MicroCPD: SAMR Model for Integrating Technology in the Classroom

This week Shazad Khan from the Birmingham International Academy introduces the SAMR model for integrating technology in the classroom: Substitution; Augmentation; Modification; and Redefinition.

Successfully implementing technology in the classroom can considerably transform the amount of learning that takes place, whilst also ensuring that students gain the skills they need for a digital age. I want to introduce the SAMR model for integrating technology developed by Ruben Puentedura. There are a lot of technology tools out there but critically important for teachers is to able to separate the wheat from the chaff.

SAMR is an acronym for four different levels of integrating technology: Substitution; Augmentation; Modification; and Redefinition. The bottom two steps are ways in which we enhance learning; and the top two steps are the ways in which we transform learning.

  • Substitution is at the bottom because it’s at the lowest level of technology integration. This is where we use technology to do something we are already doing in the classroom – such as students taking notes on a tablet; or reading a book on a Kindle.
  • Augmentation, this is similar to substitution but with an added functionality. Examples include, using a cloud drive to store documents so that it can be accessed from anywhere.
  • Modification is where we really tap into the transformative elements of technology. At this level technology allows us to redefine the task. An example would be where students prepare a presentation using Google slides, where they collaboratively work on the same presentation at the same time from different locations.
  • Redefinition is where we create previously inconceivable tasks. So for example, students create a documentary or a podcast to showcase what they know.

Using technology in such a way develops independent, autonomous learners and it helps them build higher order thinking skills in Bloom’s taxonomy; the technology transforms the learning process, and thus students design, create and analyse.

Alan Carrington has created a very useful visual aid – a wheel representing the SAMR model, and it gives specific technology tools available for each of the levels.

Further Reading
The Padagogy Wheel – It’s Not About The Apps, It’s About The Pedagogy by Allan Carrington