Redefining My Learning

Silvana Meneghini and I  work as Academic Technology Coordinators at Graded, the American School of São Paulo. ” A flashlight in the fog of technology integration“, initially the title of a conference workshop proposal, quickly developed into the desire of creating a framework to guide and coach teachers based on Ruben Puentedura‘s SAMR model. The framework does not place emphasis on technology devices (or technology integration) in itself, but on the process of upward movement from substitution to redefinition of tasks and learning activities.

Our collaboration in developing said framework became a prime example it itself, demonstrating the power of a metacognitive approach to redefining the creation of a professional development framework. In an attempt to motivate educators to take another look around and evaluate the relevance in our modern world of traditionally taught lessons and activities, skills and curriculum, we encourage educators to continue learning how to learn.

This past week, Silvana  and I hosted our first Google Hangout on Air . The hangout was the next natural step in transforming our own growth as learners. We wanted to share our framework, solicit feedback, gain perspective from the various experiences from other professionals and be open to revisions to our thoughts and framework.


The short story of our transformative learning experience is as follows. Silvana used to have her own office. Isolated from daily informal interaction with a colleague to spontaneously chat, talk, request feedback, question, challenge or agree with. We share an office since I moved to São Paulo  at the end of last July.

REACHING OUT- Local, face2face
We talked, we pushed each other’s thinking on our thoughts, points of view, practices and visions of educational technology and modern teaching and learning. There were some extremely good conversations going on in our little office. The big huge whiteboard which takes up one entire wall in the office, was being put to good use as we brainstormed, wrote, erased, doodled, starred, circled and started over again several times. Our essential question: How could we best support our teachers in going beyond adding technology to their existing lessons and units?

Silvana marveled at the relationship of the SAMR model, technology and pedagogy and reflected in her fascinating blog post titled Technology shoving Pedagogy to the center stage? TPACK Reviewed.

From our brainstorming thoughts and attempts in articulating our idea of helping teachers think deeply about the difference of using technology to substitute a traditionally taught lesson and what redefining relevant LEARNING means, we started reaching out.

REACHING OUT – Global, Small group

We enlisted the help of 3 trusted colleagues of our PLN, who we knew would support us in starting to create a depository of classroom activities that were put through the different stages of the SAMR model (developed by Ruben Puentedura.

Andrea Hernandez (USA), Allanah King (New Zealand) and Maggie Hos-McGrane (Mumbai) contributed the first three examples and in the process helped us see the value of creating the SAMR framework and exercise to support teachers in working through the relationship of technology, pedagogy and relevant teaching and learning.

REACHING OUT- Global, Crowodsouring, open group

In our belief that a myriad of examples of different grade levels, subject areas and activities would support and benefit our teachers and in turn other educators as well. We reached out further to ask members of our PLN to contribute to a Google Form, that guided them through the SAMR exercise. The feedback was positive, that going through the exercise proved to be “incredibly helpful” and “forced me to think about tech integration”.



REACHING OUT- Global, for feedback, amplification, deep discussion and conversation

Blogging is part of my reflection and learning process. It was natural to share and solicit feedback via Langwitches. My readers did not disappoint by leaving thought provoking comments. Dissemination via Twitter is another unconscious part of my learnflow. Monitoring responses, questions and RT (retweets) allows me to gauge the interest, feasibility and helpfulness of an idea, template or resource that I am sharing with my network.





Challenging ourselves to take it beyond the comfort zone of our blogs and Twitter, we invited Cathy Beach (educator from Canada) and  Laurel Jankewitz (Math teacher at Graded, The American School of São Paulo) to be part of our first attempt in using Google Hangout on Air. We created an event and disseminated the day and time via our PLN.

At one point there were 20+ viewers of the live stream. We truly learned as a group across timezones and continents. Canada, USA, Mexico, Brazil, UK, India, and Australia were viewers who identified themselves during the event.  The active participation of the following educators truly lifted our understanding and learning to new levels. Thank you for staying / getting up at all hours of the night/ morning to be part of the learning. Thank you Dana Watts, Karin Hallett, Josh Mika, Joe Dale, Becky Fisher, and Chrissy Hellyer!



Below are some of my notes as I was going over the questions submitted during the Hangout. At one point the question was raised, if the Google Hangout in itself

SAMR Exercise Feedback P1

SAMR Exercise Feedback P2 SAMR Exercise Feedback P3 SAMR Exercise Feedback P4 SAMR Exercise Feedback P5

Karin Hallett, a friend and former colleague (we happen to speak German/English with each other) gave me feedback via email after reading my blog posts about the framework. She questions the last step of the process being revision and suggests the addition to evaluation/reflection as an integral part of the PROCESS subfocus area.



Of course! How could we forget the reflection as part of the process. Back to the drawing board.



credit for the “reflection icon”that is part of the one above goes to Kevin S. (a Graded student)

Next week, Silvana and I are on our way to ASB Unplugged to present in person our framework and ask our workshop participants to put their activities through the exercise, pick it apart, judge it for usability to think deeper about pedagogy and modern teaching and learning.

Looking back on the process of my learning that I have described above, I truly believe it has been redefined. My LEARNING has been redefined, not because I was able to have a Hangout or blog or tweet, but because of the ability to receive feedback, talk to colleagues and learn with people who believe just as passionately about the value in sharing and contributing to other people’s learning than I do. The biggest take away for me is Becky Fisher’s comment about the IMPACT, not the ACTION that defines the redefinition stage. So… how do we translate that into our schools to give our students the IMPACT, not just the ACTION?