SAMR and the Integration of Tech Standards

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How can teachers and schools ensure that students are meeting technology standards in their school within an integrated model?

Last Saturday’s CoETaIL meeting focused on tech standards and included a great discussion regarding the SAMR and TPACK models,  both effective tools in helping teachers with tech integration.   The SAMR model, developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura, is designed to “help teachers develop, and integrate digital learning experiences that utilize technology to transform learning experiences which will lead to high levels of  achievement for students.”  The model consists of four levels:

1.  Substitution: technology replaces a tool without a significant change in the activity

2. Augmentation: technology replaces another tool with a  significant increase in functionality

3. Modification: technology enables the redesign of significant segments of a learning activity

4. Redefinition: technology allows for the creation of new tasks and learning experiences that would otherwise be inconceivable

The first two levels of the model are considered to be enhancement, while levels 3 and 4 represent transformation.

The integration of tech standards is most definitely a process.  As a classroom teacher, I am finding the SAMR useful in helping me to determine the level of tech integration within the learning activities of the units that I teach.  While my goal is to move upward on the model from enhancement to transformation, some of the current tech integration within my units would still be categorized as  level 1, substitution.  To help me get a better grip on how tech standards are being integrated into my existing units, I have identified a learning activity for each level of the model.

Level 1:  Substitution

Our 6th grade Language Arts / Social Studies curriculum has a focus on vocabulary and grammar skills.  Each day we begin the class with a short activity focusing on these two areas.  We have scanned these exercises from printed material and have made them available to students in digital format.  Students access and complete the activities using their laptops.

Level 2:  Augmentation

Students consistently use their laptops to compose text for different types of assignments.  The advantage of having features such as spelling and grammar check has availed additional options for the students as they complete their writing tasks.

Level 3:  Modification

Students have just finished a persuasive essay writing unit using Google Docs to complete their compositions which required multiple drafts and substantial revisions.  The sharing feature of Google Docs allowed me to give them instant feedback and provided opportunities for peer editing during school and while at home.  Google Docs significantly modified the unit by giving students important feedback before their actual writing conferences with me.  In some cases, writing conferences were accomplished via the comments made within the shared document.

Level 4:  Redefinition

Each December, all 6th graders visit Sensoji temple as part of their study of Japanese culture. In the past, the activity consisted of students working in groups to collect information regarding the cultural features of the temple and surround shops.  Afterwards, students shared their information in their groups and all worked individually to create postcards of the  different cultural features.  The postcards were then placed in the student’s physical portfolio.

The integration of technology into this learning activity has radically redefined it.  Now, with the use of digital cameras, smart phones, and video editing software, students chronicle their visit in photographs and video, in addition to collecting the information about the temple’s cultural features.  Afterwards, they share information and collaborate to incorporate still photos, video footage, text, voice, and music to create a persuasive travel video about Sensoji temple and Japan.  These videos were published to SchoolTube and also on the student’s Edublog digital portfolio.  These changes not only moved the activity to the top of the model, it also allowed for the integration of many more skills, including those within media literacy and our school’s tech standards, into this project-based activity.

My team is finding the use of the SAMR model in the planning of our units quite valuable.  Dr. Puentedura offers these guiding questions as teachers reflect on existing units and plan for the integration of technology.

  • Is the technology being used appropriate for working on all levels of the model, or is it limiting?
  • Is technology being utilized to reach all levels of the model?
  • Is the technology well-suited for the activity, or are there other possibilities that would either fit the task better, or allow for opportunities to reach all levels of the SAMR model?
I feel lucky to work in an environment that encourages tech integration.  Another key factor in the success of this process, or any other, is providing adequate professional development for teachers and support in terms of time and equipment.  Only through careful, thoughtful planning can schools continue to move towards transformation.
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About Jamie

I am currently a middle school Language Arts and Social Studies teacher at The American School in Japan.
This entry was posted in COETAIL, NETS and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to SAMR and the Integration of Tech Standards

  1. Daryl Imanishi says:

    Jamie-sensei,
    Impressive post once again. I appreciate your thoroughness with giving examples that illustrate all four of the levels of SAMR.

    It is my first time to hear of SchoolTube. How is this working for teachers, students, and parents?

    It looked like the students put a lot of time and effort into their projects. I liked the inclusion of haiku and it was impressive to see that many projects had already 40 or more views!

  2. Awesome! These examples are such a perfect way to describe the different stages of SAMR. It’s important to note that you don’t always have to be using technology in transformative ways – especially if it’s a very low level task, so your substitution example, might be one you want to keep (if it’s effective and efficient). This post is so helpful for teachers to get an understanding of what these different stages look like in implementation. Thank you!

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