Unpacking TPACK: What is it and how does it work?

CLASSROM DIGITAL PEDAGOGY

Unpacking T-PACK: What is it and how does it work?

By: The PAVE Academy

Introduction

As technology becomes a bigger and bigger element of the modern-day classroom, there are education specialists who have developed technology specific pedagogical approaches to for the use of digital technologies in educational programs. In another series of articles, we have explored the SAMR model by Dr Ruben Puentedura, a popular and very powerful digital pedagogical approach to technology in the classroom however the SAMR model is not the only framework that is designed to help schools and teachers integrate technology into their classrooms to create effective learning experiences. Therefore, in this series of articles, we will unpack another popular and powerful approach to digital pedagogy – TPACK.

Before we dive in it is worth noting that TPACK, Like SAMR is a large model and as such we would not do it any justice in trying to tackle all its elements in one single article. So, like our approach to unpacking the SAMR model, we will explore TPACK over a series of articles so that we can gain a strong understanding of this model and how it works in the classroom – but today we are going to gain an understanding of the framework, its components and how they intersect to help teachers develop their teaching experiences.

What is TPACK?

Put very simply, TPACK is a framework that is designed to tackle the nature of knowledge that is required by teachers and educators for the successful integration of technology into their classrooms. Divided into 3 domains of knowledge (TK: Technical Knowledge – PK: Pedagogical Knowledge – CK: Content Knowledge), TPACK explores how their complex interplay and intersection of these 3 domains allow them to effectively teach and engage students with the learning using technology. Combining the ideas of what teachers know (Content Knowledge), how they teach (Pedagogical Knowledge) and the role that technology plays in the learning (Technological Knowledge), TPACK aims to assist teachers to improve student learning outcomes and better impact student learning that is occurring in their classroom

What is the difference between SAMR and TPACK?

Well to put it simply, SAMR is designed to provide a high-level gauge of the degree of technology used in learning activities and lesson units where as the TPACK model is designed to provide map for the integration of technology into classrooms more effectively. To read about SAMR please review the series of articles on our online educational journal that unpacks the SAMR model in detail.

The first level of TPACK is looking at each knowledge domain individually to understand what the focus on.

CK – CONTENT KNOWLEDGE

This can be very easily explained as “the WHAT” or your understanding and expertise of subject you specialise in. This could be an individual specialisation like music, arts, or physical education, or all the core curriculum areas like literacy, numeracy, science, and humanities. It is the knowledge, facts, concepts, and theories that are related to a specific discipline.

PK – PEDAGOGICAL KNOWLEDGE

This can be very easily explained as “the HOW” or the art and science of teaching itself. Including theories and models for teaching, pedagogical knowledge is about the understanding of how people learn and the different tools, theories, instructional designs, and strategies that teachers use to ensure that they are learning is effective to the student undertaking it. Pedagogical knowledge also includes methods of assessment, so not only is it for the transition or ‘consumption’ of knowledge but also the ability to assess if understanding has taken place, and the depth of understanding that has occurred.  A teachers understanding of a variety of pedagogical approaches will ensure that they can successfully design and implement effective learning experiences for the students in the class, tailored to the ways in which they learn.

The first two domains were based off American educational psychologist Lee S. Shulman’s study where he identified that “teaching at its best” lies at the intersection between a teachers Pedagogical Knowledge and Content or ‘Subject Matter” Knowledge intersection. Building upon this idea, education scholars Punya Mishra and Matthew Koehlr from Michigan State University in 2006, added a third domain of knowledge to bring Schulman’s method into the 21st century – Technological Knowledge.

TK – TECHNOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE

TK is the knowledge that the teacher has about the tools that are used to deliver effective teaching and learning in their classrooms. This includes how teachers select, use, and integrate technology into the delivery of content and curriculum in your lessons. TK also includes the assessment of quality of content that students access through the internet, software applications, games and other digital resources that are used for learning.

Now that we have an understanding the 3 knowledge domains and how they came about, we now can explore a brief overview of the second level of TPACK – intersection of 2 domains

PCK – PEDAGOGICAL CONTENT KNOWLEDGE

The intersection of the pedagogical and content domains, this knowledge is the specific knowledge that a teacher has in engaging students in learning that is specific to their own specialised content area. For example, a music teacher has specialised content knowledge around music theory and its application on an instrument, and as such, their knowledge and skill as a musician can allow them to tailor the pedagogical approach to either differentiate or scaffold the learning style to ensure a deeper learning experience and to assist the student to achieve a successful outcome.

TCK – TECHNOLOGICAL CONTENT KNOWLEDGE

The intersection of Technology and Content knowledge explores how teachers and students have used technology in specific content or subject areas, like music, art, or science, for deep and lasting learning. Examples like this would explore the use of technology in the use of data collection, analysis, and presentation in a learning lesson. Application of the technological tools can help students deepen their inquiry and understanding within a lesson or unit of work.

While teachers have a need to bring their classrooms into the 21st century, there is an entire new layer of knowledge and expertise that is required to be able to do this effectively.

TPK – TECHNOLOGICAL PEDAGOGICAL KNOWLEDGE

This intersection is about how teachers choose and manage the technology being used by students in a lesson to achieve the learning intentions and outcomes. What tools will benefit their workflow and learning journey through the lesson? How can technology be used to share their work with others, fostering collaboration both in and out of the classroom and how can technology assist with the chain of feedback on the students progress to assist their development. The understanding of technology and how it intersects and interlocks with pedagogical decisions will assist teachers will advance a teachers practice.

Now that we have covered the first two levels of the TPACK framework, we can now explore the final stage, the TPACK model as whole…

TPACK – TECHNOLOGICAL, PEDAGOGICAL AND CONTENT KNOWLEDGE

The third and pivotal element of the TPACK framework is the centre area, where the 3 domains collide – the centre of the model which supports teachers understanding of how tools can enhance teaching and support students learning in more deeply and effectively. The core of TPACK is how students can use technology to dive deeper into the exploration of a topic, allowing them to develop they ways in which they display their knowledge and then connecting to source and experts outside of their classroom to validate their work and support their findings. This “dynamic interplay” of the 3 knowledge domains is TPACK and is argued to be the heart and soul of innovative teaching.

THE DOTTED FRAME

In any classroom and in any learning situation, regardless of where you are around the world, context is the key to ensuring that any framework or model fosters effective learning for students. The TPACK Model acknowledges this difference, symbolised by the dotted frame, it outlines how the TPACK framework applied in a classroom will change from one classroom to another, in the practical sense impacted by teacher and student skill, knowledge and ability, classroom and school climate, and available resources.

So how can you use TPACK?

