Posts Tagged ‘SAMR’

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Dr. Seuss

Learning in the Library of COETAIL a visualnote drawn by Nicki Hambleton on iPad with Adobe Ideas

Learning in the library of COETAIL small

Learning in the Library of COETAIL a visualnote drawn by Nicki Hambleton on iPad with Adobe Ideas

Let me start at the very beginning…

Back in Course 1, I found the greatest learning was through connecting. (Connect Collaborate Create). Twitter, in particular, gave me an online family to offer support, answer questions and helped me to develop. I have never been so in awe of an online platform to learn from. At times it is overwhelming and there is too much information that I try to take note of. My Evernote is fit to burst, my Instapaper unread and my Flipboard not working, but I try to stay on top of what is important to me.

It was during this time that I asked myself:

“how can I connect students outside of the art classroom?”

During one of the live COETAIL chats, Dane Watts also talked about student connections and it was in Course 1 with the guidance of my mentor Clint, and help from Vivian, Joe and many other COETAILers online, that the seed was sown for what was to be the beginning of the end of COETAIL. It has been incredible to connect with Matt and Anne, both teaching art and members of the COETAIL online cohort like me.

The Beginning of the End? Visual note drawn on ipad using Adobe Ideas by Nicki Hambleton

As I was preparing for the end of Course 4, my thoughts turned to a bigger concept. I loved the online wikis and websites that I talked about back in Course 4: how art teachers in Asia can connect through the ARARTE ning and IB Visual Art students and teachers can share their work on Mrs Anderson’s wiki.

I marvelled at the way you can be connected with like minded people and share and learn alike on sites like Deviant Art. Much as I love reading others blogs and looking at websites, the real growth comes in the interactions and activity. You learn so much from one another and it was with this thought that the idea evolved.


Having posted my plan online, Matt contacted me and asked if I would like to collaborate on Course 5 and also with Anne, both Art teachers in Abu Dhabi and China. Together the 3 of us set out to connect our students to share their art and give and receive feedback online. Matt suggested using Quadblogging, as I explained on an earlier Course 5 post, and I researched its origins and successes.

Photo Credit: SurfGuard via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: SurfGuard via Compfight cc

For me, my goals were clear:

“for students to connect online and to give and share feedback on their artwork”

“to learn about and apply digital citizenship to their daily practice”

but also:

“to see how far the connections would reach and what developed from them”

Here is the original UBD from the end of Course 4 documenting my idea:


As the project kicked off, I introduced it to all of my classes, sharing my thoughts and blog with them. They ALL wanted to get involved! The plan was to only use one class, but who was I to say no?! I had to draw the line at Grade 6, despite their enthusiasm for the project, as I knew that would take the most time and energy in educating them about internet safety, careful and respectful commenting and sharing online. I still have plans to start the new academic year blogging with all classes.

I set up the landing page to connect all classes with one another but also for parents and the wider community to see what we were doing. I think it also helped the students and teachers in the other schools to find their way! You can find it at the top of my blog as a separate page called Quadblogging.

But as the students got more involved it seemed that the goals were changing:

“how could we share our work with a wider audience and develop a student orientated space online?”


I decided to use Blogger as students already have Google accounts and it synced seamlessly with them. Talking them through the process of signing up and commenting was just the start and beyond that students worked on designing the space asking for authorship rights. This was a new risk for me as they inevitably designed, redesigned, changed layout, logo, headers and labels almost daily!

As the project developed, I found I was pulling from all four courses of COETAIL and in fact, the students were beginning to mirror my own experiences.

Mirror Me image drawn by Nicki Hambleton on iPad with Adobe Ideas

I always think far too big, but if I was to give the students a valid and authentic experience I couldn’t help but incorporate my learning from the whole of my COETAIL journey.

Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 21.58.13

The 5 rooms in the COETAIL house drawn by Nicki Hambleton on iPad with Adobe Ideas


All my classes were excited to be involved in the blogging task. I introduced it in class and sent an email explaining the project to all parents.

