torsdag 17 oktober 2013

Open letter to Dr. Ruben Puentedura

Dear Dr. Puentedura, 

My name is Jonas Linderoth and I am an associate professor at the department of Education, Communication and Learning at the University of Gothenburg. I am also part of the LinCS national center of excellence where we study “issues of the relationship between learning and media, in particular how digital technologies and media transform how knowledge and information circulate in society”. My research and teaching mainly concerns issues surrounding perception and learning in relation to games and game culture but sometimes I also teach educational psychology on a masters program on learning, communication and information technology.

When meeting with these students I have come to understand that your ideas, and your so-called SAMR-model, is extremely influential for Swedish schools in their work on implementing technology in classrooms. I congratulate you on this success, it is not easy to get research acknowledged in a field with hundreds of academic journals publishing thousands of studies every year. In this enormous academic field, with roots that go back to the use of instructional films in the early 1900s some Swedish teachers and school leaders consider you to be one of the worlds greatest researchers. This is quite an achievement and of course it must be an honour that not all researchers in the field of education get to experience. However, as the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility and that is why I write you this open letter.

Questions from my students and their reoccurring references to you led me to have a closer look at your work. I watched a couple of your lectures given in different contexts in Sweden. Quite frankly I found the SAMR-model, as it was presented, to be over simplistic and even trivial. The idea that technology not only affects the quality and efficiency of tasks but also changes the conditions for communication, interaction and learning, is the very fundament for socio-cultural theories on cognition. I really could not see what the model added beyond this very obvious point. I also found the way that research was used in order to sustain some claims as questionable, especially in the case of your reading of Seymour Papert's work on Logo. I found that you refrain from mentioning that the philosophy behind Logo was very much about claiming strong transfer effects in other areas and that this idea was heavily criticized, for example in the works of Roy Pea. I also found that your message to teachers about the changes that technology brings about was essentially one-sided and uncritical. There are, for instance, studies showing the decreased reading abilities among Swedish children can be tied to an increase in computer use. A very troubling fact for anyone who advocates the use of technology in classrooms and yet something that we cannot close our eyes to.

Now, it is not fair to judge work solely on presentations, I know that when presenting something for an audience simplifications can be necessary. So, as a fellow researcher in the field I found the urge to engage with your work, look at your publications and if my impression sustained write a critical piece and publish in a journal where you present your work. This is all very well, researchers scrutinizing each others works and debating are key factors in a sound and open academic community.

However, I could not find a single publication about the SAMR-model and not a single peer-reviewed article (or any other popular-scientific publication either) written by you. Instead all searches lead to slides, podcasts and videos. I also found some teachers' critical blogs about you that claimed that there was no publications about the model?  Surely this cannot be true? After all you say in one presentation and I quote,  “I spent about a decade on the research, and fast forward to past the nineties to about the year 2000 and what came out was the SAMR-model”  and later in the same presentation you say “in fact a lot of my research was spent trying to track down data so I could quantify this”.

Another claim was that your PhD was not in the educational sciences but in chemistry? First I thought this was a false rumor, the mere idea that a fellow researcher would use a title gained in one field when making claims in another seemed to me completely impossible. Yet I could not find any traces of a dissertation in the field of education with your name anywhere online?! Neither did I find any institutional affiliation at any university tied to your name.

Finally I also found a claim that your background is held in mystery and that your reoccurring lectures in Sweden are tied to two consultant firms, RAU and TänkOM.

Taken together, the image that emerges is more of an independent consultant serving companies with commercial interests in the one-to-one reform. This is of course a completely legitimate position to have. However, it is not okay to use the discursive power that comes with a PhD title (withholding that it is from another field) and referring to 10 years of research one claims to have made (that is not published) in order to gain a rhetorical power position.

The implementation of IT in schools is an extremely important issue, how it is done affects the educational quality of a whole generation of Swedish children. This implementation cannot be left in the hands of actors with commercial interests who furnish their arguments to benefit their own interests in selling technology and consultant services. If you are a researcher in educational technology please forgive this suspicion, but the argument is out there and I think, given your impact on the implementation it would be really helpful if you posted a link to your thesis, your published work and your institutional affiliation.  

Kind regards,
Jonas Linderoth
Department of Education, Communication and Learning
University of Gothenburg

23 kommentarer:

  1. Det ska bli spännande att se vad Dr. Ruben Puentedura har att säga om dina synpunkter som är väldigt kritiska.

    1. Hej!
      Vi får väl se om P. svarar. Jag har för övrigt haft samma problem som Jonas, nämligen att hitta vederhäftiga vetenskapliga publikationer i form av t.ex. artiklar i "peer-reviewade" tidskrifter eller liknande där P:s påståenden utsatts för vetenskaplig granskning..