This framework is designed to scaffold how you can build effective lessons for your students, starting with your content and pedagogy knowledge and then layering in technology

You can use TPACK as a basis for your professional practice review, to assess your own knowledge and understanding of the 3 key knowledge domains, Content, Pedagogy and Technology and identify areas of strength and weaknesses in your practice. Alternatively, you can use the TPACK framework to create professional learning communities (PLC’s) with other teachers to combine your strengths. This approach can allow you to create PLCs with members who have expertise in each domain, or across multiple domains, to ensure that the lessons you are creating are powerful, engaging, and effective. Too often student learning objectives are missed when lessons are designed around a piece of technology and lesson activities become more showcase and “fluff” then effective learning experiences. The TPACK framework reminds teachers that technology is just part of great teaching, an element that helps us achieve the learning outcomes we design for our students and that true innovation in education lies in the intersection between the 3 knowledge domains.

WHERE TO FROM HERE?

Now that we have formed an understanding of the framework and how it is designed to work, we will spend the next couple of articles unpacking examples of how TPACK is applied to the classroom, to help you have a better understanding of each stage and to model examples of how this can assist you and the learning that is happening in your own classroom.

Questions that can drive your exploration of the T-PACK framework and how it can impact the learning in your classroom

Q1

How can you use the TPACK model to reflect upon your own teaching practice? How can it be used to inform your Professional Development Plans and review documents?

Q2

In what ways has the exploration of the TPACK framework made you question the ways in which you are incorporating technology into your classroom and pedagogical practice?

Q3

Has this article, and in turn understanding the TPACK model changed the way in which you think about technology integration in your classroom? How?

Q4

What are some areas where the traditional method of teaching this lesson that could stretch and extend the students learning? By using a digital learning solution, can you use this framework to redesign the task to take the learning in a brand-new direction that extends the learning experience.

Q5

Could this framework assist others in your school / teams? How?

What is TPACK?
BY: Teaching Teachers for the Future

The TPACK Framework
By: TPACK.org

Image References
All images used in this document were created by the PAVE Academy for the purpose of publishing. 

Lumio by SMART- a blended learning and hybrid classroom tool for teachers

BLDENDED LEARNING & HYBRID CLASSROOMS

Lumio by SMART: a Blended Learning & Hybrid Classroom tool for teachers!

By: The PAVE Academy

Introduction

In our last article we unpacked the differences between hybrid classrooms and blended learning and developed an understanding around how these two approaches to digital learning differ (if you did not get a chance to read the article please go back and take a look because it can make your movement forward into the blended learning environment much easier). In this article, we are going to explore a specific tool that can be used both for Blended Learning and Hybrid Classrooms – a powerful tool that will drive your success in this pedagogical area – the SLSO or the SMART Learning Suite Online.

The SMART Learning Suite Online, or as it is otherwise known as the SLSO, is a relatively new instalment from SMART Technologies as a part of their SMART Learning Suite, and specifically the SMART Notebook software. A powerful interactive learning software on its own, SMART Notebook has been around for many, many years and has provided millions of teachers around the world with the tools to be able to create highly engaging and interactive lessons that can be driven directly from their front of classroom SMART Board interactive screens. However, in 2017, SMART Technologies shifted their focus from the downloadable NOTBOOK software and launched the SMART Learning Suite Online platform, a cloud-based platform that extended student and classroom engagement from their front of classroom displays to the student’s individual devices. No by no means has this shift in focus meant that SMART is no longer supporting or developing their Notebook software, in fact this is far from the case, this shift into the cloud-based platform was designed to enable teachers to effectively engage in interactivity in a ‘blended learning’ environment, and if I am honest, I think that this is one of the best blended learning tools available for teachers today. Why you ask? Well, let us unpack the SLSO in stages and you can see for yourself.

Accessing and using the SLSO:

The first thing that makes the SLSO so beneficial is the way in which students and teachers access the digital classroom space. In the following section of this article we are going to unpack the different ways in which you can access the SLSO and how teachers can use this tool to develop powerful interactive lessons. 

Teacher Access:

As the SLSO is a cloud-based platform, this means that all teachers need to create highly engaging and interactive lessons for their students is an internet connection, access to an internet browser and a SLSO license (we will unpack that a little more later).  

Logging onto the platform is easy, all you need to do is go to suite.smarttech-prod.com, click on the ‘sign in’ button and using your school email, you gain access to a easy to use dashboard where you can access a variety of different learning tools and elements.

Once you are logged into the dashboard it is easy to start developing lessons and creating interactive activities for your students. 

The big green “+” button (shown on the image above) allows you to access a variety of different lesson tools that you can use quickly in your classroom, tools and activities that we are now going to briefly overview:

1: IMPORT RESOURCE – this tool allows you to upload any existing lesson content quickly and easily you may have developed as a PowerPoint, PDF or SMART Notebook file straight into the SLSO platform. Once uploaded the lesson appears in a “slide deck” format which you can edit or add SLSO learning elements into the lesson and then instantly delivery to the students in your class.

2: YOUTUBE – this tool allows you to search for and publish YouTube videos directly in the SLSO platform. The YouTube search is called a “white hat” search which means that it filters out any inappropriate content and also strips off any ads or banners that appear in the videos. This tool also plays the video in the SLSO app meaning that students are not redirected to the YouTube app in the lesson which can prevent any detours is engagement and focus – a very useful tool for showing videos to your students.

3: NEW PAGE – this tool allows you to add blank pages which you can build in the SLSO platform by adding images, text and other tools.

4: SHOUT IT OUT – one of SMART’s brilliant student voice and engagement tools, you can quickly create an interactive student activity that captures their voice, ideas and opinions and shares them with the entire class.

5: RESPONSE – a formative or summative assessment tool, this element allows you to create interactive quizzes and assessments that can not only test your students understanding, but when set up correctly, can mark the work for you, provide the students with instant feedback as well as give you a spreadsheet of data and results to export for reflection and future planning.

6: GAME BASED ACTIVITES – is another of SMART’s brilliant assessment tools. Highly interactive and easily customised games, there are currently 11 games available to insert into your lessons to increase student engagement while triggering a variety of different teaching and learning strategies.

7: READY MADE RESOURCES – these tools have been developed by SMART for teachers to drop quickly into their lessons. Divided into 4 categories (Activating Prior Knowledge, Questioning & Reflecting, Graphic Organisers & Manipulatives), these tools can help teachers create powerful interactive learning activities for their students.

Please Note : To assist teachers with their use of the SLSO platform, the PAVE Academy have developed a series of on-demand courses that focus on the the Game Based Activities, Shout it Out and Ready Made Resources in the SLSO. These courses are all available for teachers and educators to access through the Learning Academy element of the PAVE Website – all you need to do is register to become a member of the website using your school or government issued email address and then you are ready to access and explore these resources – all free of charge!

The other key element that is available for teachers is the explore resources button at the top of the SLSO Dashboard.

This resource provides teachers with a wide variety of different pre-made resources which they can add into their classrooms quickly and effortlessly.

