Monday, February 29, 2016

SAMR...What in the Web?

Educational Technology has rapidly advanced over the last decade or so. So fast actually, that teaching without it is almost unheard of. I mean, who wants to spend valuable class time writing on a board when they can prepare a lesson on a Flip Chart through Active Inspire that contains interactive learning tools and creative ways of teaching to keep the students engage. Why would someone waste paper and use a poster board to list goals of a lesson when they could use a PowerPoint with all the notes, pictures, and diagrams one could imagine?
Well if you’re like me and wouldn’t dream of taking up valuable class time with something as time consuming as writing on a board, than you would definitely be on board with this guy and his vision of how technology is a fundamental aspect to teaching.

Ruben R. Puentedura

Puentedura created the SAMR model, which explains the educational uses of integrating technology into the classroom. The model breaks down into two sections, each with two parts. In this post I am going to do my best to break down Puentendura’s model to help explain what it is and how it can be applied to our very own teaching practices.

You can find many different videos on YouTube and other useful sites to help you understand just what the SAMR is and how it works. Here is the link and my notes to the video I found most helpful.

The SAMR Explained by Students

·      Section One
o   Enhancement
§  (S)ubstitution
·      Technology acts as a direct stool substitute with no functional change
o   Example: Writing an essay vs. typing an essay

§  (A)ugmentation
·      Technology acts as a direct tool substitute with functional improvement
o   Example: Google Docs to share your essay with other students or teachers for feedback
·      Section Two
o   Transformation
§  (M)odification
·       Technology allows for significant tasks redesign
o   Example: Link outside text and videos in essay
§  (R)edefinition
·      Technology allows for the creation of new tasks that were previously inconceivable
o   Example: students can use multimedia to publish their story they created with the world

While watching the video on the SAMR model, I realized that although I agree and supported technology in the classroom, I never took the time to sit down and think about how vital it is to the students and their education.  In my elementary and on through some of my middle school years, computers weren’t used very much in education. We practiced typing on some little machines and played a few games here and there are desktops, but connecting to the Internet inside of school never happened until I entered high school. In high school, I took a computer applications class, and by the end of it I thought I was the smartest person I knew because no one in my family could do as much on a computer as I could. Now, I’d say I’m nothing above average when it comes to technology. I can do all the basics and catch on to things that are taught to me, but I have no extensive knowledge. However, being able to share files, documents, etc., with other classmates has made life so much easier in my college years. Technology has made everything easier in my college years…

We can use many different kinds of technology in teaching. Our options are almost infinite. For example if I wanted to teach students about the United States and where the states are located and maybe their capitals, populations, and the state flower, I could use a PowerPoint or a Flip Chart. I could include a picture of the entire nation to show what all the states look life together and then break it down state by state. Each slide or page to the chart could include an individual picture of the state; color coded by population in regions of the state with a key, and then a star and the name of the capital where it is located. I could then bring up a picture of the state flower and the history behind it. I could add a quiz at the end and leave blanks for students to fill in information about the state of their choice.  These are all things I can do in a reasonable amount of time, to bring to class to teach students. This is an activity that could hold the attention of the students and allow them to interact, and it could be changed easily if any mistakes were made or if students had their own ideas to add to it. I could also share this file with other educators so that they would be able to easily access it and use it as a tool to teach in their classroom. We would be teaching student the exact same thing they would learn in a basic American History class, but with the fun and exciting integrating of technology!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Is teaching and parenting related? I think yes!

If you have read the “About Me” section of my blog, it might stand out that I am currently a Psychology major that plans to acquire a Masters in Education. Throughout my college career I have found myself falling madly in love with these two opposite yet similar fields and I would like to use this post to explain just how they tend to mingle with one another.
In my current psychology research team, we are studying how teaching styles in the classroom are reflective of parenting styles at home and how they are equally influential on the education of the child as the parenting style is on the lifestyle of that child. Diana Baumrind was a developmental psychologist that identified three different types of parenting styles based on the characteristics of “demandingness” and “responsiveness” between the parent and child. These three styles include Permissive, Authoritative, and Authoritarian. Other researchers later discovered a fourth type, neglectful or indifferent, but for the sake of applying these concepts to teaching, we will stick to the original three. The idea is that a neglectful or indifferent teacher, is not a teacher. Permissive is a possibility but to be neglectful would mean to be absent and to be absent is to be out of a job, therefore it’s not really something we have to worry ourselves with when it comes to education. Permissive parents are usually described as indulgent in that they give in to their child’s every want and whim and typically do not set nor enforce rules or structure in their house. Authoritarian parents are on the opposite side of the spectrum in that they set strict rules and expect the children to abide by them out of fear of some form of punishment and they typically do not show any flexibility.  Lastly, authoritative parents, fall directly in the middle. They provide rules and structure and expect their children to abide by them, however they listen and reason with their children. There has been plenty of research over the past few decades to support authoritative parenting to be the “ideal” parenting style, but we now have research to also support it as the ideal teaching style.
Studies have shown that students with authoritative teachers find themselves to be more interested in the class and academically successful. Some researchers have done broad studies in just observing the teacher and class; others have gone as far as evaluating the teachers and the test scores of the students. Regardless of the method, they all had the same findings. Authoritative teaching styles are far more beneficial to the students than permissive or authoritarian. Studies have showed student scoring higher on test, being engaged and respectful in the classroom, and even having a liking of the teacher. All of these things make for an academically successful student, which is why this is something present and potential educators should take into consideration. When you are overly strict and instill fear in children, they tend to block you out to avoid contact. However, on the opposite end of that spectrum, when you allow them to do as they please, they tend to lose respect for the teacher and do not stay on task. The idea of the authoritative teaching style is that educators are able to enforce rules within reason and allow for some flexibility when it comes to special circumstances. Authoritative teachers are able to set a lesson plan and have students incorporate their own ideas into it. And there should be a level of respect where the students understand you are not their “friend” but you do care for their wellbeing.

Most past studies have focused on younger ages between preschool and fifth grade, but there has been recent research to support the same idea in a college setting. My research team is focusing on college professors and students’ class satisfaction as well as how well they liked that particular professor and comparing those results with the reported teaching style of the professor. It will be interesting to see these results in our own university and I’ll be sure to share them all with you! Or you can watch me and my team present it during Alumni Weekend on April 29th!