  2. Mycket bra skrivet...håller med om varenda ord!

  3. Mycket bra skrivet...jag håller med om varenda ord. Det är sanneligen hög tid att på allvar granska denne man.

  4. Väl skrivet. Jag och mina kollegor i Stockholm väntar med spänning på Puenteduras svar.

  5. Kemi var det enligt honom själv:
    Avhandlingen har jag inte hittat. Däremot en artikel i en bok om evolution:
    Samme Ruben?

  6. Tack, du har fått ned precis vad jag själv gått och tänkt.

  7. Utmärkt artikel. Håller med övriga om att det ska bli mycket intressant att se om (vad) du får (för) svar.

  8. Tack! Det är så välkommet att ni som forskar inom IT i skolan tar initiativ till ett kritiskt samtal både kring vad som sker inom forskningen och i skolan.

  9. Tack! Det är så välkommet att ni som forskar inom IT i skolan tar initiativ till ett kritiskt samtal både kring vad som sker inom forskningen och i skolan.

  10. Nu såg jag att du har länkat till min blogg som ett exempel på en kritisk lärare. Jag känner mig hedrad. Mitt ursprungliga positiva inlägg visar ju också hur insyltade vi har blivit i denna SAMR-modell, främst kanske på kommunal nivå.

  11. För den som vill ta del av Herr P:s avhandling (går dock ej att läsa denna version) här finns en länk. Jag har dock ej lyckats finna ngt ex att vare sig läsa på nätet eller köpa/ladda ner någonstans:

  12. Jag vet inget om denne Puentedura eller om han SAMR-modell men jag tycker att inlägget äger en sådan generalitet att det är förbildligt för varje fall där man har skäl att ifrågasätta tveksam forskning, jäv eller självpåtagen expertis.

  13. Jonas pekar på en undersökning om läsvanor och läsförmåga. Den säger bl a att
    "det finns ett negativt samband mellan ökad datoranvändning på fritiden och förändringar i läsresultat."
    Ingenting om hur pedagogisk användning av datorer i undervisningen.
    Jonas kommenterar undersökningens resultat med:
    "A very troubling fact for anyone who advocates the use of technology in classrooms"
    Digital teknik i klassrummet är inte samma sak som fritidsanvändning av spel, mm. Blanda inte äpplen och päron!

    1. Det är alldeles riktigt att studien handlar om fritidsanvändning av IT, dock kan man tycka att det är rimligt, speciellt i ett till ett reformen att man ställer frågor kring hur datorn används hemma. Det lär ju inte bli mer fritidsläsning av att man får en egen laptop. Monica Roséns forskning är oerhört viktig i diskussionen om IT i skolan, speciellt eftersom fritidsläsning i sig har så tydliga effekter på skolresultat. Jag skall återkomma till detta i ett separat blogginlägg och förtydliga. Jag uppskattar dock verkligen din kritiska tillrättavisning angående min otydlighet, det är precis det som är möjligt i en öppen vetenskaplig diskussion där man hänvisar till sina källor. Det är precis den typ av diskussion som omöjliggörs när aktörer som Puentedura löst hänvisar till forskning som faktiskt inte verkar finnas utanför hans eget huvud. Vi får väl se om det kommer några källhänvisningar så småningom.

    2. Tack för svar. Hoppas att du i ditt kommande blogginlägg om läsning också berör Arne Trageton och hans forskning.

    3. Bra artikel! Även jag ser fram emot Puenteduras svar!

      "Det lär ju inte bli mer fritidsläsning av att man får en egen laptop." Let's not jump to conclusions. Läsmedia står inför ett teknikskifte. Papper försvinner och bildskärm tar över. Huruvida en laptop och dess mångsidighet distraherar läsning eller ej hoppas jag att empiriska undersökningar kan komma att svara på.

  14. Jag kan inte avgöra om du har rätt i din kritisk till Dr. Ruben Puentedura men som du beskriver det är ditt case ganska starkt. Inte heller jag kan sia om det någonsin kommer att komma ett svar, jag hoppas att det kommer.
    Det jag vet är att det är underbart att du stannar upp och ställer den kritiska frågan. Det blir lite om "Kejsarens nya kläder", det är lika delar uppfriskande och omskakande. Oaktat utfallet så skall jag från nu försöka ta mig tid att nu och då bättre granska den sanning jag möter. Stort tack!

