Gardner u05a1

Both the article and video built upon some background knowledge I have about SAMR and STEM/STEAM, resulting from Next Generation Science Standards workshops I have attended for school. The idea that PBL, STEM/STEAM, and the SAMR framework are all interconnected is definitely how I feel. The Next Generation Science Standards will be implemented in my school a grade level at a time, starting next year. One look over, and most teacher will realize the way they currently teach science cannot possibly meet the standards.

PBL and technology connect through SAMR because SAMR is examining how we use technology in our classrooms. PBL requires real world application, student creativity, decision making, sharing of ideas, critical thinking, and independence (to some degree). Taking a look at SAMR, the framework shows that technology can be implemented in several ways in our classrooms, but which of these ways is the most authentic, provides lasting understanding, and mastery of standards? PBL allows to new ideas to be created, reinvented, and preconceived notions questioned. Student exploration and inquiry based learning becomes so natural and feasible when they are creating and developing their own ideas. This ties in directly with the most effective implementation of technology in our classrooms. For example, PBL can easily and fluidly help students develop their own multimedia presentation, coordinate and record an interview, locate a place on Google Earth near school and explore it, etc. These are the higher tier and more effective ways of using technology in our classroom. It makes it meaningful, real, and important to our students, and this is clearly tied to the same principals and end results as when PBL is implemented. The two clearly go hand in hand.

Moving away from just projecting old PowerPoints, or pulling up an etext to lecture next to, we need to implement technology by examining and truly understanding what our standards are asking us to do. Across subject areas, standards as us to have students solve real world problems, which means standing next to a Smartboard can’t be all the technology experience we provide for our students. Using tools and creating by using a variety of technological platforms is how we will prepare students to solve these real world problems.

Finally, I think that the SAMR framework allows teachers to reflect on how we can truly reach and empower our 21st century students to use those higher order thinking skills. As technology moves forward, it is our responsibility to equip our students with the tools and experience to feel confident, creative, and competent enough to at some point solve their “real world problems”. Using technology effectively and really reaching out students is what can prepare them to build and use these skills in the future.


Common Sense Media. (n.d.). Introduction to the SAMR Model. Retrieved February 18, 2016, from

M. G. (2014, September 15). Essential Connections of STEM, PBL, and Tech Integration… What Would Dewey Think? Retrieved February 18, 2016, from


EDIM 502 – u01a1

“More Fun Than a Barrel of . . . Worms?!” – Diane Curtis
“Geometry Students Angle into Architecture Through Project Learning” – Sara Armstrong
“March of the Monarchs: Students Follow the Butterflies’ Migration” 
– Diane Curtis

All of the articles seemed to link together well for me, after I had completed reading all three and watched the video. There were things in common that linked all of the projects together, and it was interesting to examine the student and teacher roles in the projects. Using project based activities like these truly seems to engage students, and foster an enthusiastic and student led atmosphere within a classroom. Though sometimes more challenging to produce and see through, learning this way is wonderful for our students.

What linked all of the projects together was the hands-on and student led approach to learning that these projects provide students. Teachers facilitated the learning, and provided guidance and structure, but students are given the chance to create and think for themselves. When taking ownership and creating based off of their own ideas and convictions, students are so much more likely to feel dedicated to and excited about a project or an assignment. A project based assessment can show new facets of a student’s ability, mastery, and understanding, unlike traditional assessments. The design principles of these projects are similar because they all require planning, flexibility, and creativity from each of the teachers. In addition, and what I think is the most important commonality, is that all of the projects had real world implications for their students.

The understanding that the projects had actual meaning and purpose tremendously seemed to help student engagement across grade levels. Some of the students were taken on field trips, all conducted research, some presented and argued a design, created and sold items as an actual business, and the list goes on. These students were creating work that had actual purpose and meaning. In my own classroom, that seems to be what truly engages students. In addition, these projects helped student engagement because student made their own decisions and had ownership of their projects. Helping to choose topics and conducting their own research put them in charge of their learning. Teachers reported there were fewer behavior problems and better test scores as a result of students learning through this project based model (Curtis, 2001).

Technology made a lot of these projects possible. Research, field trips, drafting, and communicating with others, all helped these students build their projects. Some of the projects were formally presented, while others were ongoing and students built upon their work throughout the year. Separate from just using a computer or tablet, students used other technology tools such as digital cameras. The integration of technology and the freedom to create projects like this did make me a bit envious. While I do have some flexibility and can use my own ideas at my school, these types of projects to be a sole way of teaching seems to be something to strive for.

Armstrong, S. (2002, February 11). Geometry Students Angle into Architecture Through Project Learning. Edutopia. Retrieved January 19, 2016, from
Curtis, D. (2001, October 1). March of the Monarchs: Students Follow the Butterflies’ Migration. Edutopia. Retrieved January 19, 2016, from
Curtis, D. (2002, June 6). More Fun than a Barrel of…Worms . Edutopia. Retrieved January 19, 2016, from