Caroline S. Chadwick
Portnoy, L. (2018, February 1). How SAMR and Tech Can Help Teachers Truly Transform Assessment. EdSurge. https://www.edsurge.com/news/2018-02-01-how-samr-and-tech-can-help-teachers-truly-transform-assessment
In her 2018 article “How SAMR and Tech Can Help Teachers Truly Transform Assessment,” Dr. Lindsay Portnoy presents Bloom’s Cognitive Taxonomy and Ruben Puentedura’s SAMR Model as complementary viewpoints of technology and education. Both tools are essential to educators, Bloom’s Taxonomy for teachers to identify student’s levels of thinking and Puentedura’s SAMR Model for teachers to identify the tools that can be used to innovate instruction. However, whereas others describe technology as guiding instruction, Dr. Portnoy applied Lev Vygotsky’s (1896-1934) Cultural-Historical Theory and defines technology as a cultural tool. She further asserts that in the SAMR model it is a skillful educator wielding technology who can transcend traditional teaching and learning in four distinct but robust ways.
In describing the four levels of the SAMR Model, Dr. Portnoy delivers a personalized overview which starts with simple substitution, to augmentation, to modification and culminates in redefinition, where each consecutive level increases the technology tool’s impact on the classroom. In describing each level, she provides examples of technology tools and programs that she recommends. Dr. Portnoy’s method of teaching not only reinforces the learning of the readers but also provides concrete tools that the readers can explore and potentially use to enhance their practice. Albeit briefly, in the conclusion of her article Dr. Portnoy states, “To harness the true utility of these tools we must continue to address the digital divide that perpetuates inequities in our classrooms by not only bringing high speeds to our classrooms but also access to the tools that students and teachers need to support our most valuable assets, our future citizens” (Portnoy, 2018).
Dr. Portnoy’s humanistic approach fosters readers’ motivation to learn and acknowledges the true catalysts of vigorous education, the teachers and students who make it happen. She also emphasizes the social injustice of the digital divide as it is essential that all students, families and teachers have access to the powerful teaching and learning of technology. As I always hope, Dr. Portnoy’s engaging article sent me on a quest for her biography which further piqued my interest as a Social Worker-Educator. Dr. Portnoy is an Educational and Developmental Psychologist, Associate Teaching Professor at Northeastern University, Author and former public school Teacher. I’ve bookmarked Dr. Portnoy’s 2019 book Designed to Learn: Using Design Thinking to Bring Purpose and Passion to the Classroom which has received extensive praise. She is also a Co-Founder of Killer Snails which creates extended reality and tabletop games aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards for K-12 students. Yes indeed, these are the types of biographies that I find impressive and researchers who I eagerly follow their trail.