In light of Factreton Primary School having been donated a pop-up digital classroom, the Cape Digital Foundation facilitated a partnership between the school and digital publishing solutions provider, Snapplify. Snapplify has equipped Factreton Primary with their ‘Snapplify for Education’ digital platform, making relevant digital content and teacher training available to the school. Snapplify’s digital library holds over 46000 titles – both books and articles for easy borrowing by learners and teachers alike.
On Friday afternoon, while accessing the platform from their cell phones, Factreton Primary School teachers took the next step in acquainting themselves with the Snapplify for Education platform. Stephen Bestbier, Snapplify’s EdTech teacher, gave a group of sixteen teachers a workshop, taking them through the various features in the Snapplify suite of eReading and eLearning solutions.
Stephen believes in using quality digital content to develop very necessary 21st Century skills that prepare learners for the world of work. These include critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and communication skills.
“Teachers are central to society. They invest in the future. A child’s character is developed in their early years at school. If this development is lacking in primary school, high school teachers will spend unproductive time trying to play catch up. Through teachers, students learn to take positive risks – that is if teachers are prepared to take positive risks themselves,” says Stephen.
He took the teachers through the SAMR model (an acronym that stands for Substitution, Augmentation, Modification and Redefinition), created by Dr. Ruben Puentedura1, whose continued research in education, led to the development of the SAMR Model of teaching and technology integration in 2013. The SAMR model is an excellent tool in assessing the quality of technology and digital content utilised in the classroom.
SAMR has four levels that explain the increasing impact of integrating technology in teaching, from merely substituting one traditional learning method (such as writing with pen and paper) to another (projecting notes onto a white board), through to creating a completely new learning style or a task that was previously inconceivable (for example empowering students to complete and present a class project using global videoconferencing tools to learn about the lifestyles of other learners on the other side of the globe).
“The downfall of the modern education system is that teachers are under a lot of pressure. They are not given enough time to think outside of the box”, says Stephen. “When it comes to innovating new ways to teach learners the benefits of mastering technology, a teacher’s only limit is his or her imagination.”
1Dr. Ruben Puentedura’s interest in teaching and technology has been a lifelong work, with a strong foundation built from his six years spent as a teaching fellow at Harvard University, and twelve years on the faculty at Bennington College.