Divided into 4 categories Distance Learning, Manipulatives, Emotional Literacy amd Managing your classroom or presented in “streams” or “feeds”, teachers can browse through the catalogue of predesigned tools that can be quickly and easily added into your lessons. All in all, the SLSO dashboard is a very powerful and user-friendly digital teaching platform that is designed specifically for teachers to ensure their ease of use and access.

The big kicker for this learning platform, for me, is the HANDOUT and WORKSPACE elements. The SLSO platform allows you to quickly and easily turn any page of your digital class presentation into either an individual student HANDOUT or a group collaborative activity called a WORKSPACE by just clicking the option at the bottom of your slide.

Once you have made this conversion the students can interact on their own devices directly with each activity… but to help you get a better understanding of these amazing, blended learning and hybrid classroom tools, I will unpack each of these elements separately:

HANDOUTS:

Let’s say you have a PDF of a worksheet that you usually print out and give to each student to complete. The SLSO allows you to upload this PDF and convert it into a HANDOUT.

 This handout, embedded into your digital SLSO lesson, can be accessed by each student on their own device and completed using either a writing/pen tools, a text tool or by searching for and adding images from their devise directly into the handout.

Students click the START Button their devices and then they start working through the activity individually. Teachers have the ability to view the students work in real-time from either the front of classroom display or their own device and can provide feedback which will appear in real time directly on the students’ screen. Teachers can also skip from one student work to another allowing them to keep tabs on how engaged the students are with the activity. The added bonus to this is there is also a “teacher version” which allows you to bring up a clean version on the front of classroom display so you can teach the answers or explain the process without showing students work to the entire class.

WORKSPACES:

Another common experience is a collaborative activity that you may have designed and saved as a PDF, which you then print out and give to students to work in groups to complete. Well the SLSO platform allows you to upload that collaborative PDF activity to your dashboard, convert it to a workspace and then push it out to students to work in groups. When you activate the activity in the lesson, the SLSO workspace wizard prompts you to choose how many groups you want to have in the session (or if you want the entire class to work on the same task) and then auto-populates the group members for you.

You can customise the group members and move them around as you require and then once you activate the activity, the students can start interacting with the members of their groups on their own devices with each person’s work updating in real-time on their screen. Like the handout activity, teachers can switch between groups to see what they are doing with real-time updates on either the front of class display or their own laptop. Teachers can also include feedback to the group to help direct their continued work on the activity.

There is also a “teacher version” which is a clean activity which can be used to further explain the task and/or teach the answer without having to broadcast a groups work to the class. This truly digital collaborative learning tool cannot only provide you with highly engaging content for your lessons, but it can also save you time and budget by cutting down on the amount of printing and paper that you are using in your lessons.

Hopefully, you can see why I think these two elements are such an important element of the SLSO platform, but the benefits don’t end there…

Student Access:

The other HUGE benefit of being a cloud-based platform, is that with each SLSO license, a teacher gets a unique digital classroom code, which students can connect to through the hellosmart.com portal. Accessible through an internet browser, and yes you read that correctly – there is no need to download any special application just a standard internet browser.

All students need to do to access your digital classroom is go to www.hellosmart.com and either sign in (using their school Microsoft or Google email account) or join as a guest. The difference between these two systems is that if a student signs in to the system you can track their engagement and work, whereas joining as guest is only session by session based. Once they have chosen their signing in method, all they need to do is enter in your unique digital classroom number which is given to you at the top of your SLSO dashboard:  and then they are connected to your lesson.  

Once they are connected, each student can use their personal device to:

  • See the lesson content you are presenting on the front of classroom screen
  • Play the games and answer the response activities you set in the lesson
  • Engage in classroom discussions through the shout it out activity
  • Watch YouTube videos you embedded into the lesson without leaving the SLSO platform
  • Complete handout and workspace activities
  • Move from one slide to another – once the lesson has been changed from teacher to student driven – so that they can personalise their learning journey.

There are a huge number of benefits for both the teachers and the students for using a tool like SMART Learning Suite Online in your teaching. It allows the lesson to be completely interactive from all seats in the class, and it gives teachers the opportunity to differentiate the ways in which they are delivering content and students are engaging in the learning that is occurring. It allows teachers to move between student paced and teacher paced learning while allowing them to access a wide variety of digital tools which can help students gain a stronger understanding of the concepts they are learning.

SMART Learning Suite Online is truly one of the powerhouses with regards to classroom blended learning activities!

How do I gain access to the SLSO platform?

SMART Learning Suite Online is a paid license service that is embedded as a part of the SMART Learning Suite which also includes the SMART Notebook and SMART Ink Software programs. This blended learning works through individual licenses which are purchased by individuals or schools and are provisioned against individual teacher email addresses. Once this provisioning has occurred in the SMART Admin portal, the teacher is free to log onto the SMART Learning Suite Online platform or to download the SMART Notebook Software and log into the account menu tab to unlock the full capabilities of the software.

Having said all that, SMART do offer teachers the opportunity to try the SMART Learning Suite Online platform for a free, but it comes with limitations to the amount of lesson storage that you have. You can also download the SMART Notebook Basic software from the SMART website, which is a free version of their popular interactive teaching software. While the basic version of the software does have some of the premium elements stripped out, it, like the free access to the SLSO platform  can provide you with a great example of the powerful tools that can be available for you in your teaching.

Licenses can be issued as 1, 2 or 3 year lengths and they can be purchased through Pro AV Solutions and the PAVE Academy as we are premium SMART Technology resellers and work closely with the SMART Technology ANZ team. If you would like to explore using the SMART Learning Suite Online platform in your teaching, please feel free to contact us to explore how we can assist you with your license purchases.

5 Questions that can drive your thinking around blended learning and hybrid classroom tools that can spark professional discussions with your colleagues

Q1

What blended learning or hybrid classroom tools are we currently using in our teaching practice?

Q2

What of the tools listed above excited us and could really make powerful changes in our students learning?

Q3

What benefits to our students could the blended learning experience bring?

Q4

What current lesson/unit of work could we explore using a blended method?

Q5

What are our current strengths and weaknesses, as a team, that would effect the roll out of our exploration of blended learning or hybrid classrooms in our practice?

Please Note : To assist teachers with their use of the SLSO platform, the PAVE Academy have developed a series of on-demand courses that focus on the the Game Based Activities, Shout it Out and Ready Made Resources in the SLSO. These courses are all available for teachers and educators to access through the Learning Academy element of the PAVE Website – all you need to do is register to become a member of the website using your school or government issued email address and then you are ready to access and explore these resources – all free of charge!

References

SMART Learning Suite Online:
Link: https://www.smarttech.com/smart-learning-suite/

Blended Learning:
Link: https://www.smarttech.com/en/blended-learning

Blended Learning with SMART:
Published by: SMART Technologies

Image References

All images used in this article have been taken directly from PAVE Academy SMART Learning Suite Online Account.

