29 March 2015

Diversity in front of simplicity

When I'm talking about how I connect tech to the SAMR model in my examples it's exactly that part I'm talking about. The technology. But of course SAMR can be used even without 'tech', so far I havn't talked about that. 

When I use technology I try to use it as effective as it's possible for the moment. Therefor I reach different levels on the model and it's not always necessary to reach the higher levels. But when describing the steps how it would be possible to go there I hope I (or you my readers) could see how it would be possible to reach higher and hopefully without modify your own goals. 

With that said, this is not how I've solved the entire course.

As one of my friends comment on my previous blogpost 
"There should be some common ground between 'traditional teaching' and ICT." 

Of course, that is the key to success: to keep our students' interest, we have to vary our teaching so it's always interesting. A course full of powerpoints or minecraft won't make it! I have to use my whole toolbox and no matter what tool, I can be successfull if I use SAMR. The technology, as well as SAMR model, is totally useless unless I have an idea what I want to deliver. 

I want to take my teaching to a place where it's interesting to the students and I'm pretty sure they learn in another way that we're used to. So I have to step out of my comfort zone, and walk to their spot and deliever. And that's not always the easiest.

What comes to the project "Business administration with World of Warcraft" we never did play the game during the lectures, we mostly used PowerPoints and the whiteboard. However, when using World of Warcraft as a sandbox, we could draw parallels between reality and into a virtual world the participants were interested in. By doing that we have not had to modify our goals, we achieve them anyway. And as a result of that, we could meet halfway with many good and often lengthy discussions, unlike the traditional manner with the textbook examples when the students most often are sleeping.

We do not really need to learn and master the game, it's enough that we are interested in our students' interest and use this to our advantage. 

We took advantage of both parties knowledge to achieve a common goal, and that might be a step to the question "How do I utilise knowledge by choosing this or that?"

27 March 2015

Think SAMR ain't easy!

Again, thinking SAMR isn't the easiest. 

When I use a game in education like Minecraft I usually feel like I'm already on step three of the SAMR model but instead of accept the fact I start to think: why? How can I already be on the modification-level? As important as it is to hit a higher level, to really take advantages of tech, it's to understand how I came there. What have I done that's different with the other times, except "just" use a game (in education)? 

When you do some googling there's loads of examples of how you reach level 1-2 or level 3-4, but it's very rare to have the whole progress listed.

Sometimes I have to accept I'm on an higher level and start from there but my goal is to explain every single step, because I guess it would help me master the model. And yes, I know there's lots of critics against it but hey, it's just a model to support you.

When we use the Gamification tool Didactor - 14 games in one platform - I guess this is what happens:

Technology is used for processes that were possible before its introduction. We replace pen and paper to computers and the Internet.

Technology is used for processes that were possible before but they simplify and improve the performance.
Basically, students have the same type of information as before but it is easier for both teachers and students to make the data, it improves performance because the students get immediate feedback and the teachers have more time in the classroom.

Learning process begins designed in a new way because of the access to technology. Learning is developed.
Didactor has given students the opportunity to increase self-awareness and reflection, the students are no longer satisfied to complete the course without strive for higher ratings. Teachers are more present during the lessons, it's more fun to teach and they have a better chance of preventing learning problems. Learning is developed for both parties.

Technology is used that allows the creation of new tasks that were previously impossible. But we have not yet reached the fourth and final stage because we have not yet redefined data and questions.

Fourth level is important to show even though we didn't reached that level this time because it makes us thinking, what to do next?

Business administration with WoW?
What comes to Economics with World of Warcraft, a project we completed yesterday I have to accept to start from the third level.

Using a computer game (in this case, World of Warcraft) differs from traditional teaching in the classroom. Suddenly we have gained access to a concrete case in which our students can perform financial transactions that affect their way of understanding how financial markets work from a digital, social and educational content that both affect and are important to them. By the digital world as World of Warcraft adds, we can execute trades in a way that had not been possible with just paper and pencil because there already exists an economic system in the game, that students are very interested in (third level of SAMR: modification).

Even beyond our educational mission, the project idea is already alive and exist, it creates entirely new conditions that would not be possible in a regular classroom situation (fourth stage of SAMR: redefinition).

The trade that students make in the game affect other players who are not part of the task, which makes their actions have a greater impact than just within the school framework. This in turn means that students take greater responsibility and understand that every action has a consequence on other players, just as it is in the financial market where all the transfers have consequences.

Am I satisfied with the summary?
I'm satisfied getting such a good summary of level 3-4 but I'm still thinking what happened on level 2.

17 March 2015


Last week's Thursday my niece (the highschool girl) contacted me and wanted my help to ask my colleagues (in Finland) what they think about Sweden. It turned out she had gotten a task within the range of the national tests (Sweden has them) to give a speech about this subject. I asked her if she had ever used Google Drive and she replied negative and it got me a bit worried, negative on social media as well, negative answer to all kind of collaboration that I use with my students (upper secondary vocational).