  15. Thanks for a well justified critique of SAMR on lack of visible research evidence. I’ve been aware of SAMR for a long time and was looking for publications to cite in something I am writing. I can find none other than Dr Puentedura’s own site and presentations and some rewordings in online sources. What little is in the research literature cites those sources but no real evidence.

  16. I'm an American, who has done graduate work in Sweden in HMI 10 years ago. I'm now doing education masters work back in America. This guy Puentedura and his SAMR were part of my course assigned work. I could not find any academic credentials, no publications, no papers, no peer-reviewed work. I came across his Swedish connection, and that made me research "Dr." Puentedura even more.

    His own blog site and his own words tell much of the tale. He lost his job 15 years ago. I can infer from his blog context, it might have been because of his own gaming addictions. In July 2003, he started a blog and a new 1-person company. In his blog, he sweeps away any question of his past, and says that from that point forward, that his blogging will stand on its own.

    According to his blog logs, he babbled about various topics to whomever would listen for 6 years, until making a talk to gamers, essentialy about the fact that gamers like to game. He use SAMR for the first time that I can find in this talk. It was in reference to gaming, not Ed Tech per se.

    After that, he somehow made contact with 2 front-companies in Sweden to take advantage of the 'American Effect' where he seemed able to simply declare himself an expert, and got some Swedish speaking. Then those were used as evidence of his 'expertise', and labeled himself as the 'leading American expert...', which future speaking regurgitated without checking or question.

    He has no known thesis, no known dissertation, no known academic affiliation, and no known PhD in any field related to Educational Technology.

    His 'talks' are what we in America call "late-night infomercials". You talk and babble about some scam to make people believe something that is no true or only half-true. His mannerisms are not academic. I have sat at KTH and SU and Södertörns U, as well as many American universities, and his is the first I've seen without any references, collegue affiliation, academic citation for theory source, academic affiliation, masters' thesis, PhD Dissertation, or even PhD field and school.

    He is a fraud and SAMR is a scam.

    He has only 'back dated' this SAMR scam to bolt on TPCK and attempt to sell it using 3 front companies (1 in USA, 2 in Sweden) whos officers are involved in other scams. From what I can find, he decided that there might be 'money' in Ed Tech, so he plagiarized SAMR from two sources:

    4-Point Rating Rubric PDF (2006), Marzano.
    The fraud Puentedura has made a subset of Marzano's 2006 work. The simple parts which the scammer Puentedura, who failed to even understand what the work he stole really meant, are a near 1:1 copy, with simpleton terms renamed and relabeled. The fraud Puentedura never even references this prior work which predated his by 3 years.

    RAT (2006) by Dr. Joan Hugher (Currently at Univeristy of Texas at Austin),

    RAT is "Replacement, Amplification, and Transformation". To an American, it is totally obvious that:
    R = 'S' in SAMR
    A = 'AM' in SAMR
    T = 'R' in SAMR
    He just reworded and changed a few things, and did not give any credit or make any new academic advancement. He stole the work and claimed it for his 'own.'

    I hope he can be held accountable for his academic fraud and harmful scam.

  17. Förhoppningsvis Google translate gör ett bra jobb med att sätta detta på svenska ...

    Intressant tankeställare ! Jag är en Tech coach för ett skoldistrikt i USA . Vi använder SAMR börja coaching samtal , men redan innan denna info våra coacher kände att SAMR är ett trevligt litet verktyg , inte ett omfattande system för att styra vår tech integration . Jag tror det skulle vara bra om Ruben skulle svara på dessa frågor . Personligen är jag OK med hjälp av en ram som utvecklats av en person med en icke - tech utbildning PHD ( mina examina är i historien utbildning ) . Också jag tror inte plötsligt att ta reda på att han gjorde eller inte gjorde någon forskning skulle förändra hur vi har använt SAMR som rubrik för att starta konversationer om enskilda lärares tech integration . Men det skulle visa rättvist gamesmanship för honom att vara transparent om hans förflutna och hans forskning .

  18. I never thought to question his credentials. LOL Always just thought it was too simplistic to bother with. Then I tried really, REALLY hard to swallow its usefulness for beginners - but, alas, would rather have beginners start with Seymour Papert's work and that of Marlene Scardamalia and Carl Bereiter. ;-)

  19. För att plocka upp Jonas kritiska granskning igen så har en ganska intressant artikel publicerats på samma tema.