                        Screen Shot 2015-05-10 at 15.57.01

It seemed the right time and place to be addressing Digital citizenship yet in a practical way alongside the lesson work. Students too were eager to get started with connecting as Ashari, Khush and Tamzine explain in my video:

Screen Shot 2015-05-10 at 16.02.29   Screen Shot 2015-05-10 at 16.02.47   Screen Shot 2015-05-10 at 16.03.11

Here is the final video of how the project evolved:

From start to finish I have been both impressed and surprised at the students tireless enthusiasm and constant commitment to pushing the boundaries of online connecting. I love that I too learn from them as they find alternative (and better) ways to connect and collaborate.


Photo Credit: wizzer2801 via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: wizzer2801 via Compfight cc

From listening to my students and reading their ongoing reflections it seems clear that they have met the goals of connecting and understanding digital citizenship. We have begun to see a glimpse of what might happen as the connections grow and deepen over time too. Even though Grade 6 were not involved at this stage in the blogging project the aims of understanding Copyright stretched to them as they shared photos on a Flickr site and they discussed using music in their Stop Motion animations. It was great to see the learning flowing into other classes as a result.


Zain talks about starting a Flickr site to share their own photos

Zain talks about starting a Flickr site to share their own photos

Making Stop Motion videos and addressing music copyright

Making Stop Motion videos and addressing music copyright








With youngsters it is crucial to keep revisiting digital mindfulness as they can be lulled into a sense of familiarity the more they connect and communicate. Just the other day I found one of Grade 8 students discussing the reasons why a video should or should not be uploaded due to its unusual style and content: “Might it offend someone in another country?” “Would they understand it” “How personal to a culture is humour?” The video stayed online for little over 4 hours before he decided to take it down and rework some aspects. It is controversial but he wanted to debate the idea too. Is blogging a place for such debate? I believe that it can be if handled appropriately. Often online we are watchful of what we say and debate is rarely seen effectively and openly, so it is important we teach our students how to debate effectively and respectfully.


Did my students learn from the experience? How did my learning change too?

Screen Shot 2015-05-10 at 16.39.24

Students reflected that their learning had and still is changing due not just to the project but as a result of connecting and sharing. They changed their ideas about how they could learn not just what they were learning. They are enjoying the process so much their thoughts are currently looking ahead to how they can incorporate different types of learning about art online and to a wider audience. I have learnt so much with them about how students learn best and how learning changes as they move up the school. I still want to involve my youngest Middle School students, those eager Grade 6s and, as the academic year draws to a close I would like to integrate them into the process somehow: maybe with just one blog and for interested individuals to post, yet all can view and comment?

Next year as our online learning platform takes off with all classes, there will be ample opportunities to work with students online, sharing and commenting and this may help to develop good practice and start to journey towards the ultimate goal of a more connected space for artists.


Antonio and Eric talking about using rotating teams to connect for ease and diversity of comments

Antonio and Eric talking about using rotating teams to connect for ease and diversity of comments

Reflecting the voices and opinions of Antonio and Eric, it would have been far better to have focussed on just one class. But how could I have chosen and known just how interested and intriguing the process would have been if I had not allowed all 5 classes access and involvement?

I like the idea of using teams across schools that rotate and change as the weeks evolve. This would allow everyone to receive comments and to grow the connections far better. The original Quadblogging site documents a similar process where the “quads” are changed after each 4 week cycle. With this in mind, I wonder if we can set this up online with the help of art teachers worldwide: a more focused, subject-specific version of David Mitchell’s initiative?

Screen Shot 2015-05-10 at 20.26.02

Anyone interested in starting this in the new year? Please spread the word online and get in contact with me if you are interested in linking your art students to mine. It would help me and my students to start connecting further afield and bridge the gap to the classroom in the cloud.

Whilst asking the students for feedback towards the middle of the process many students suggested ways to connect beyond the blogs including via Skype. This got me thinking that we could use this more in the classroom to talk to and learn from experts. With this in mind I reconnected with a British painter, Niki Hare, via email who my students had sent questions to last year about her process of working and the meaning of her work. They are excited this year to be able to connect with her via Skype this week to ask her advice when creating abstract and emotive paintings. I cannot wait to see how their thinking changes with this connection and how Skype might broaden our learning in the art room.