Blended Learning & Hybrid Classrooms – what are they?

CLASSROM DIGITAL PEDAGOGY

Blended Learning & Hybrid Classrooms: what are they?

By: The PAVE Academy

2020 was a challenging year on many fronts, especially for those working in the education sector. Overnight, teachers in Victoria found themselves shifting their lessons into the digital space, and while some were able to do this quite easily, for others and dare I say most teachers, this posed quite a challenge. Some may think that moving the learning from a classroom to the digital space on the surface seems like not such a big deal, students will log into a Webex, Zoom, Google or Microsoft Teams session, the teacher will share their screen and off they go… but as any teacher will tell you, things are not that easy. While the above scenario may be true for a year 12 student who has the maturity to be able to take responsibility for their own connection, there are many other factors that go into the learning dynamic of a classroom. Factor in young primary aged students at the beginning of their schooling journey who are not developmentally ready to be responsible enough for their own learning? Or the students who are disconnected from school and struggle to be motivated to learn? Or the students who don’t have the financial support to be able to afford a device let alone a stable and unlimited internet connection? Or the student who has learning difficulties and requires additional supports to assist them with their learning? Or… and the list goes on and on. In truth, the modern-day classroom is made up of such a wide variety of different learning needs that the overnight transition into the virtual space provided teachers and schools with a world of issues and problems, problems that, in some part, were ironed out and solved as time went on which not only improved the learning experience for teachers and students but also opened the door for the next evolution of education in Australia, blended learning and the hybrid classroom.

If COVID-19 brought anything to the forefront of the education sector, it is that the future of education can leverage the hybrid or blended learning realm, but what is that exactly? Well while these two terms share some commonality, there are some distinct differences between these two terms that we must understand.

What is a Hybrid Classroom?

A hybrid classroom, sometimes called a ‘hyflex classroom” combines the idea of having students live or face-to-face in the classroom with students who are connected virtually.  There are many different takes on what a hybrid classroom actually looks like, and schools are starting to define this term in ways that best suits their needs and the needs of their students. Some schools are combining face-to-face interaction with a virtual interaction simultaneously, having some students live in the room while other students dial in virtually to experience the lesson from their home. This option provides students to access the learning regardless of their geographical location, but in times like we are experiencing now, it allows teachers to control the number of students in one physical learning space at a time. 

Another option is a variation of the scenario explained above, creating a roster for students to alternate between face-to-face and virtual attendance, giving all students access to both styles of learning balancing that with COVID-19 protocols and safety measures. Some schools are exploring mixing or rotating the two learning methods, having some elements run in the virtual space, like explicit teaching or lecture styles presentations with face-to-face workshop style learning events, meaning that students alternate between working from home and coming into school in response to the style and/or delivery of the learning that is occurring. Regardless of the “version” of a hybrid classroom, there are a series of pros and cons that this approach raises, and which need to be considered as we move forward.

Let’s take a look at some positive elements of hybrid classrooms as well as some drawbacks to understand both sides of the issue:

Some positives to Hybrid classrooms:

Flexibility

The one key benefit to the hybrid classroom is flexibility. You can schedule and timetable lessons more easily than you can in the face-to-face environment with restrictions like room bookings/size/location all becoming irrelevant. In addition to this, the flexibility allows students to manage their time more effectively, arranging classes and lessons around their other responsibilities.

Adapting for Diverse Learning Styles

The hybrid classroom can allow schools and teacher to adapt their delivery for the diverse learning needs of students in their classroom. For example, the virtual learning space can assist students with anxiety issues, allowing them to engage in a lesson free from the pressures of sitting in a classroom with other students. Or a student with auditory processing difficulties could benefit from the ability to stop, rewind and re-watch elements of a recorded virtual session, or visual learners can pause the session to study slides or elements of the presentations. Combining that with the more traditional, face-to-face elements of the classroom, we can ensure that the learning needs of all students are catered for and supported.

Transitioning students for their future pathways

Many tertiary institutions are moving into the online learning space, especially for their lectures, and as such having students experience this style of learning in their secondary years through the hybrid learning environment will prepare them for the learning that may lie ahead of them in a supported environment.

Keeping students “up to date” when they are unable to attend school

One of the biggest challenges for teachers is catching up students who missed school due to absences. Some students who were ill fall behind quite quickly and can miss the core elements of the ideas, skills and knowledge that were taught while they are absent from school. The hybrid classroom can allow them to either watch the learning from home and participate if they are able, or it can provide them with a recording to be able to watch at a later date to ensure that they don’t miss out on the key ideas being taught during their absence. While this will never be a replacement for the learning that takes place in the group, the ability for students to see what they have missed and witness the discussion that occurred in the lesson will make their ability to “catch up” a lot easier while also taking the pressure off the teacher to ensure that the “missing elements” in their learning are filled.

 

Some drawbacks to Hybrid Classrooms:

Students require a sense of responsibility, self-drive and organisation

The big drawback to the hybrid classroom is the need for students to have a sense of responsibility, self-drive and organisation. This means that students need to take responsibility to log on to the lesson at the correct time and to not be distracted by elements outside of the learning, and these are huge challenges that teachers faced during the COVID-19 remote learning experience. To be effective in this space students need to have a level of maturity that allows them to ‘step-up’ and do what is required of them when it is required of them…

Limitation of student technology

Regardless of how ‘cheap’ technology is becoming, there are still a large group of students who do not have access to appropriate levels of technology or internet connection that will allow their complete and effective engagement in the hybrid classroom. Students require reliable internet access as well as devices that can not only process the audio and video stream but also allows them to interact and engage simultaneously, and unfortunately this is not always the case due to geographic or economic reasons.

Are teachers and schools ready?

For the hybrid classroom to be effective, both the teachers and schools need to be ready to make drastic changes in the delivery of their lessons, their administration tasks and their pedagogical approaches to the students learning. To do this schools will need to make investments in software and hardware to ensure the teachers can effectively do their jobs and the students can complete the learning. Teachers need to rethink the ways in which they deliver content, tailor and structure lessons and how the students demonstrate their knowledge. Assessments may need to be redesigned to ensure that the work can be authenticated as the students’ own. For schools to move forward with this method of learning, there needs to be processes and plans implemented to ensure the learning is powerful and effective.

Loss of personal interaction

While there are huge benefits to flexibility and use of time, there is one huge loss to moving learning into the virtual space, and that is the physical contact and interactions when working with people in the face-to-face environment. Those incidental conversations that occur when people are working together, those nuances that are picked up about a person’s personality that come from being in the same physical space, the relationships that are built from these interactions struggle to be replicated in the virtual environment and can be a huge loss for the learning as well as the students’ development.

