The SAMR Model – Giving Educational Technology a much needed Framework

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If there is one thing that you need to know about using educational technology in the classroom, it’s the SAMR model. Coined by Ruben Puentedura in 2006 refers to the life cycle of technology implementation and gives a framework on which we can weigh how well technology is used and applied.

The acronym decomposed:
Substitution
Augmentation
Modification
Redefinition

Let’s take the example of a typewriter (my first word processing tool) and what we might use today, say any word processing application.

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At the base level of substitution, I would be using the “new” technological device to do exactly what I did with the typewriter, i.e. type directly into the word processing application, without using any features available in the menu bars.

As I add my use of spellcheck into my word processing application, I move into the next level, namely augmentation. I’m adding an improvement without really changing too much of the original functionality of the typewriter. After all, my spelling is always immaculate.

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I enter the realm of modification when I email my document to my colleague, who makes some remarks on it, adds the track changes functionality to the document and gives me feedback without me having to retype the whole thing again. I click the “accept all changes” button, smile, and send the document to the publisher!

Redefination

Now, the really juicy part of the model, redefinition, comes into play when I take the concept of the document I’m writing and enter the world of Google Docs. I share the first few paragraphs of what I have written with an old high school friend from Pakistan and my best friend from elementary school who now lives in France. Together, the three of us craft a unique document, in real time, that redefines the way we are using technology in a way that was totally inconceivable when I was using the typewriter. This is where all the fun and funky creative collaboration in an ever-changing global environment can fuse together to give rise to a process of, well, redefining the way we use technology to solve problems. Ok? Go.

Do you have ways that you have used technology to redefine the way you work or play? Please share!

Adnan Iftekhar

3 Comments

  1. A very nice, succinct explanation. I recently attended a training for a large group of teachers getting their iPads. Their eyes lit up with excitement as they received their devices. Then the PD spent over an hour on the SAMR model. Direct instruction from PowerPoint. I could see the light dimming as these teachers were bored into a stupefied silence. Teacher training needs to show examples of inspirational teaching, point teachers to resources, and get out of their way. Trust in your teachers to create high quality learning experiences.