Connected Classrooms? when pigs fly drawn on Adobe Ideas by Nicki Hambleton

Connected Classrooms? when pigs fly drawn on Adobe Ideas by Nicki Hambleton


Right now my students are still in the process of awaiting comments on their second post. This has taken time to await the 4 week turn around and it set me wondering if there was a more natural way for it to progress. Should students work more organically, posting as they wish or would that clog the page and lose the thread and equality? My thoughts slipped back to the idea of the website and how this would give much more autonomy for student choice.

brainstorming ideas for the website

brainstorming ideas for the website

This was where my students thinking really took off. It was only supposed to be a lesson starter, a suggestion of an idea, but they tackled it with gusto. They worked collaboratively and discussed and debated names and designs for the online space as well as offering concepts and suggestions for what they, the participants would want to see included on the space. It helped to show me that if you are thinking for kids, ask the kids! After all it is them who will be using it.

ideas for the nme and concept for a global art classroom

ideas for the nme and concept for a global art classroom

I wish I had incorporated Twitter more into the process with my students. It is difficult as it is to keep up with Twitter but I wondered if I could have created a class hashtag to share and communicate more to a wider audience. I will ask students how this might work but to quote a HS student:

“students don’t use Twitter, we use Facebook”

How can we change this practice, show them the benefit, the swiftness and versatility of Twitter? and what about the under 13’s? How can we offer them a social space that is both easy and safe to use?

Photo Credit: Mike Gabelmann via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Mike Gabelmann via Compfight cc

I wish I had thrown down the gauntlet to my students much earlier in the process, asking them what they need, want or would like in order to connect, learn and collaborate. It is always an eye opener to see and hear their opinions. Often, as teachers, we think we have a good idea of what is needed, but involving the students more in the process changes thinking and helps us step into their shoes a little more easier.

Discussion about Learning

Discussion about Learning

How do you learn discussion


Right from the start I have shared my learning on COETAIL with my senior team who have supported my journey. The IT department have been a source of help and advice and particular thanks must go to Andrew, Pete, Noah and Ben. Without them I am sure my questions and deliberations would have gone unanswered and my path would have been less clear. Paul Brogden, Vice Principal Curriculum has been following my progress online and was keen to see how the journey evolved. Perhaps now staff can see the value in connecting our students beyond our classrooms and how imperative it has been in teaching digital safety and responsibility.

Just last Friday the Tech mentors at UWCSEA met for a sharing session and I talked about how powerful an experience this had been and how much learning had taken place.

sharing COETAIL blog

sharing COETAIL blog

I would like to offer a session about connecting, to help more teachers to see the value of social networks both for them and students and how blogging can start this process. I offered this a number of years ago and the Languages department have taken it on board. The problem with our school as it is with many schools is TIME! How do you add to the already bursting curriculum without taking anything away? It has been tough juggling so many variables and ideas through the COETAIL journey but it has been worth it to see the growth in both me and my students. With our online platform Teamie coming onboard with all MS classes in August, this could help us encourage discussion, to connect more and may, in time help pave the way for more online connections.

Teamie - online learning platform

Teamie – online learning platform

As the idea continues to evolve I would like to push my learning so I can help my students find the best route through this jungle of ideas. I talked before with Noah about learning some html and with Peter about HYPE but now I am interested in web design and I have found a free online course through ALISON that might meet that wish. I have already bought my domain name, nickihambleton, hosted through Hover, but I am yet to set it up. Perhaps this will kick start that process.

Screen Shot 2015-05-10 at 18.11.25

For years I have looked from afar at the work of The Harvard team’s Visible Thinking and Project Zero. I have read the book, studied the website and resources online and yearned to visit Harvard or at least take the online course. I missed out on a 3 day course with Ron Ritchhart in Asia this month and so I was excited when Matt shared the new MTV online courses. They contain a new concept – learning in teams. I am in the process of discussing this with my curriculum leader to build a team at UWCSEA to pilot this work and then take it into a PLC. Keep your fingers crossed I can participate so that I can work with not only my school but with other educators on what surely is an invaluable curriculum-wide skill.