If you look over the positives and drawbacks above, you will see that there are strong arguments for both sides. Regardless of where you fall in this debate, it is safe to say that in the post-covid era, the hybrid classroom will be something that is talked about for years to come and is an area that a variety of schools and institutions are actively exploring.

What is a Blended Learning?

If you think about your teaching practice, you use a combination of different teaching approaches, activities and resources that were designed to assist students with their development and learning. From instructional teaching models, paper-based assessments and activities to online tools, digital games, and websites as well as video, audio and research. Theoretically, these tools, when used in combination for the delivery of a student’s education is called Blended Learning. While this may be the core understanding of blended learning, the concept of blended learning differs slightly from place to place which can make the idea of blended learning a little ambiguous.

The Victorian Department of Education and Training state that ‘blended learning refers to the planned implementation of a learning model that integrates student-centred, traditional in-class learning with other flexible learning methodologies using mobile and web-based online (especially collaborative) approaches in order to realise strategic advantages for the education system[i] while the Tasmanian Department of Education e-School defines blended learning as ‘a range of learning opportunities, e.g. online, face-to-face, community and home to achieve curriculum diversity and promote student enthusiasm.’[ii] The Australian National Training Authority state that blended learning is ‘the integrated combination of traditional learning with web-based online approaches’[iii] and the United States of Americas International Association for K-12 Online Learning states blended learning combines online delivery of educational content with the best features of classroom interaction and live instruction to

personalise learning, allow thoughtful reflection, and differentiate instruction from student to student across a diverse group of learners.‟[iv] In short, it could be said that blended learning is the idea of face-to-face or in-class learning supplemented by digital activities designed to strengthen a student’s understanding as per the design of the teacher or teachers who planned and developed the lesson.

For some, the blended learning approach may be a regular occurrence in your teaching practice, for others, the concept can pose a selection of challenges but wherever you stand, the concept of blended learning tasks are ones that will be pervasive in the movement forward for student’s education. It will change the ways in which teachers plan, design, deliver and assess student learning that is occurring in the classroom.

 

[i] Blended Learning: a synthesis of research findings in Victorian Education 2006-2011, By: Department of Education & Training Victoria, pg6
[ii] ibid
[iii] op.cit.
[iv] op.cit.

What is the difference between the two?

While they do seem similar, there are subtle differences that must be outlined for these methods of learning to be successful.

In short, blended learning is the mix or combination of online and offline resources used to teach a student in a unit of work or module or assess their understanding, the mix of physical and digital learning tools used to facilitate the learning.

Hybrid classrooms are an educational approach to the way in which the learning is experienced, with some students engaging in the learning in a face-to-face classroom while others engage in the learning through a video conferencing system.  

While both approaches mix physical and virtual learning, it is worth noting the key difference between the two is that in the hybrid classroom, the physical and virtual students are different people, experiencing the learning in the different ways, whereas with the blended learning approach, an individual person experiences different methods (physical and virtual) of learning in a lesson.

So why did we spend time unpacking these two ideas today? Why is it important that we understand their differences and what does it mean to your teaching? Well, if COVID-19 and the year 2020 taught us anything, it is that technology is going to play a much bigger role in the delivery of education in the future. Be it more lockdowns with remote learning situations or the blurring of our classroom walls to have one teacher engaging with students from a wide variety of locations, how we leverage technology is going to have a significant impact on our movement forward. A wave of change that we can ride, by understanding the key ideas and changing our thinking around how we can develop our pedagogical approaches, or a wave of change that can pull us into its undertow and makes it difficult for us to come up for breath.

Questions that can drive your integration of the Modification into the learning in the classroom and can spark professional discussions with your colleagues

Q1

Have I created a blended learning environment for the students in my classroom?

Q2

What digital tools am I using that support individualised and student-centred learning?

Q3

How did I find the “remote classroom teaching experience”?

Q4

How did the 2020 remote learning experience change my thinking about my approach to learning in my classroom?

Q5

What areas would I need to improve on to ensure the hybrid learning environment was a success in my classroom in the future?

References

What is the hybrid classroom?

By: Catchbox

Image References

Image 1: https://www.bridgeteksolutions.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Hybrid-Learning.png

Image 2: https://elearning.adobe.com/files/2018/11/1031477.png

The SAMR Model (Part 4) – Redefinition

CLASSROM DIGITAL PEDAGOGY

Unpacking the SAMR Model: Redefinition

By: The PAVE Academy

Introduction

As this is the final article in our SAMR Model series, this entry will look at the ways in which we can redefine the learning that is occurring in our classrooms with digital technology solutions.

Redefinition, the action or process of defining something again or differently, can easily be achieved in the learning landscape by the embedding of digital technology into the students learning experience. Once again take my new favourite SAMR infographic which has been a staple addition to all these articles. With the intention of exploring the different sides of a lake, we can clearly explore the depth of learning (pun intended) through the ways in which we design and present the task to the students. If the overall intention of the lesson is to have students identify the differences between two sides of a lake, we can start “improving the learning experience” through incorporating digital tools to instead of just looking at the other side of the lake, actually getting the student from across the lake through a variety of different means. We can substitute a digital solution for a traditional learning approach which is the row-boat option, moving the student from one side to the other across the surface of the water. If we take the digital solution and look at ways in which we can extend and augment the learning outcomes, then we are swimming across the water while using a snorkel to see what lies below the surface. Further development and design of our learning tasks with digital solutions can allow us to extend the level at which we explore the underwater environment. Modification, as we have discussed in our last article, allows the teacher to extend the learning outcomes for the task, while still traveling from one side of the lake to the other but extending a student’s understanding and dept of knowledge through exploring the underwater environment through scuba diving.

The final stage, Redefinition is the most advanced implementation of digital technology outlined in the SAMR model, as it not only addresses the key elements outlined in the original learning task, but it also takes the enhancements of the other stages and expands upon them, allowing students to not only travel across the lake to explore the other side but use a submarine to extensively explore the world that lies beneath the surface of the lake while the journey from one side to the other. This article is going to unpack this final stage to help you gain a stronger understanding of what this may look like in the classroom.

Before we launch into unpacking this final stage of the SAMR model, it is worth noting that for redefinition to be a successful element of a teacher’s pedagogical practice, it is important to acknowledge that to successfully adopt redefinition in their classroom, teachers need to open themselves up to the concept of completely rethinking concepts that may be “tried and true” which can make us feel a little vulnerable, especially when the ‘existing’ approaches have worked in the past. While this can be true, shifting our thinking to a continual improvement model can ensure that we not only create new and exciting learning experiences for our students, but we also create a new world of learning approaches that can help us on our own continual professional improvement.

