The SAMR model of technology use
So far on the course, we’ve learned about the importance of purpose and evaluation in making education technology decisions that support teaching and learning.
Even once a clear purpose has been identified, there are decisions to be made about precisely, when, where and how the technology is implemented. One model that might be helpful to support these decisions is the SAMR model. Let’s take a look.
The SAMR Model
Whilst the difficult thinking regarding the effective use of technology in education can’t be avoided, a framework or model might help us navigate this thinking. SAMR is one such model. Made popular in 2006 by Ruben Puentedura and consisting of four clearly defined levels, it has become a widely used framework for teachers. We don’t encourage you to see the framework as a hierarchy where teachers should be aiming for the ‘top’ but rather a model for the use of technology where a level can be selected to suit the purpose and need; making education technology use more meaningful for pupils’ learning.
Substitution - At this level, teachers might choose to keep a pupil task the same but change the tool used. For instance, learning might be presented using PowerPoint but this is changed to Google Slides. The slides are created and shared in the same way, no additional functionality is utilised, but the tool is changed because of, perhaps, the ease with which it can be used. Learn more about presentation of learning in Week 2 of this course
Augmentation - At this level, we’re still exchanging one tool for another but this time, we make use of the added functionality so that new things can be achieved. For instance, notes are made by a pupil in a notepad and these are photocopied as part of group collaboration. The notepad is exchanged for Microsoft OneNote and the notes made here can be easily shared with group members at the click of a button. This substitution provides additional functionality so that weblinks, images, and videos can be added to the notes when required. Learn more about multimedia learning in Week 2 of this course
Modification - At this level, we move beyond technology doing the same task but use it to redesign learning. For instance, pupils frequently create revision flashcards for exams but don’t always make use of them in the most effective ways. Use of an online flashcard tool means that the teacher can reduce the time taken by individual students in creating their own cards by creating a class set. Evidence-based revision habits can be modelled with the use of the tool and the added functionality means that in-class group quizzes as well as at-home individual tests can be generated by the tool to encourage effective revision. Learn more about such practices in Week 3 of this course
Redefinition - At this level, tasks can be redefined to the point they’re unrecognisable to anything that could be achieved outside of the use of technology. For instance, pupils could record one another on tablet devices in a sports class whilst practising a certain aspect of practice. The video could then be analysed by the individual by comparing it to the same skill being practised by an experienced athlete; tracing the arc of the ball and the swing of the bat with a built-in pen to identify the change that would need to be made in the future. Here, the technology is achieving something not possible in any other way. Learn more about online forms of feedback and self-assessment in Week 4 of this course
Once you’re ready, click the ‘Mark as complete’ button below and then select ‘Next’ to begin exploring case studies of purposeful education technology use.
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