Same New – Same NEW!

Maths practitioner, Sammy White reflections on tried + tested approaches with a new (digital) look!

Not another Bloom’s taxonomy!

I am fortunate that a large part of my role is to explore new technology and ideas to enhance the teaching and learning of students at our college. I love that feeling when you find a new way of doing something that inspires a teacher and a group of learners. We have all had to engage more with online platforms, with technology. This will be an evolving journey going forward, we all have to adapt, but surely as teachers, this has always been the way? I remember when audience response poll pad systems came in years ago, we had to book the set out in advance, we had to adapt our lessons to include hearing from all learners via these pads. Look now, where would we be without a Slido, a Mentimeter, a Wooclap, a Google Meet poll or a question in Teams? We hear from more voices because this technology has engaged with what we are trying to achieve. We have successfully substituted the old thumbs up/down or red and green cards or 5 finger ratings into a technology employed approach.

When we substitute tasks from the traditional face to face model into a more technology employed model it is useful to consider Puenteduera’s  2009 SAMR model.

We enhance our teaching with technology when we substitute and improve the task. Moving the face to face pulse check of thumbs up/down to an audience voting tool kit directly substituted the task. As teachers, now we can collate this data, spot trends, ask more questions about our learners and their learning. We have improved this task and no doubt in a few years there will be a new tool or way to check what learners know part way through a lesson. We will adapt as teachers again. 

What’s this new fangled thing do?

When interactive whiteboards first came on the scene, we battled to either be timetabled in or not in a classroom with them depending on our preference. We substituted traditional board work into a new way of working. We were able to drag and move work to different screens. We could display videos and embed them. We could do activities at the board in new ways. Successfully as teachers we adapted to this new technology tool and now interactive whiteboards or screens are even more becoming the norm.

All too often we look at amazing technology tools and ideas and seek ways to transform and modify our tasks. Puentedura didn’t create a SAMR ladder that we have to climb. Nor do we need to jump to the top, rip up the years of experience we have. As teachers we model learning for our learners by developing our practise. I see this in my learners now that we are online. I have trialled many different tools and techniques and now we have a routine that works for us, me and my learners. They respected the journey I was on. As teachers, we need to adapt to new ways but recognise that, as teachers, this has always been the way. Sometimes substituting what we did in the face to face classroom into an online platform is enough.

Sammy White
Experienced FE Maths practitioner, supporting edtech and blended learning across a college group. First female Google Certified Coach in Europe. Google Innovator, one of 78 selected globally in 2020. Right tool, right job.