The greatest learning for me in the whole process was:

that the students can have ownership and change your thinking

that is doesn’t matter that you don’t yet know where this is going or what the outcome may be

Talking to Emily Maclean from Chatsworth International School at a recent TeachMeet, I will try in the future to hand the project over to the students much earlier on for them to devise teams of workers to problem solve. Asking the right questions is a crucial part. It is enlightening to see how Emily can get a class of grade 5 students to devise and share an online course single handedly! She too did not know what the outcome would be or how it might evolve. Taking risks as a teacher? We should do this more often! You can read more about Emily’s work at

shared with kind permission from Emily Maclean

shared with kind permission from Emily Maclean


Could we have done this without technology? As Nick states, the main benefit of connecting online was the immediacy of receiving feedback and the ease of the connections. It opened his mind to more possibilities and helped to change his thinking. Another student laughed as she explained that we could have sent the artwork by post, waited to receive a letter or some art in return! The project might have taken a year to happen!

Nick explaining how we could not have done this without technology

Nick explaining how we could not have done this without technology

So what does redefinition look like?

Back in Course 4 I drew a seed germinating growing to a plant to represent the process of SAMR, but looking back it should be seen as a circular design much like my application video to Apple Alumni earlier this year:

As students reach redefinition it allows thinking to restart and evolve again. Following the introduction of the blogs, commenting online and forming connections has become second nature, a natural progression to gathering feedback in class and from their peers. So what next, to redefine redefinition?

Reflecting on the process made me question what difference I made to my students’ learning, but also how it redefined learning in the context of the SAMR model. Nick Coulter (TPACK and SAMR) recently shared this infographic by Jackie Gerstein:

SAMR as a framework for Education 3.0

SAMR as a framework for Education 3.0

Looking at the lower area of the graphic, my students redefined their learning about art, by connecting online and began to develop a PLN as a result. They are sharing their knowledge and ideas online and learning from others they have connected with in return. Grade 7 are uploading their demonstrations to their blogs as I speak, in order to share their skills with others and are hoping to see some in return so they too can extend their learning. They range from Photoshop tutorials to how to draw and eye, pulling together their own learning from class and their personal interests outside of school.

Grade 7 uploaded demonstration videos on Google Drive

Grade 7 uploaded demonstration videos on Google Drive

It is exciting to see how much the original idea is growing and how the students are helping to reshape it. We are still a distance from what I envisioned with the connected classroom but we are working our way towards it. With one lesson a week of art, I am not rushing it. Good things take time to develop and this is just the beginning.


Back in February, Edutopia article by Elizabeth Bostwick, talked about student voice and it was here that I realised the true future of helping my art students to find theirs in a predominantly visual context. She talks about growth mindset through community building and collaboration and about giving opportunities for our students to open up, to connect and communicate in other ways than speaking out in class allowing greater opportunity for the introverts to find their voice.

“the greatest voice in the classroom is the student’s” 

Elizabeth Bostwick (Empowering student voice through classroom culture, February 2015)

Also on Edutopia another article, “Help Students use social media to empower, not just to connect” resonated with me:

Screen Shot 2015-05-10 at 18.32.42

Even though this article is over 4 years old, the sentiment still rings true. We should be helping our students to use social media not just to connect with one another but to empower them to take an active role, to participate, and to add value. Andrew Marcinek talks about student’s criteria for a PLN and to become an active member for the hashtag or group they follow.

In time I hope to work out how to get the collaborative online platform for connecting Middle School art students up and running. I am testing the water and the technical aspect of the Drawing board/Artery/The Blank Canvas/ Global Palette (or whatever it will be called) in the final weeks of term and reaching out to Twitter in the hope there are some equally keen art teachers out there ready to step in and join me. Once I have some interest the next thing will be voting on a name!

As always, watch this space………….

COETAIL: The swiss army knife of learning drawn on iPad with Adobe ideas by Nicki Hambleton

COETAIL: The swiss army knife of learning drawn on iPad with Adobe ideas by Nicki Hambleton

“never stop learning because life never stops teaching”

by Robert Tew on




SAMR illustration by Nicki Hambleton

SAMR illustration by Nicki Hambleton

Are you a user or integrator?