Like Modification, Redefinition requires that teachers change the design of their learning activities and learning outcomes in a manner that can only be achieved through student use of technology. An example would be the manner in which students took notes when working in your class. Traditionally the passive handwritten notes did suffice, however moving that into the digital realm and incorporating programs like Microsoft OneNote, Evernote, Google Docs, Apple Pages, or even Microsoft Word can allow students to share their documents with a teacher and their peers, for collaboration on a single document to occur and for real-time feedback to be given to improve the students’ progression. In addition to this, a student can take a video or photograph of something that happened in the class and embed that directly into their notes. They can also drop in hyperlinks to webpages and utilise tools like dictionaries, thesaurus, and other grammatical tools that can enhance their workflow. Without redefining “how” students take notes in your classroom, as well as the concept of “what notes look like” students would never be able to create a stronger and more effective reference system for their learning in the classroom.

Another example could be based around a lesson for grade 6 students on how native Australian animals adapt to their environments to survive. Where the original lesson may have been students reading articles or watching a video about Australian Animals, we could redefine the lesson to explore a student’s inquisitorial approach to research gathering by using video conferencing to connect students to a variety of zoologists from around Australia to discuss in real-time how the different Australian animals in their region adapt to their environments to survive. In addition to this, teachers could have the students take a virtual tour of the Melbourne Museum where they can visit the “Amazing animals in a changing world” exhibit and move through the animals at their own pace. Finally, using applications like Google Earth, the students can take the information gathered from their meetings with zoologists to explore the different habitats and see the types of vegetation in those areas. This example takes a simple research-based task and transforms it into a highly engaging and interactive experience that draws on so many elements of the students learning outside just passively learning information. The inclusion of digital technology in this learning approach has meant that students connect with true experts, engaging in a dialogue around the topic, allowing them to form a deeper understanding of what is being discussed. Coupled with the virtual learning tours and exploration, the learning task has been redesigned and redefined into a multi-layered educational experience.

Another example could be a year 9 maths class where students are exploring geometry, specifically parallel and perpendicular lines. Traditionally, the lesson was based on a textbook where students used formulas to work out relationships between angles formed by two lines. The teacher substitutes the lesson moving the student’s work onto Google While this activity teaches and applies the knowledge, it can be transformed into a real-life context where they apply their knowledge to solve real issues and geometrical problems. Using applications like GeoGebra and Explain Everything or Screen-Casting O-Matic, students can create their own problems with a video tour of real-world examples of parallel and perpendicular lines that can be shared or presented to the class. This lesson example shows how teachers can take what traditionally is a passive learning experience and turn it into an immersive and engaging activity that gets students looking for problems in real-world contexts and then applying their knowledge to produce solutions which are then shared with their peers for feedback. Such a learning experience not only increases student engagement but also agency and voice by giving them control over the direction their learning takes while incorporating a practical approach to the use and application of this knowledge.

Another example of redefinition in the classroom is a grade 5 history lesson on Ancient Egypt. The teacher has been working with students to explore the Pharaohs and especially the ways in which they were honored after their death. The lesson traditionally had students looking at images in a book of the various trinkets and articles that were placed in the tombs with the pharaohs. Using digital tools like Online Quizzes, Internet searches, YouTube Videos, and the like, the teacher was able to substitute, augment and modify the lesson to make it more engaging, however by completely redesigning the lesson the teacher can have the students link to different international museums to obtain 3D scans of some artifacts which they then print out using a 3D printer. Once they have printed it out, they can study its design, and using the features inscribed on the surface of the artifact, they can use it as a model to design their own artifacts and use that to explain a design approach and story behind their product. This redefined lesson has not only utilised key digital tools but has brought the world of Ancient Egypt directly into the classroom in a way that could never have been achieved before – a truly powerful deep learning event for the students.

In all the examples discussed in this and the previous 3 articles around unpacking and understanding the SAMR Model, the teachers have looked at ways in which the original lesson ideas can be redesigned or modified to create new and exciting learning opportunities for students in the classroom. Digital technology and its effective use in the classroom is truly a revolutionary element that has taken the lessons that we deliver to our students into new realms. While this is fantastic and can create some amazing lessons for our students, it is important that we think about what stage of the SAMR is appropriate for the lesson that we are delivering. Remember not all lessons need to be pitched at the redefinition stage. It is about choosing the level that best achieves the learning outcomes that you want the activity to meet. Yes, there may be some opportunities where you can stretch the learning out to include more areas than you initially designed but that is going to relate to the overall unit of work and your learning schedule. Remember that the SAMR model is not a ladder that you need to try and climb to reach the top, it’s a spectrum that you need to place your activity along to ensure the best learning outcome for the student.

We also need to take some time to acknowledge that there will be some teachers who read these articles and feel a little overwhelmed with their knowledge and skills around the use of technology in the classroom which may allow them to achieve some of these outcomes. If you feel like this is you, then it is important that you don’t just dismiss this idea and stick to what you know. Instead, ask your peers for assistance, or get in touch with the Education Specialist at Pro AV Solutions for some free coaching because expanding your pedagogy to include digital technology can not only open up the SAMR model to your classroom but can provide you with a new frontier of possibilities that can not only enhance the learning for your students but can also open your eyes to new approaches to ways in which you deliver that learning in your classroom.

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Augmentation in the Classroom examples

  • Creating video guides and instructional models to demonstrate the application of learning
  • Students create webpages to share their knowledge on a topic with the world
  • Students can collaborate with students from around the world on topics that allow them to now only share their knowledge but also work collaboratively to learn from students outside their direct classroom
  • Design and product physical products with 3D scanning and printing
  • Use software and vacuum forming to produce a prototype of a product they have designed and then reproduce the prototype and sell that product in a controlled environment

Questions that can drive your integration of the Modification into the learning in the classroom and can spark professional discussions with your colleagues

Q1

What is the learning outcome that you are trying to achieve from this task? Can you rethink and redesign this activity to allow students to explore areas of their learning that sparks inquiry and exploration?

Q2

What output do you expect to see from a student at the end of this learning task? Can redefine the task so that you extend their output by creating opportunities that explore their creativity with digital tools?

Q3

How can the redefinition of a lesson in your classroom change the way students engage with their learning?

Q4

What are some areas where the traditional method of teaching this lesson that could stretch and extend the students learning? By using a digital learning solution can you redesign the task to take the learning in a brand-new direction that extends the learning experience.

Q5

How can I change my thinking around my approach to lessons? Am I able to redesign my lessons so that I can create learning activities that don’t just focus on one learning outcome? How can I use redefinition to my students’ benefit?

