Since getting 1:1 iPads, the SAMR model has had the biggest impact on my teaching philosophy. SAMR stands for substitution, augmentation, modification, and redefinition and describes different ways to leverage technology in the classroom.

Image source: Schoology

The first step, Substitution, comes when an educator substitutes the technology for something else. For example, you may use a SMARTboard as a whiteboard (guilty!) or an iPad as just a textbook. The ultimate goal, however, is Redefinition, when technology is leveraged in ways that were inconceivable before.

In my classroom, Showbie helps me achieve the redefinition level of the SAMR model by allowing for asynchronous communication. Collaboration that can occur anytime and anywhere was inconceivable before the tech. While I do still use it as a substitution for turning in physical paper (and saving trees!), I get most excited when I can redefine my lessons.

I treat my classroom like a coworking space where students become entrepreneurs of their own learning. This allows them to practice the 4Cs:

  • Creativity
  • Communication
  • Critical thinking
  • Collaboration

These are the 21st century skills needed to succeed after college. One of the biggest complaints about group work is that one person always ends up doing more of the work. However, Showbie helps me make it a non-issue.

In my coworking classroom, I push students to implement the strategies of successful start-up companies. For effective collaboration, students need to be able to communicate and hold each other accountable. The Showbie Groups function works perfectly for this. Students can communicate in the Group folder even when they are not together and they have a record of who did what when. If a student is absent, they have to follow the protocols they set up as a team (and store in the Group Folder). This often requires them to let each other know in advance if they will be absent and inquire what they need to do for the group prior to returning. Additionally, if a student submits a task after class, both the rest of the group members and I can give feedback and suggestions.

Often, I assign my students long term and short term projects simultaneously. We spend a lot of time learning effective project management techniques. Part of the process is to work through iterations before finalizing the product. One powerful way for the students to reflect on their work is to get feedback from their peers. Showbie’s Class Discussion feature is a great way for students to workshop their progress.

I find that students give more meaningful feedback if:

  1. They can think through their suggestions rather than giving them on the spot and in person.
  2. They know it will be visible to the whole class and not just the group.

I consider myself a lifelong learner and will continue to revolutionize my teaching for the rest of my career. This helps me keep my passion for teaching alive. No matter what new thing I experiment with, Showbie has proven its usefulness and versatility far beyond the implementation of a paperless classroom.

Alexis Mabe lives in Miami, Florida and is a high school teacher with ten years of classroom experience. She also serves on the innovation team at her school and is currently pursuing her doctorate in Global Education Leadership. Alexis is passionate about using technology to foster the skills students need to be 21st Century Learners. Follow her on Twitter @AlexisMabe.

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