Moving towards SAMR-fication

Like other COETAILers, the Mark Presnky article about doing New Things in New Ways with technology has had me continually reflecting since Course One on the validity and effectiveness of how I am using technology as a librarian.  While I am using a lot of technology (blogs, wikis, Diigo, Google Drive, podcasts, Glogster, and iMovie for starters), only some of these have transformed learning in a way that couldn’t be done as effectively without the technology. I do not think, however, that I have done anything truly new. On the flip side, I feel like I am going a long ways towards transforming the use of technology in teaching and learning at LIS.  With that in mind, here are my thoughts on our movement towards SAMR so far.

What We’re Doing

Library as a Virtual Space

Screen shot 2013-09-14 at 3.30.22 PMHaving an effective website is one of the most important parts of being a librarian, and I am pretty pleased about the current state of our library website.  There are lots of things I can and will still do with it, but I think this is the key thing I’m doing that can be checked as at least an M if not partly an R on the SAMR scale and transformation on the Technology Integration Matrix , particularly in terms of making resources available to all students simultaneously.   Students are able to access a wide variety of resources to support them in their literacy, research and technology pursuits 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Also, there is opportunity for exchange and sharing of resources. Students have been added to the library blog as student bloggers (to add recommendations and reviews), but no student posts have happened yet.

What I would like to do is figure out how to make it a more interactive site, where students can contribute content without having to make every single kid at school a guest blogger.  My gut feeling is that means I need to push the content towards the students through automated posting of the information on multiple social media platforms, meeting them where they are and asking for the feedback. Any thoughts? Does anyone know of a library website that is truly transformative in terms of patron use and engagement?


Lots of our secondary students are blogging now, compared with the total of Zero when I arrived here. Interestingly, I’ve seen some teachers basically copy and paste their old paper activities onto their class blog and have students respond in that manner.  Other teachers have completely revolutionized the way their classroom works as a result of their class blogging, with students creating, sharing and exchanging in a way that was previously impossible, particularly in second language classrooms.  I enjoyed reading about Julie Lemley’s evaluation of her school’s student blog use, and I am looking forward to trying to move my school in the direction of blogs being portfolios as well as active working spaces.

Web 2.0 Tools

Public Domain

Public Domain

As I mentioned in my laundry list, we’ve played around with a variety of Web 2.0 tools over the last year, but my favorite results in terms of transformation have been GlogsterEdu and Twitter.  Our Humanities and Spanish classes have both used Glogster, the interactive poster program, as a tool for communicating learning, and the results have been pretty exciting, if at times a little busy.  Just the fact that students are embedding video, linking to further reading, sharing photos and turning their final products into portals to more information instead of dead end paper posters makes me know there’s transformation happening.

Photo by Flickr user mkhmarketing under CC BY 2.0

Photo by Flickr user mkhmarketing under CC BY 2.0

Starting this past Monday, I am working with the Year 11 English B class on their unit about how social media is impacting our communication.  We are starting our unit by investigating Twitter specifically and students are sharing their thoughts and ideas through using the hashtag #listech11. I was SHOCKED at how many of them have never used Twitter and thought it was strictly for navel gazing. Anyways, I am looking forward to returning to the subject of our Twitter unit  later in Course 4.  I hope I will be able to say we transformed teaching and learning and that I’ll have a Twitter feed filled with examples.

Where we’re going!


Minecraft Cosplay Riminicomics by deviantART user zinghi under CC BY 3.0

Minecraft Cosplay Riminicomics
by deviantART user zinghi under CC BY 3.0


We are headed there! It’s been nearly six months in the works, but it’s finally going to happen. I’ve got a team of teachers together who want to upskill themselves a bit in MineCraft prior to unleashing it as an educational for the students.  We’ve got tons of MineCrafters in our student population, and I am looking forward to seeing them build effective communities in Humanities, use blocks to teach scale and breed virtual bees to teach genetics. I really think this is going to transform our teaching in a way that could not be done before.

Skype in the Classroom

Skype Pony by deviantArt user 10art1 under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0

Skype Pony by deviantArt user 10art1 under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0

Well, I want to make this happen…in theory. In practice, I’ve let the everyday stuff of my job keep me from engaging in it. I’ve joined and I’ve lurked, but I need to dive into a project like a Mystery Skype and just give it a go. Skype is the ultimate “R” in SAMR!  Connecting with experts, breaking down classroom walls, putting my students in the interviewer seat: there’s so many ways this could transform teaching and learning at LIS. I just had my first request from another Skype Educator, and I have put them in contact with a classroom teacher at my school.  If Skype Pony, can do it, so can I!

What do you think?

I’m tired of typing, dear reader.  What do you think?  How can I help to move my school closer to the R in SAMR?

4 thoughts on “Moving towards SAMR-fication

  1. Hi …
    In my opinion you already do a lot in the direction of redefinition (or even fully redefinition) and you provide learning on that level. I would love to jump on the experience with Minecraft. Even in primary school they are crazy about it. Vivian once wrote about a great experience with her son: Classroom in the Cloud courtesy of Air Canada (link to Impressive. There are already so many good examples.

    • Hi Verena,

      Well, I sent out the request for teachers who want to give MineCraft a try, and lots of primary teachers are on board, even though the primary library doesn’t have MineCraft yet! I am hoping this will be the motivation for the lower school to give it a try.

      Thank you for sending Vivian’s link along. I just read it and it’s fantastic! What an amazing story she told… I am going to pop over and let her know as well.

      Thank you for the kind words about my work. I feel sometimes like I get a little stuck because I am pretty good at stealing other people’s “New Things” and redefining them for my school community, but I don’t often come up with my own “New Things”. I want to be the guy who takes something like Minecraft and envisions how it could be used for education before anyone else does! to me, that’s the highest level of redefinition. I need to make sure I am more of a beta tester of tools, for starters. I also think it means being open to failure.

      Anyways, thanks again for your comment.

      Have a great day,

  2. Sounds like things are going great in your library! Not everything needs to be at the Redefinition level, but it sounds like your library and your role of librarian is being transformed in so many ways.

    Wondering if Skype of Google+ would allow for virtual book clubs or bringing in authors that aren’t in your region? I’m sure you’ve already thought about it, but thought I’d throw it out there.

    Hope you share photos of the training up of teachers in Minecraft. Are you having kids lead the training? We use Minecraft a lot in my middle school humanities course and I want my kids to teach their teachers. Wondering if someone has already done something similar.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Rebekah,

      Well, I had to fly out of the country at the last minute for this past week, so Minecraft is being put on hold until after the December break, but I think that having the kids teach us is a great idea. I have a few specific students in mind, and I think it will be a great leadership opportunity for them.

      I LOVE the idea of Skyping in authors, and I just haven’t quite made it there yet. As we move into the second half of our LIS Reads year, I am hoping to schedule some Skype visits for our monthly reads. Actually, one of our fellow COETAIL-ers is the author of one of the books we’re reading! I am planning to use this connection to start up that very conversation! 🙂



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