Out-of-the-Box Thinking Requires a Box

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The Captain of Class serves students salsa that was made in class.

It usually takes a few minutes for people to “get” the shirt that I am wearing in this picture. In my opinion, it doesn’t hurt to encourage plain old thinking. But, stick a box under it, and now we have something clever.

 

The SAMR Model presents a hierarchy for technology use in the classroom. To “Substitute” regular “oldschool” teaching methods with an iPad is the least creative way to use technology. Instead of typing on a typewriter, we use a computer that spits the document out of a printer. This is deep-inside-the-box-thinking.

There is minimal enhancement of learning when “Augmentation” occurs; Technology improves upon instruction through substitution in slightly creative ways. There is an App called “Tape Measure” that uses augmented reality to measure the lengths of items that you see on your iPad screen. This is pretty awesome tech, but you could just use a plain old tape measure. The thinking is feeling the walls of the box for weaknesses.

Transformation takes place through “Modification” and “Redefinition”. When an instructor redesigns a lesson with the use of technology, she “Modifies” the box of traditional teaching. It is like walking through C.S. Lewis’s wardrobe to a land of fantasy when kids use Nearpod.com to visit places around the world. Sitting at a desk, they can virtually hike mountains, explore Machu Picchu, and visit the Louvre.

The ultimate transformative activity technology can offer comes when “tech allows for the creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable” (SAMR, n.d.). This “Redefines” the box.

The SAMR model is great for understanding and evaluating technology use in the classroom, but I have found myself feeling badly if a lesson doesn’t “redefine” something. Creativity doesn’t work that way, though. In order for a sphere to stand out, there needs to be a collection of cubes surrounding it. You can only bend the rules if there are rules in the first place.  

Classroom management… This blog is supposed to have something to do with managing the classroom. The following image shows my class behaving outside of the box.

IMG_2333 I showed up to collect my students from physical education with Mrs. Krajcir, and told them to put their left foot on the black line. What happened cracked me up. My “Number 1” guy (They line up in number order.) did not see all of the out of the box-ness that was happening behind him! Originally, I snapped the shot to show everyone how classy Mr. One was, and plenty of people were shown. But, on further reflection, I am just as fond of the rest of my class for thinking/behaving so creatively. Look at their left feet. Nearly every single one is on the black line!!

Even though I love to have fun and fool around in class, teasing my students and kiddingly giving them all a hard time, I have very strict rules and guidelines. My expectations are extremely demanding. Just look at the leader of the line. That is the “box” everyone else is “Thinking outside of.” (Yeah, I ended with a preposition; Think outside the box;)

 

Kihn, M. (2005, June 1). “Outside the Box”: The Inside Story. Retrieved April 21, 2018, from https://www.fastcompany.com/53187/outside-box-inside-story

SAMR. (n.d.). Retrieved April 21, 2018, from http://www.schrockguide.net/samr.html

Tape Measure. (n.d.). Retrieved April 21, 2018, from https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tape-measure/id1271546805?mt=8

Instructional design/SAMR Model/What is the SAMR Model? (n.d.). Retrieved April 21, 2018, from https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Instructional_design/SAMR_Model/What_is_the_SAMR_Model%3F

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Matt Weimann

I am a 3rd grade teacher (since 2011) at Willow Lane Elementary (http://www.eastpennsd.org/willow/) in Eastpenn School District, Macungie, PA. I have run a school-wide newspaper club for three years and am starting a chess club this year. What makes me me is artistically blending technology with hands-on, crafty, artsy, messy, tinkering, exploring, discovering activities. You can learn more about me on my school website "About Me" page: https://sites.google.com/eastpennsd.org/mrweimann/about-mr-weimann

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