Purposeful Work and Technology: A Review of Alan November’s 3/5/11 Ted Talk
Type of Technology: TED Talk
SAMR Model Rating: Redefinition
Subject Area: all
Alan November is a well known educator who has an important message for us all: the work our students do must have purpose. On March 5th, Alan November gave a Ted Talk lecture about purposeful work in education. His lecture was entertaining and filled with anecdotes about times when students created work with purpose. November references Daniel Pink, author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.
Both Pink and November make the point that students (and adults in the work place) are motivated to work not by rewards (grades, pay checks, etc.), but by the fact that their work has purpose or meaning. November encourages educators to design lessons that allows opportunities for students to create legacy. November tells a few amazing stories of a student creating databases that help the handicapped, a student publishing their own literature on the Internet for young adults around the world to enjoy, and a classroom of students working together on a common science project.
So what does this have to do with technology? November makes the point that currently educators approach technology like we do other content. We learn a new technology, teach the students the technology, and then think of a lesson to go with the technology. November believes we have this all wrong. Educators ought to allow students to find the problem, issue, or legacy project, and then determine the technology needed. And the students often can figure out this technology much faster than the teacher! In this new model, it is the critical thinking about the problem or issue that drives the technology and not the other way around. And really what is the end goal? Not that students learn a new technology that will possibly become extinct during their lifetime, but that students learn to think critically about a problem and discern the most appropriate and effective tools or technology to solve a problem.
And this ties in nicely with Dr. Ruben Puentedura’s SAMR model. The SAMR model was developed as a way of categorizing how we teach technology and how we ought to be incorporating technology in our lessons. The SAMR model encourages educators to move from simply using technology as a way to enhance their productivity or student learning, to having the technology transform student learning. Our use of technology moves from being a Substitute or Augmentation to our teaching, to allowing students to redesign a task (Modification) or even to create a new task previously inconceivable (Redefinition). And as we work to prepare our students for college and career readiness, our students don’t just learn new technology, but how to think critical about the proper technology to solve a problem.
(Click on the graphic above to check out a short tutorial explanation of the SAMR model.)
I hope you take the time to listen to Alan November’s TED talk and the brief video explaining Dr. Puentadura’s SAMR model. I know that I have been inspired to allow my classroom to be a place where students can create legacy using technology.
(Check out Alan November’s TED talk)