So, to save some time, she had to put up with the questions. I helped her with Google Forms, added an add-on (autoCrat, so she got noticed every time someone had answered her form) and asked my colleagues via email and also through my PLN (Personal Learning Network)

My niece was so frustrated so I could almost touch it, her teachers seem to use their 1:1 tool (laptop) as a notebook but nothing more. They even get their tasks on paper and has to hand in paper reports. Paper? 2015? 

As she herself was doing something extra I start to wonder how long her efforts would go on the SAMR model.

Not very high I'm afraid, because the teacher hasn't changed the task it's entirely possible without technology, but with using Google Drive and Twitter we get a bit higher. And if she would have made a blog report we could even get as high as level 3.

We replace paper and pencil with technology.

We use Google Forms and spread through social media (Google+ & Twitter), technology acts as a direct replacement for other tools with functional improvements. That is step 2 of the SAMR.

If she would present their results through a blog, with comments (communication with outsiders) it will arises reflection. There we probably learning at a deeper level and passing the bar to step 3 on SAMR.  

There're two questions that usually helps start think about:
  1. Where does the learning start and why?
  2. How is the task defined, would it be possible without technology?

My advices to her

  • Try to think about what you have learned, when you learned it and why.
  • These three query words she should have included in his presentation as that would be very interested for her teacher. 
  • Make a blog report of it.
A blog report? when everyone else does a PowerPoint (as the teacher wants!) Am I nuts? Probably...

16 March 2015

Minecraft & SAMR

Note to myself:
This is the same blog post as in my other blog, I just want to have my educational journey at the same place.

My daughter Vera (Minecraft: AquaVera) goes in pre-school and the teachers use the old fashion, more traditional way of teaching. I still think they are trying to do the best possible, after their circumstances (no computers). Now when they have a project to build the kids own houses with cardboard they're also out, walking to see how everyone lives. I also believe young people needs a mix of learning methods, but as she anyway had this project and she wanted us to play Minecraft we agreed it could be awesome to build our house (and apartment) inside the game. 

Suddenly, while building our house it hit me, I'm using the SAMR model: what can I learn from this? 

These are my conclusions as I have come to when using Minecraft instead of cardboard house project. SAMR is based on the technology to improve or transform (four steps) way to learn and to define the data. And the picture is from the most awesome illustrator Sylvia Ducksworth.

We replace paper and pencil with technology.

We build our house and apartment in Minecraft, the technology works as a direct replacement for other tools, with functional improvement (to be built and watch it in 3D at scale, etc). I started with the foundation and after building a wall, she understood where we were and what we were going to build.


We have went out and taken pictures of the house in order to re-create the best possible way, the technology also makes it possible to major changes in approach (of our build).  

The collage of images above are some of the nearly 40 she took when we were out and thought about how we make the model better.

AquaVera has filmed how our house looks like and together we have shoot inside Minecraft to show our build. The technology enables tasks that are not possible without technology. 


We have together been thinking what we had learned, when and why. 

Vera told me, as a result of taking pictures of our house (phase 3) she has a better idea how to paint the cardboard project and from phase 4 she now has an idea how to create her model so it look as our flat. You could say she has become better at analyzing information and that's her learning. Build phase was fun, but we've done that before.

In both cases she looking forward to play with the models, both methods are in her opinion fun and gives her different points of view. Young people need both variety and help to evaluate their newfound knowledge.

I have learned that from small steps be able to see a whole picture and how I can then use the experience in other contexts. Also, this particular type of discussion is the most important in the educational development. 

It creates insights, it creates confidence to teachers / trainers, it enhances learning for students. This type of discussion is in my experience the essence of educational development!

In the beginning...

A year ago (2014) I finished my first Minecraft project and I made a first try to reflect what I've done during the last year. I tried to apply my thoughts to Ruben R. Puentedura's SAMR model and when doing that to Minecraft it turned out like this:

The lowest level is Substitution: 
Technology acts as a direct substitute  
Instead of work with papers, students use computers.

The second level is Augmentation: 
Direct substitute with functional improvement 
Instead of book encyclopedia students use wikis and YouTube to solve problems. 

The third level is Modification:
Technology allows for a significant task redesign 
With the Minecraft tool the students started to create 3D models of their schools and meanwhile learned different subjects, took screenshots, videoclips and used them in reports or microblogs.

The fourth level is Redefinition: 
Technology  allows for the creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable for example creating a calculator (electrical engineering), use a 2D sketch to create a 3D model (technical drawing), the experience: to actually walk around inside your 3D model and feel as you walk there in real life.

Finally, I have to agree with Techno Rookie about the best part. Neither did I had to move through these levels or through the SAMR model, I challenged my students, they adapt and overcome, with other words: they did the rest.