The SAMR Model (Part 3) – Modification

CLASSROM DIGITAL PEDAGOGY

Unpacking the SAMR Model: Modification

By: The PAVE Academy

Introduction

In the first two articles in this series we discussed an overview of the SAMR Model and then started to unpack it by taking a deeper look at the first two stages – Substitution and Augmentation. In this article, we are going to continue our journey of understanding the SAMR model by looking at the third stage – Modification,

To maintain continuity in the ways in which we are presenting these articles, if you look up “modify” in the dictionary you will find that it is a transitive verb that means to “make basic or fundamental changes to give a new orientation or serve to a new end” moving into the realm of design change of the learning task, creating a situation which changes the learning intentions for the lesson and the learning outcomes for the students. Taking an existing learning task or activity, one that may or may not have already been Substituted or Augmented through the application of the first 2 stages of the SAMR model, and redesigning its application in the classroom, using technology at its core, the modification stage of the SAMR model looks to create an opportunity for students to deepen their learning and understanding that was previously unavailable through traditional (non-technology) based activities.

Another example could be the use of Online Quizzes in place of the traditional pen and paper style paper. A grade 5 teacher has just finished a unit of work on different capital cities around the world. Traditionally at the end of the unit of work, the students would complete a short quiz to assess what they have learned during the geography unit. By using a digital tool like a Google Form, the teacher has created not only a digital substitution but has created a situation where the students’ engagement has been enhanced with the use of spell check, language and grammar checkers as well as access to a thesaurus. This augmentation has meant that the students can focus on sharing their knowledge without worrying about the spelling of different cities’ names. This augmentation can also assist in ensuring that students can get their ideas across, those that are being assessed, without having the stress of focusing on elements that are not necessarily the main focus of the unit assessment task. The augmentation of this task does not just stop here, it has improved the ways in which the teachers interact with the responses. At the end of the assessment, when students press the submit button, and if it has been set up correctly, the assessments can be corrected and students can receive instant feedback on how they went. In addition to this, the data is uploaded and analysed by the Google platform, providing teachers with infographics outlining the strengths and weaknesses in the student’s responses which can be used to inform the direction for future lessons. The data can also be exported into a spreadsheet for further analysis and reporting.

A fun way to continue to develop our understanding of the SAMR Model and how it sits in the overall spectrum of lesson development and improvement is this model presented by Kathy Schrock’s Kaffeeklatsch blog. Thinking of the SAMR Model as a coffee menu and thinking of the original form being a glass of water, substitution adds coffee beans to the mix to create a cup of coffee and augmenting this flavour by adding warm milk gives us a cafe latte. By adding vanilla favoured syrup to the steamed milk to a shot of espresso, and finishing it off with a drizzle of caramel we now have a new entity, the caramel macchiato – and while this is still theoretically linked to the original cup of water, we have a brand new direction and flavour that would not have been possible without firstly adding the coffee beans to create that original cup of coffee.

In our first two articles we discussed a drama teacher who has their class writing a performance journal, traditionally using a pen and paper solution by writing in their class workbooks, substituted with a word document that was emailed to the teacher for assessment and then augmented to a blog where the student could receive feedback on their writing from peers in the class. If we were going to continue workshopping this idea, if the teacher wanted to move this learning activity into the Modification stage, they could look at the learning outcomes that they were trying to achieve from the activity and redesign it into a collaborative joint performance journal. This could be moving a review into a Google Doc or a SMART Learning Suite Workspace activity where the students work simultaneously on the same document, sharing their ideas and creating a collaborative workspace that collates the student groups’ collective thoughts and learning. Alternatively, the teacher could create a digital “newspaper” style assessment where students uploaded their journal entries as either articles, podcasts, or short video review to a collaborative paper which was then published to the school community. This redesign of the learning task allows the students to explore their creativity in the ways in which they present their journal entries while creating situations where they can publish and share their work with their peers while also working collaboratively in either small or whole class groups. By adopting technology in this instance, the learning task has moved from a handwritten “dear diary” style journal entry to a highly creative, collaborative, interactive, and engaging learning activity which not only demonstrates the modification stage of the SAMR model but also explores ways in which students can start to take control of the ways in which they “experience” and demonstrate their learning.

By modifying a task using technology, you are allowing students the opportunity to “generate inspired and innovative work that isn’t confined to paper” which can create a highly engaging learning experience that has students pushing the boundaries of their learning and losing themselves in their learning. Modification can also expose the student’s creativity, allowing them to use their learning to express themselves through the ways in which they display their knowledge. An example is an English teacher who wants to teach persuasive writing composition. Where traditionally a teacher may have explored this topic as a written essay style activity, by adopting technology and the modification stage students can do a podcast where they share their opinions about a variety of topics, which could then be shared in a local school community for feedback. Another student could create a television new report style submission where they state their ideas or opinions on a topic and then find others that support and contrast their ideas to present a balanced new report this could be then presented to the class for collaborative discussion and analysis. In both examples, without technology, these were just essays or at best a newspaper article but by introducing technology and modifying the ways in which the students could demonstrate their understanding of persuasive writing composition the task has not only encompassed the students’ creativity and has opened up learning engagement to a whole new level, it has also started to incorporate student voice into the learning process, giving them control over the way in which they show what they have learned.

Let’s take the online quizzes that we spoke about in our last article where a grade 5 teacher just finished a unit of work on different capital cities around the world. Traditionally the assessment would be a short paper-based quiz, substituted to a Google Form allowed augmentation through access to spell check, thesaurus, and other text-based digital tools, however of the teacher redesigned the assessment by incorporating gamification elements, and created a game show activity like the SMART Learning Suite Team Quiz or a Kahootz! then this once the stock standard quiz has been redesigned into a highly interactive and engaging activity that embraces the fun in the classroom while also providing students with instant feedback and opportunities to incorporate metacognitive strategies into the way in which they interact with the game and answer the questions – a situation that was not conceivable before incorporating technology into the equation.
Another example could be for a Year 11 Visual Communications lesson where students are required to design and develop a new design for a low-income housing project to support refugees. Traditionally this may have been completed as a drawing on a piece of graph paper, however by introducing technology into the equation students are able to create 3-dimensional models of their building designs that can be run through digital simulations to see if they are able to withstand various different weather situations. This modification allows students to expand on the initial lesson idea, and not just look at the overall look of the building but also start to explore its functionality which reflects more of a real-world situation for architects.

In all these examples, the teachers have looked at ways in which the original lesson ideas can be redesigned or modified to create new and exciting learning opportunities for students in the classroom and as displayed by my favorite infographic about the SAMR Model, the use of technology has allowed us to drastically redesign the way in which the student travels across the lake, encompassing not only the movement from one side to the other but incorporating the ability to explore the sea life at new depths through our ability to “scuba dive”. 

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Augmentation in the Classroom examples

  • Collecting student data, and then analysing that with graphs and automated formulas through digital forms instead of traditional written surveys
  • Students recording audio of their text instead of just writing it on a piece of paper
  • Uploading learning resources as a PDF for student access, as opposed to photocopying
  • Using a SMART Board with the associated SMART Learning Suite to delivery a class instead of writing on a traditional whiteboard.
  • Creation of a slide show instead of a poster with embedded videos, audio files and hyperlinks

Questions that can drive your integration of the Substation into the learning in the classroom and can spark professional discussions with your colleagues.

