Monday, May 20, 2013

Mobile Learning: It's About the Learning, not the App

My colleague Kristie Johnson and I had the opportunity to attend the iPad Summit in Atlanta, Georgia. This conference was not about the iPad, however. It was about student learning and and using new methodologies with mobile tools to develop new ways of teaching. It totally changed my way of thinking and understanding about the use of mobile technology in the classroom. If you are already using mobile technology in your classroom or if you are a new adopter, rethinking and redesigning lesson plans and strategies to promote creation, collaboration, communication and critical thinking can ensure students in achieve their learning goals.

It's not about the apps 

Too often teachers find an app they love and then try to design a lesson around the app. A successful lesson design will first set clear intentions, outcomes, and objectives with appropriate tools in mind.  The iPad is just one of many tools available. Start here first: What should the students know and be able to do? How will that be assessed? Once the plan is in place, then determine the apps that will fit the needs of your students. EdTech Teacher's resource, The iPad As A... provides a list of apps based on specific learning objectives

It's about the learning

The SAMR Model

Successful technology integration is achieved when it is used without a second thought. The SAMR Model is a system which you can use to design  your lessons, moving from using technology as a mere enhancement to allowing the technological tools to transform the lesson.  

Substitution is the first and lowest level. Technology is used as a direct tool which substitutes for something previously used. For example, having students use a computer for word processing instead of writing out the assignment is just direct substitution for paper and pen. 

Augmentation is the second level. The main difference between augmentation and substitution is that the same tool has functional improvements. For example, grammar and spell check functions in word processing or the cutting pasting of text or images allows for enhancement. This stage allows the learner to perform at a much higher level of productivity. 
Modification is the third level. This level allows for significant redesign but doesn't necessarily change the task but incorporates additional tools to change the assignment to meet the learning goals. For example, the word processed document could be redesigned into a brochure or made into an infographic. This could be posted on a website or emailed. Once again, productivity is increased. 
Redefinition involves looking beyond the lesson and redesigning it to include using technology tools for tasks that would not be possible without them. For example, a students could collaborate and design a project online through the use of  Google apps.  The project could include photographs, graphics, even video, added from many different devices to the shared document. Learning is the top priority. The technology is the invisible tool that makes the tasks, the collaboration and critical thinking happen. 

To find out more about the SAMR model,visit to find out more. 

Tip of the Week: Download YouTube Videos

Looking for a quick, easy way to download YouTube Videos? Here are two sites that are easy to use and will allow conversion of YouTube Videos into most formats. Just remember to abide by copyright and fair use laws. Not sure about copyright as it applies to schools? Find out more here


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