This past Wednesday marked the third and final installment of Ridley College‘s year-long SAMR, EdTech Quintet, and TPCK professional development with Dr. Ruben Puentedura. It was a year that required ongoing faculty commitment to professional learning, a willingness to take risks in classrooms, and a genuine curiosity about the ‘transformative’ (and often disruptive) impact of technology in 21st century curriculum design. It was PD that asked a lot from teachers, teachers already ensconced in task forces, coaching assignments, activities and community service, IB training, and full course loads.
When I first envisioned a partnership with Dr. Puentedura, my hope was that it would spark a new community dialogue in our School, complete with a shared language for both teachers and administrators, about the role of technology in teaching and learning. My hope was that it would further inspire us to take risks, create and innovate, and push our students to do the same. What I witnessed over the course of the year surpassed all expectations.
Design: I think what helped to make this a personalized and rewarding experience, was that teachers were active participants in their learning. In many ways they shaped the design of their PD, tailoring it to their proclivities and interests. Sessions were structured to give teachers the freedom to choose what they wanted to research, restructure, or design. The overall structure of the PD was a blend of lecture, group inquiry, design, informal peer presentation, and Q and A. In the first session in August, Dr. Puentedura presented his SAMR framework and the EdTech Quintet model and fielded our queries. By that afternoon teachers worked in breakout sessions and began applying SAMR directly to their chosen lesson or unit of instruction.
Innovate: The second session in November again gave teachers direct access to Dr. Puentedura. In small imitate group settings, teachers shared their applications and outcomes with one another. Dr. Puenteudra provided personalized critique and feedback. Teachers left these sessions with a renewed focus, new ideas, and ofttimes merged their projects across curriculum.
Reflect: Our last session this past week had teachers voluntarily share their experiences in a full faculty assembly. They reflected openly on the strengths and weaknesses of various steps and aspects of their action plans. These sharing sessions provided an excellent overview of this year-long experiment. Special thanks to Ridley faculty Gillian Fournier, Allison Harding, Scott Vernon, and Chris Gordon for their courage and willingness to participate in this tech “show and share” session. They brought SAMR to life and demonstrated what taking risks in the classroom can achieve. The day closed with a final presentation from Dr. Puentedura about ‘designing for growth’ and maintaining a culture of innovation and risk taking.
It was truly a rich and vibrant PD series, and I am honored that I was apart of it. Great things are happening in our classrooms everyday and there is much we can learn from one another. We must make time for these conversations as they are vital to our growth and development as a community of learners. As a school, we are now equipped with a shared language, experience, and reservoir of ideas and best practice. While I am sad to say “Goodbye” to Ruben for now, I am grateful for his time and dedication to our Faculty.
Dr. Puentedura has uploaded his presentation slides from his time at Ridley on his weblog. Included here for your convenience are all three presentations.
August 27, 2014. SAMR In The Classroom
November 28, 2014. SAMR In The Classroom: Developing Sustainable Practice
September 2, 2015. Technology in Education: Designing For Growth