Classroom technology integration is about more than replacing paper with a screen

Photo by Brad Flickinger. CC BY 2.0

Several of us from NCSSM attended Elon University’s Teaching and Learning Conference. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, it’s a great conference and it’s free! 

A highlight for me this year was a presentation by instructional technologist Michael Vaughn aimed at introducing a framework to analyze technology and quickly identify its potential effectiveness. The idea is to use technology intentionally within the pedagogical context of the lesson. Technology should never be about the tools or shiny gadgets — but about your pedagogical goals. 

He noted that the introduction of educational technology fails for a number of reasons:

When introducing new educational technology it’s important to be pragmatic. Technology is not perfect, it’s a tool — not a learning outcome. Technology is not required and always works best in specific context. 

The framework Vaughan discussed is called SAMR, a model for helping educators more effectively utilize technology in teaching and learning. The idea is to not focus on the tool, but the learning process. In other words, always ask yourself “what learning process does this technology enable?”

There are 4 levels in the framework:

The next time you’re thinking about adding technology to a lesson, evaluate how that technology can change what students are learning to do. Think about how you can use technology to modify or redefine something your students do in the classroom to make it more meaningful and memorable. The goal is to improve learning outcomes — as opposed to using technology to simply replace the reliable piece of paper.

SAMR Credit: Sylvia Duckworth, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Share this post.