I’m currently swamped in almost-the-end-of-the-year grading. Somehow I managed to plan in a way that every class finished a unit this week and had a test. My oh my. Grading is not my favorite part of teaching. At all.
When I think about the SAMR Model, I feel like I’m grading myself. Am I bad at using technology? Then I’m just doing substitution. Am I great? Then I’m up at the modification level… or maybe even the redefinition model!
The problem with grading in general is that it is hard to slap one definition on anyone’s abilities. Many of my students have a mix of grades in the grade book for the year. If I looked back at my own tech integration over the past year and assigned grades of S, A, M, or R, I’d also have a mix. If a student gets an A on a test, it doesn’t mean they are completely immune from ever doing mediocre work again. The same is true for me. I’ve had my technology high points over the past year, and some real low points as well. I have some projects going well right now, but I don’t feel comfortable saying, “I integrate technology at the modification level.” Honestly, I feel like technology for me is two steps forward, then one step back.
Sometimes I have students fill out a shared Google Spreadsheet with information. That is pretty much substitution. I could have taped a piece of paper to my whiteboard and had kids write what region they want to research for a project and accomplished the same goal.
More often, however, I have students do activities such as practice their vocabulary at home with Quizlet online flashcards. I would say this is augmentation or maybe modification, because the activities you can do with these flashcards go well beyond what you can do with traditional paper flashcards. My students love to compete against each other in games on Quizlet, for example, and that wouldn’t be possible with traditional flashcards. I would also say that the RSA videos we made a while back, and the infographics we are creating in class now are something between augmentation and modification as well. Sometimes I feel like infographics are little more than sleek digital posters. At the same time, my students can use them in their digital portfolios and share them in various ways, which I think of as being more indicative of a modification-level activity.
I need to keep searching for ways to really redefine what my students are able to do with the help of technology.