So Much Tech, So Little Time…

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With the NYC Schools Tech Summit on the horizon I am forced to recognize that, as tech savvy as I may think I am, there’s never time to learn about it all. Sometimes it’s just too much valuable information that I can’t possibly absorb it all. Many of our students are probably familiar with that phenomenon. So even if our goal is to become more tech savvy, how do we know where to start and what to focus on. I’ll show you three tech learning models that can guide you in your growth as well as give you my own personal thoughts on tech in education. Your philosophy doesn’t need to match mine, but you should have one.

So examine the type of PDs you’re going to and the type you’re giving. Who is your audience? Who are you as an attendee? A tech beginner or an advanced user? Definitely find enough innovation to overcome the zone of boredom, but don’t overwhelm yourself (or your audience) with too much information (he said knowing he was guilty of that same thing). If you’re new, start small and don’t overwhelm yourself to the point of feeling like you’ve failed. Grow slowly each day in your knowledge or you risk setting bad habits. If you’re a tech aficionado, don’t get lost in the minutia and don’t worry that you need to catch everything. There are other learning opportunities (like great teacher-led blogsūüėĬ†). Also drop any tech you’re doing just for tech’s sake. Run it through the lens of how it benefits your learners. Here are some models to help you with that.

If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow. -John Dewey


SAMR Model
The SAMR model and its connections to Bloom’s taxonomy

My visual representation of the SAMR model above is one on many that exists. The difference being that I relate mine to Bloom’s taxonomy of learning objectives.¬†It was the first technology learning model I became familiar with as it was introduced to me several years ago by the people at Common Sense Education, a good resource when searching for info on new tech.

SAMR, developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura, stands for substitution, augmentation, modification, and redefinition. It’s a guide to help teachers grow in their educational technology practices. What it basically means is that whether you’re a tech noob or a tech guru, there is a way you can improve your educational practice through technology. Don’t feel like you need to start a hyper-focused interactive website tomorrow with multiple social media connections. If today you only mastered email attachments…awesome. See how you can incorporate that tomorrow.



TPACK from Reproduced by permission of the publisher, © 2012 by
Reproduced by permission of the publisher, © 2012 by

If you’re like me, your first thought when hearing TPACK is of the lyrics to TPain’s “Blame It”¬†followed by images of the Wolf Pack shirts. No…just me.

TPACK, which is based on the work of educational psychologist Lee Shulman, stands for Technological, Pedagogical, and Content Knowledge. It attempts to identify the sweet spot where a teacher’s knowledge of their subject matter, their teaching skill, and technological prowess come together to make them a TPACK Teaching Terminator (not their term).

Where SAMR focuses on growth in technological knowledge, TPACK looks to where technology integrates with existing teacher skills.

Technology Integration Matrix (TIM)TIM

My favorite Tims are singer/comedian Tim Minchin and actor Tim Curry. Only slightly behind them is the Technology Integration Matrix (TIM) which was developed to evaluate the value of different technological practices in the classroom. Above is the original TIM, but it has since been modified to include more explicit descriptions and examples provided by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology. They also have a number of resources to help.

The TIM is somewhat like a more advanced version of the SMAR model in that it matches together 5 elements of quality teaching with 5 elements of technology integration which create a matrix of 25 tech teaching types. It is a useful way to examine technology that’s already being integrated or to see where you can innovate.


For me, despite my love of cool new gadgets, I always try to start from a place of what do I want my students to learn and what do I want them able to do. If the cool-to-play-with Google Glass or Apple Watch or other gadget isn’t the most efficient way to answer those questions then I don’t bring it into the class. I can’t promise I won’t get one for myself though.

3 thoughts on “So Much Tech, So Little Time…

  1. This is a great post Sean! I’m a big fan of many of the resources you mentioned here from Common Sense Education to the SAMR Model connected to Blooms Taxonomy.
    I even learned something new which is a real pleasure having been in this field for 0ver 25 years!!

    So yes, it always starts with the learning not using technology for the sake of using it or because it’s fancy and new. School goals, curricular goals and lesson goals all play a part!
    Thank you for this post!

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