SAMR Model: Excellence in Teaching with Technology

Effective teaching with technology relies on a teacher’s understanding of available technology tools and applications. In order to promote teaching excellence with technology, Hamlin has adopted the SAMR paradigm as the criteria to critically assess instructional technology choices. SAMR stands for substitution, augmentation, modification and redefinition. This reflective framework promotes deep understanding of technology and the intended learning outcomes for students. Specific and intentional planning of outcomes comes first followed by the selection of the type or mode of technology that supports the outcomes. Technology may be used at any point in the teaching and learning cycle. Teachers can substitute, augment, modify or redefine their work with regards to assessment, delivery of instruction or student work. The following post authored by Liz Beck with support from the Technology and Innovation team highlights our professional development workshop and commitment to effective instruction with technology.

This post was originally posted to pubs.hamlin.org:

What does infinity have to do with the SAMR model? It’s all about mindfulness in the classroom.

When the Tech Team first landed on the SAMR model, it resonated with us. We had already launched 1:1 iPad and laptop initiatives, but searched for common language to discuss our ed tech vision. SAMR seemed like a perfect fit!

Except for one thing. We don’t view the integration and use of technology in the classroom as hierarchical. We view iPads, laptops, apps, 3D printers, etc., as tools. Just as you wouldn’t choose a jigsaw to hang a painting, you wouldn’t choose Microsoft Word as a programming app. There is a time and place for each tool and the key is to know how to choose the best tool and why it’s the best tool for the task at hand.

Since it’s creation by Dr. Ruben R. Puentedura, the SAMR model has been discussed alongside various images, like flow charts, ladders and scales. Another popular SAMR metaphor is attributed to a 2013 blog post by Tim Holt as well Jonathan Brubaker’s subsequent post, comparing each SAMR category to various types of coffee.

SAMR_InfinityAs you move through our presentation you will notice a new image created by the Hamlin Tech Team, where the infinity symbol is used to describe the flow as teachers mindfully select technology and its uses within the classroom. This is also meant to symbolize our decision not to weigh one SAMR category over another, but rather to raise teacher awareness and the capacity to make informed technological choices in the classroom. For example, Word (substitution phase) can make perfect sense for some projects and be the right tool for the task, whereas a blog (modification or redefinition) may be the right choice for other tasks.

Guiding teachers to discover new technology, be mindful of the pedagogical reasons for selecting one tool over another, as well as creating a safe space for openness, risk taking, and creative thinking, are more important to our team than striving for redefinition above all other categories.

We hope you enjoy our take on the SAMR model, originally presented to Hamlin faculty on May 12, 2014.