The course is questioning the very heart of what I do. That’s a good thing, right?

Being a humble Art teacher, I know that we have limited time each week to get the content of our course across. For Middle School students this is approximately 75 minutes per week amounting to to approximately 45 hours over the 36 weeks of the school year. Sounds like a lot? Take out a lesson here and there for Day of Sports (3) Science trips, Outdoor Education trips and so on and we usually end up with about 30 lessons we can guarantee planning work for. We have a well planned curriculum developed collaboratively over the last 4 years. Our model develops the students skills in the disciplines of Drawing, Painting, Sculpture, Photography and Printmaking all relevant to the iGCSE Art courses we provide at UWCSEA. We find it near impossible each year to cover all these disciplines and are working currently to spread them over the 3 year programme. Further up the department and into iGCSE and IB the use of Technology in Art disappears almost completely apart from in Photography. I have always been intrigued by Technology yet found few Art teachers integrating it authentically into their curriculum. More often it is seen as an add-on or an opportunity to try something new but rarely redefining. This bothers me. We have so little time to squeeze in all the wonderful work we want to cover, so how on earth do we integrate technology meaningfully, effectively and authentically?

Some time ago I put this question out to see if Art teachers could connect with what I am struggling with or at least give me some hope that the perfect model is out there. So I ask again and wait in hope:

Screen Shot 2014-11-02 at 14.54.39

It appears that most Art teachers take one route or the other: wholly traditional with a splattering of technology once in a while or predominantly technology (digital art) with a little traditional on the side. Why is it so hard for it to be both?

Integration suggests that technology drives the curriculum (see this wiki) and it is with this incentive that I start to reanalyse where I am at. In scrolling the readings and looking for inspiration online, I stumbled on a comparison grid on teachthought where using technology is compared to integrating technology. It helps to ground my thinking and encourages me to look deeper into my own practice.


The SAMR model shows us that substitution only serves to enhance the content rather than transform and redefine it and that collaborating should be at the heart of it. In the video SAMR in 120 seconds, google docs are a clear example of this and, at UWCSEA they are a common part of our lessons now. Applying the principle of SAMR to the Art classroom, in ways other than google docs however, takes some thought. Earlier this year during a Grade 6 unit on drawing students were trying to comprehend the use of line to define shape and depth. As they struggled to see the reason for using a variety of line, I decided to try out Adobe Ideas with them in capturing trees. We took the iPads outside and photographed the branches of the trees in the distance or looking up to the sky. After a short explanation of the simple tools in the programme the students focussed on the task: to vary their use of line whilst capturing the tree itself. Sounds simple right? The beauty of the app was that the line variation would capture the qualities of the tree as well as emphasising depth and distance. The task reinforced the students learning of the concept through this task. Whilst this was no revolutionary task it served to help the students to understand the concept. Is this substitution or augmentation?

Slide from Grade 6 Line weight and variation lesson UWCSEA Art Department

Slide from Grade 6 Line weight and variation lesson UWCSEA Art Department

How do I redefine this or any other task so that it is inconceivable without technology yet still teach students the basic traditional skills they need in Art?

I feel right now I may be here:

Photo Credit: tim.klapdor via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: tim.klapdor via Compfight cc

So how do I move further up the ladder?

A conversation with my IB Physics husband about his understanding of SAMR in his classroom developed into an example of using the iPhone’s feature slo-mo to capture a ball bouncing. He explained that being able to show this to his students in this clearly visual and practical manner could not have been done without the use of current technology and that it would have been difficult to show in any other way. The iPhone made it achievable and quickly shown in class saving valuable time.

As I look inward to my own practice I think about my current Grade 8s as they begin a unit on Digital Storytelling through photography to develop skills in composition in preparation for iGCSE. They discuss what they see, think and wonder about an unseen photograph to decipher the story behind the image, watch the video (The World’s most Powerful Photographs) and the video by One Direction “Story of my Life”. For homework they are locating a photo of them from many years ago and recreating it now then posting it on Voicethread or Picasa to share with their peers. Here they can reflect and comment on each others compositions and the story that is being told as a opening discussion to the unit. But could we have just shared the print outs and written the comments on post-its? Did their use of online posting transform the task, would they have produced as good a result without technology?

