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Dr. Alice Christie's ISTE 2015 Presentations

ISTE 2015

Panel Discussion: How Have Emerging Technologies Changed Educational Environments Over the Last Decade?


ISTE Summary




Purpose & Objectives

This panel discussion will address the question: How can the use of technology help transform today’s schools into active, participatory, student-centered learning environments that build lifelong learners prepared to make significant contributions to the digital-age in which they live?


Successfully preparing all learners with the skills and capacities for digital-age citizenship—global awareness, creativity, collaborative problem-solving, self-directed learning—is no small order, and many educational leaders are finding that the traditional forms of education that have evolved through the end of the last century are simply inadequate for achieving these goals.


Technology can perform several key functions in the change process, including opening up new opportunities that improve teaching and learning—particularly with the affordance of differentiated instruction to individual learner needs. Once considered a possible resource, we now see how technology can be much more than that. It can play a key role, and at times a leading role, in the evolution of the teaching and learning environment.


Discussants will focus on the SAMR model as a blueprint for scaffolding technology integration in education. This framework is made up of 4 levels:

  • Substitution – teachers or students are only using new technology tools to replace old ones, for instance, using Google Docs to replace Microsoft Word. The task ( writing) is the same but the tools are different.

  • Augmentation – substitution but with added functionalities. Using the Google docs example, instead of only writing a document and having to manually save it and share it with others, Google Docs provides extra services like auto saving, auto syncing, and auto sharing in the cloud.

  • Modification – technology is being used not to do the same task using different tools, but to redesign new parts of the task and transform students’ learning. Using the Google docs example, peers or teachers can use the commenting tool to collaborate and share feedback on a given task.

  • Redefinition – students and teachers use technology to create new tasks previously inconceivable. Examples include students connecting to classrooms across the world, adding voice comments to documents, creating iBooks, creating collaborative mindmaps, documents, presentations, etc.

At the conclusion of the panel discussion, participants will understand:

  • a number of ways in which technology can be a change agent in education

  • the SAMR model and it’s implications for changing the roles and relationships of students and teachers in this digital age

  • change takes times

  • change demands visionary leadership

  • numerous paths that different educational organizations have taken to integrate technology into their teaching-learning environments

Supporting Research

Ruben R. Puentedura's SAMR Model serves both as a blueprint for scaffolding technology integration in education and as a theoretical foundation for our panel discussion. This Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition model (SAMR) is useful when considering how to successfully integrate technology into the classroom. This model places curriculum content at the forefront of teachers' thinking and allows for technology to be integrated with existing teaching practices. This ensures that technology is not the focus but rather a tool that enables pedagogical change in digital-age classrooms.

The SAMR model aims to enable teachers to design, develop, and integrate digital learning experiences that utilize technology to transform learning experiences that lead to high levels of engagement and achievement for students. Technology integration can be considered on a continuum - moving from substitution to redefinition of classroom activity. The SAMR model describes this continuum of the extent to which technology is integrated in the classroom; from the enhancement of existing practices to the development and creation of new practices.


This panel discussion also rests on the work of Christie (2006). Her E6 Learning Model is based on six principles: three that guide the curriculum, and three that guide the learning process. The three curricular principles are engagement, exchange of information, and empowerment. The three learning process principles are exploration, explanation, and exhibition. To meet the six criteria of the E6 Learning Model, instruction must (1) engage learners in personal and relevant ways, (2) allow for extensive information exchange among all learners, and (3) empower learners to understand and use new technologies and strategies effectively in their classrooms. The digital-age classroom, in turn, needs to be structured to (1) provide learners with opportunities and time to explore new technologies and learning strategies, (2) explain real-world data, inconsistencies, or problems using critical thinking and informed decision-making, and (3) exhibit the new knowledge gained through active, exploratory, inquiry-based learning in ways appropriate to the digital age in which they live. The 6Es together result in maximized constructivist learning.