR framework is that to build to a higher level of integration of the technology is comparatively straightforward. Continue reading