by Hope Morley
When integrating technology into your lesson plans, it can be difficult to determine where to start. There are countless tools at a teacher’s disposal—Google sites, podcasts, wikis, and social media, to name a few. Do you have to change all your assignments? The SAMR model provides a good ladder to help teachers start to work toward technology integration.
The SAMR model, developed by Ruben R. Puentedura, Ph.D., provides a framework that serves as a guide to help teachers integrate technology into their existing lessons. When walking through the framework, focus on the learning objective and be willing to modify the end product.
Substitution: Tech acts as a direct tool substitute, with no functional change
In short, the same task could be accomplished without technology.
Example: Students use Word or Google Docs instead of pen and paper to write an essay about solar energy.
Augmentation: Tech acts as a direct tool substitute, with functional improvement
The same task could be accomplished without technology, but technology makes it easier, faster, or more efficient.
Example: Students use the collaborative tools in Google to peer edit essays or use the spell check feature to check their work.
Modification: Tech allows for significant task redesign
The task now may include elements that are not possible without technology, such as an authentic audience, off-site collaboration, or multimedia.
Example: Student groups work collaboratively in Drive to create a website using Google Sites with the content that would otherwise be in an essay.
Redefinition: Tech allows for the creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable
The task supports multiple learning styles, helps students gain communication skills, and allows learning to be student-centered and extend outside the classroom.
Example: Students use Skype to work with students in a state with different solar energy potential to create a Google Site using images, videos, and charts.
The project at the redefinition level is completely different from the original pen-and-paper essay. In addition to learning the content and building writing skills, students learn to collaborate with others outside the classroom (an important career-readiness skill) and to use new tools. That kind of project would never have been possible before adding technology.
It can be difficult to determine exactly which classification a task fits into—Is this augmentation or modification?—and that’s okay. The SAMR model works best as a way to start thinking about integrating technology. Getting all assignments to the redefinition stage shouldn’t be an end goal. In fact, some tasks work best at the substitution or augmentation stage.
Keep this in mind as you are updating your tasks: Be careful not to separate the tool from the instruction. The pedagogy is more important than the technology. If the students aren’t meeting your learning objectives, then look at changing the task before you blame the tool.
Use these steps as a way to start thinking about technology integration. It isn’t valuable to your students to say “I want to use social media in the classroom” and then tack it on as an additional assignment with no connection to your learning objectives. Instead, start with the learning objective and think about how technology can improve the experience for the students.
How do you use the SAMR model in your classroom?
Hope Morley is a consultant and social media coordinator for Green Light Professional Development. She writes about social media, conferences, and anything else on the web that helps both students and teachers learn. Follow her @GreenlightLT.