Am I being hard on myself or is my instinct right? The methods are transforming the way that they learn but not transformational.

In the Edutopia article, Why Integrate Technology into the Curriculum, it states:

Effective tech integration must happen across the curriculum in ways that research shows deepen and enhance the learning process. In particular, it must support four key components of learning: active engagement, participation in groups, frequent interaction and feedback, and connection to real-world experts. Effective technology integration is achieved when the use of technology is routine and transparent and when technology supports curricular goals.” (Edutopia March 16, 2008)

UWCSEA students have laptops every lesson and sharing their work online is now routine. They frequently use google docs to share thoughts and ideas collaboratively and when planning in groups this method is natural. But to grab an iPad and use an app spontaneously in the middle of a painting or sculpture unit seems rather alien. It takes time for practice to change and students instinctively know what works and when technology is appropriate. Just last week a Grade 10 student was researching artists for her mock exam theme “Food for Thought” and could not find enough contextual information on her. So she visited the website and emailed the artist who, in return answered her questions which took her forward in her planning and idea formation. All in the space of a few hours in the comfort of her home. This would have been inconceivable without the use of technology. Imagine 15+ years ago when looking at an image in a book or magazine was the only way to connect to other artists. Nevertheless this is not a very inspirational a use for technology. So what is? How complex would it be to integrate Skype in the Classroom regularly and how crucial to the Art curriculum is Augmented reality or QR codes for example? Granted they transform the viewer’s perception or involvement in the art itself but is it transformational and indeed imperative or are we including it as a fad or a cool idea?

iPad possibilities

I met Cathy Hunt at the ADE Institute in Bali in 2013. Her website iPad Art Room is chock full of integrating iPads into the Art curriculum and she frequently blogs about learning and technology. One example on her website drew my attention:

Looking at the top bar in the above graphic helps me to see where I may be getting it right. Occasionally students will use the iPad app Explain Everything (or Educreations) to reflect on their work, explaining and annotating what they would do to take their work further or to improve it. Often I would feedback to students in a similar way and, using Google docs we can have a 2 way conversation about their art quickly and effectively. When I first started using Voicethread years ago, some of the clunkiness frustrated me, but when it worked it was faultless in transforming the way students interacted with each others art. Being public they discussed more in depth and perhaps, knowing their work would be online and discussed helped them to work harder to produce higher quality work.

The fundamental question I have though is: What technology really transforms art education?

Taryn Couch explains how she interprets the 4 levels of SAMR in her Art classroom:

Rooting our thinking in Technology

Photo Credit: theqspeaks via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: theqspeaks via Compfight cc

Reading Jeff Utecht’s post from The Thinking Stick back in 2007 and the comments following, one particular statement really resonated with me:

What if we truly acted like technology was just part of us, part of education, part of educating students today. What if we start embedding it and stopped integrating it?

Joanne Harvey-Wilcox responds with:

It is only when we root our thinking in technology that we will be able to redefine our teaching.

My thinking is that I don’t want to take out valuable traditional skills but to enhance them with todays. Students struggle to share their work and to receive good feedback so digital portfolios seem to be an effective way for me to embed technology into my curriculum. My students used to blog their learning and seemed to enjoy this process of sharing and connecting online. Using iBooks Author, students may well be able to share and demonstrate their learning more authentically with videos, audio, images, demonstrations as well as photographs and words. Would this be a good use of moving up the SAMR ladder?

I don’t want to be the same or even different, I just want to ensure that technology has its rightful place within my curriculum and that it transforms the way Art is learnt and taught. Is that too much to ask?

Comments and feedback encouraged and gratefully received.

Screen Shot 2014-11-02 at 18.01.46


Update: Following conversations about the cyclical nature of SAMR I am reworking the above seed to tree illustration. Watch this space!