Interview: SAMR and the cloud

The founder of education consulting firm Hippasus, Ruben Puentedura, outlines how cloud computing fits into his edtech implementation framework, SAMR

How does cloud computing fit into the SAMR (substitution, augmentation, modification, redefinition) model that you have developed?
Cloud computing and its application in CPD has been an interest of mine for some time now, and I’ve found that SAMR can help design directions for development, while providing new insights.

What elements of CPD does the cloud replace? (Substitution)
At the substitution level, the cloud provides equivalents to traditional print, video or audio resources for CPD, together with basic forms of interaction around these resources. There may be greater overall variety provided, and “live” resources may be archived, but the type and use of resources remains essentially the same.

What functional improvement does the cloud provide? Either in delivering CPD or in being the subject of it? (Augmentation)
Moving to augmentation, the cloud now provides for improvement in modes of interaction around resources. These may take the form of extended interactions (where time limitations would have previously intervened), responsive access to resources (which may include the development and sharing of “just-in-time” resource sets in response to teacher needs), and the collection of how resources are used by an extended peer group (that can result in the creation of further resource sets). All of these are significant enhancements to CPD that do not, nonetheless, change the central substance of its usual forms.

Are there specific tasks that the cloud has helped redesign or reconfigure? If so, how does this impact on the CPD that educators require in order to make this reconfiguration effective? (Modification)
Action research as a form of CPD is particularly important in terms of the modification level impact of the cloud. The cloud provides immediate access to contextually appropriate development materials, data set storage capabilities and extended collections, and tool sets for analysis and sharing of results. This is an extremely powerful development since it allows for forms and depth of ongoing educator action research practices that would have been unlikely in the past. Action research has always been a desirable component of an overall CPD approach – but this use of the cloud significantly changes and adds to what is possible in this domain.

What tasks have been made possible by the cloud? Again, either in the delivery of CPD, or in a way that means new CPD is required. (Redefinition)
From a redefinition standpoint, the cloud makes possible access to resources ‘across walls’. This goes beyond more complex or powerful tools or resources than were previously available within a school, and gets at the possibilities that open up when educators with shared goals can interact in ways previously not possible across institutional boundaries. For instance, the action research as CPD component described as a modification-level practice can take on new dimensions if educators from multiple schools can engage each other as the research takes place. This allows for new forms of collaborative work – as just one such possibility here, think about wiki-like structures instead of traditional team constructs. It also allows for emergent forms of PD resources we would not have known were needed without these collaborations. 

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