Q1

What is the learning outcome that you are trying to achieve from this task? Can we substitute the task with a digital tool that can augment the students learning experience?

Q2

What output do you expect to see from a student at the end of this learning task? Can the students exceed this output expectation with a different digital solution?

Q3

What positive learning outcome extensions can come from creating a digital learning solution for your lesson?

Q4

What are some areas where the traditional method of teaching this lesson lacks in efficiency and economy? Can this be solved with a digital solution and how do they stretch the learning in new directions?

Q5

How can I change my thinking when I’m designing my lessons so that I can create lessons and learning activities that don’t just focus on one learning outcome? How can I use augmentation to my students benefit?

The SAMR Model (Part 2) – Augmentation

CLASSROM DIGITAL PEDAGOGY

Unpacking the SAMR Model: Augmentation

By: The PAVE Academy

Introduction

In the first article in this series, we discussed an overview of the SAMR Model and then started to unpack it by taking a deeper look at the first stage – Substitution. In this article, we are going to continue our journey of understanding the SAMR model by looking at the second stage – Augmentation.
If you look up “augment” in the dictionary you will find that it means “to make greater, more numerous, larger or more intense” and as this is the second stage of the SAMR model, we can deduce that Augmentation is taking a substitution task and improving its functionality, with a greater impact than it has on the learning outcomes of the students in the classroom. Taking a variety of examples, some of the same that we spoke about in the previous article, we can explore how teachers can introduce digital technology solutions that not only substitute the learning activity but also augment it.

In our first article, we discussed a drama teacher who has their class writing a performance journal. Traditionally they used a pen and paper solution by writing in their class workbooks, but the teacher substituted that with a word document that was emailed to the teacher for assessment. This was a perfect example of substitution in the classroom, however, if the teacher wanted to Augment the learning activity, instead of having the students write their practice journal on a word document, they had them create a blog where they would post their entries each week. While this seems like a substitute for the word document, the augmentation comes from the fact that there can be peer review and feedback given on each blog post through comments. Moving the journal into the blog space allows for the teacher to open the activity up to peer learning, an augmentation of the original learning task which only allowed for a student-teacher-student conversation flow. This augmentation allows students to gain access to a wider amount of feedback that can help them to develop a greater understanding of what they are working on and how they are reporting that in their blog.

Another example could be the use of Online Quizzes in place of the traditional pen and paper style paper. A grade 5 teacher has just finished a unit of work on different capital cities around the world. Traditionally at the end of the unit of work, the students would complete a short quiz to assess what they have learned during the geography unit. By using a digital tool like a Google Form, the teacher has created not only a digital substitution but has created a situation where the students’ engagement has been enhanced with the use of spell check, language and grammar checkers as well as access to a thesaurus. This augmentation has meant that the students can focus on sharing their knowledge without worrying about the spelling of different cities’ names. This augmentation can also assist in ensuring that students can get their ideas across, those that are being assessed, without having the stress of focusing on elements that are not necessarily the main focus of the unit assessment task. The augmentation of this task does not just stop here, it has improved the ways in which the teachers interact with the responses. At the end of the assessment, when students press the submit button, and if it has been set up correctly, the assessments can be corrected and students can receive instant feedback on how they went. In addition to this, the data is uploaded and analysed by the Google platform, providing teachers with infographics outlining the strengths and weaknesses in the student’s responses which can be used to inform the direction for future lessons. The data can also be exported into a spreadsheet for further analysis and reporting.

In our previous article, we also discussed a grade 3 teacher who has completed a unit of work on the Gold Rush. Traditionally the students would create a poster outlining the key points they learned during the unit but the teacher substituted this with a digital flyer. To augment this learning task, students could create hyperlinks on their flyers that could direct the viewer towards different videos or audio files that support the information they are trying to share. The interactivity of adding hyperlinks has turned what was originally a passive assessment experience into a highly engaging and interactive assessment event.

Another example of how augmentation can be applied to student learning activities is through narrative and fictional writing and composition. A year 8 student in their English class is exploring narrative composition with a focus on emotive language. The teacher had traditionally the students write their story on a piece of paper that was submitted to the teacher for assessment. It would have red pen marks written on it and then returned to the student for future improvement. The teacher however decided to substitute the task for an audio recording and had the student submit their story in an audiobook style submission. At the fundamental elements, this is a substitution, but if the teacher asked the students to place inference on the way in which they read the story, using inflections in their voice to demonstrate their understanding of the emotional language being used, the task has been augmented. In addition to this, students could add an audio backing track or sound effects to enhance the emotional connection being portrayed in the language of the story. In all of these instances, the activity has been transformed from just a passive submission of a student’s understanding of the ideas being taught to one that demonstrates the students’ levels on a wide variety of levels.

In all of these examples, the teachers have substituted the traditional learning activities and have added functional improvement that has either allowed the students to demonstrate deeper learning of the content or has allowed them to factor in different elements that were not covered in either the traditional or substituted method. If we look back at the SAMR model infographic shown in figure 1 below, if we want the students to get from one side of the lake to the other, then substitution (the rowboat) options are more than adequate. However if by creating a digital substitution there is the option for us to enhance the learning outcome by augmenting it (Snorkelling their way across the lake, looking what is under the water while they are swimming) and this links directly to the learning outcomes that we want to achieve in our lesson, then why don’t we take it? Either way, by using digital technologies as a substitution or augmentation for the learning, students are able to experience a wider breadth of learning outcomes faster and more economically when compared to their traditional method counterparts.

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Augmentation in the Classroom examples

  • Creating digital flyers and brochures that include multimedia as well as student created videos for a geography assessment task.
  • Students create multimedia presentations including audio, video, images, and interactivity for a business management proposal of facility improvements to the school.
  • Students can use screencasting software to annotate and narrate their work to demonstrate their learning as well as creating instructional videos for their peers.

Questions that can drive your integration of the Modification into the learning in the classroom and can spark professional discussions with your colleagues.

Q1

What is the learning outcome that you are trying to achieve from this task? Can it be achieved AND extended through modification with a digital tool? Will this create a more engaging & powerful experience?

Q2

What output do you expect to see from a student at the end of this learning task? Can the students exceed this output expectation through redesigning and modifying this task with a different digital solution?

Q3

How can a redesign and modification of your original learning task to include strong digital learning solutions create positive learning outcome extensions for your lesson?

Q4

What are some areas where the traditional method of teaching this lesson that could stretch and extend the students learning? By using a digital learning solution can you redesign the task to take the learning in a brand-new direction that extends the learning experience.

Q5

How can I change my thinking around lessons that I have run in the past? Am I able to redesign my lessons so that I can create learning activities that don’t just focus on one learning outcome? How can I use modification to my students’ benefit?