The Beatles Nailed IT

Posted by George Lieux on June 9, 2014

The long and winding road that leads to your door
Will never disappear
I’ve seen that road before it always leads me here
Leads me to your door

Technology was probably not on the Beatles’ minds when they composed “The Long and Winding Road.” As a technology coach focused on maximizing learning, my job is a long and winding adventure. It’s long because technology is constantly changing. It’s winding because I keep searching around for new and better ways to provide meaningful professional development.

One useful discovery on my winding path is Ruben R. Puentedura’s “SAMR” model. The relatively simple terms—substitution, augmentation, modification and redefinition—seem to resonate with administrators and teachers.

SAMR Model
SAMR model. Click photo for explanation by Dr. Puentedura.

The simple explanations of each level provide opportunities for discussing why certain technology tools can or should be used. The references to enhancement and transformation keep the focus on learning content, not just learning technology. As Bill Ferriter writes in his blog The Tempered Radical, “Technology is a Tool, not a Learning Outcome.”

Poster of
Copyright 2013 by Bill Ferriter. Used by permission.

Taking another curve along my path, I participated in a “coaching cycle” with two high school instructional facilitators. In this approach, one or more teachers work together with an academic coach to create a plan for teaching a unit, concept or standard(s). The important twist here is that I provided ideas for using technology only after the goals and objectives of the learning were in place.  Two good resources on coaching are Jim Knight’s book Instructional Coaching and Diane Sweeny’s books and materials on student-centered coaching. Another excellent resource in this work is the TPACK model which maps the “complex interplay” of content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and technology knowledge.

Diagram of TPACK Model
Image © 2012 by tpack.org. Reproduced by permission.

I am convinced that teachers, specialists and administrators can work with the SMAR and TPACK models along with coaching cycles to provide rigorous and engaging teaching and learning. That’s the plan I have for enjoying the challenge found in the “Long and Winding Road” of Ed Tech in the 21st Century.

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George Lieux

George Lieux is a technology integration specialist in the Fort Smith (AR) Public Schools and a founding member of the Arkansas TICAL cadre.

3 thoughts on “The Beatles Nailed IT”

  1. You identified two of my favorite resources for teacher professional development! I especially like the TPACK model as it really helps educators grasp the complexity of technology-supported instruction design.

  2. I’ve often talked and written about how technology “adds value.” In the simplest terms, I used to identify two basic ways: (1) enables you to do something better or more efficiently, and (2) enables you to do something new and useful that you couldn’t do before. I guess I was on the right track because those two ideas seem to map nicely to SAMR’s enhancement and transformation. Puentedura just breaks each down a bit further.

  3. I love the analogy to the “Long and Winding Road.” You’ve put together a nice reflection of some valuable resources to help us transition as an education culture to more integrated use of technology to support classroom instruction. The SAMR model is a good articulation of the levels of comfort individuals have with their use of technology tools while providing a guide for where to go next as confidence increases. I’m also a fan of Jim Knight’s work. Thanks for the great post and resources.

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