For the last couple of years, I’ve supported a school that was piloting the 1:1 digital initiative for our district. This year, that initiative is rolling out to all of our elementary schools. I’m supporting three other schools who are NEW to the initiative. At our staff training session today, there were a lot of “what if” concerns about the logistics of moving forward with the ipads in the classrooms.
“What if the students forget to charge their ipads?”
“What if someone comes into our classroom and takes an ipad?”
“What if the students forget their ipads altogether?”
“What if we run out of chargers?”
“What if a child logs into someone else’s Drive account or other account?”
What if, what if, what if…. This is a group of high energy, deeply committed professionals who wanted to make sure that they were being thoughtful and planning for a successful implementation. They were trying to anticipate as many of the “speed bumps” as possible. And they were trying to plan for solutions and preventative measures. But it soon became almost overwhelming — there were so many “what ifs”.
What I realized as I worked with this group is that the SAMR model is important for us as teachers to keep in mind.
We are at the SUBSTITUTION level of the model. We are taking these digital devices and apps and substituting them into our classrooms for things that we already do. This is important work for us to do. We cannot hope to move beyond the substitution level if we don’t move THROUGH it. We are not yet at augmentation or modification. And we cannot begin to plan appropriate augmentative or modified solutions. We need substitution level solutions.
So, what if a child forgets his ipad? Well, what do we do when the parallel problem happens in our classrooms now? What do we do when that child forgets his math book or his writer’s notebook? The same solution should apply. It is substitution. We are at the substitution level. And we need to own that and embrace it.