Quick Take: Discuss and understand the SAMR Model of educational technology integration. Explore:
Let us take a look at the SAMR Model and how it applies to interactive whiteboards as an EdTech.
The SAMR Model for categorizing technology integration in education was created by Dr. Ruben Puentedura. He is President of Hippasus an educational consulting firm with expertise in technology, pedagogy, and administration. SAMR is an acronym standing for Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition. These four groupings provide an outline on how to cluster different ways to implement and integrate technology in education. Substitution and Augmentation are considered ‘Enhancement’ levels, while Modification and Redefinition are grouped together as ‘Transformation’ levels.
Broadly put these categories can be described as:
Substitution: The technology acts as a direct tool substitute, with no functional change to the teaching task. For example, using a tablet for class notes instead of pen and paper. The function of both tools stays the same.
Augmentation: The technology acts as a direct tool substitute with functional improvement to the teaching task. For example, allowing students to use a computer to search for scholarly articles to write their reports instead of manual text-based library searches. Here the function of the technology enhances the tool used to educate in both terms of speed and number of results possible.
Modification: The technology allows for significant educational task redesign. At this level of implementing technology in education, the technology will allow for changes to the design of the educational experience and learning outcome. For example, the use of internet communication applications allows for distance learning which a big jump from recorded video lessons. This new technology offers many new capabilities such as real-time interaction and feedback that the teacher can redevelop their lessons around.
Redefinition: The technology allows for the creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable. At this level of technology application, the educational experience is transformed. The technological tool allows the teacher to redefine the learning objectives creating a new educational experience. For example, the use of VR allows for an immersive experience for students to not only read about the subject matter in textbooks or watch a video but to visualize the subject in virtual reality. Students then can describe their experience in many more dimensions than previously. This application of VR technology could be described as a re-imagination of the teaching task and outcomes achievable.
The SAMR Model is useful as a scale of how technology affects and influences education. On one end, the Enhancement levels only improve on the current standards and methods of teaching. These types of EdTech implementation are normally easier to accept and incorporate into current lessons and teaching styles. The changes are gradual and do not require much re-training as they are only meant to enrich the learning experience. On the other side of the spectrum are the Transformation levels, where the EdTech makes a much larger impact on the aspect of education it is modifying or even replacing. Here the teaching task needs to be redesigned, reconfigured, or redefined. The results could be something that is very different from the original. For example, let’s take the E-Textbooks on Tablets. By applying Modification, the teacher can incorporate many new and different functions into their lesson plans such as embedded video and voice, click to reveal additional materials, and instant internet access from links in the e-books. These functions give the teacher much more options and flexibility to enhance the lesson plan compared to traditional textbooks.
With educational goals in mind, the SAMR Model can help determine if the technology is enhancing or transforming the learning. It is a tool to measure the effectiveness of the technology and gives the teacher a guide of how they want to implement the tools they are given. Some would want only to use technology to help them in their teaching tasks while others will choose to replace traditional teaching methods with technological-base ones.
A very popular EdTech being currently rolled out across many schools and universities are the implementation of interactive digital whiteboards. Here the different functionalities and features of an interactive digital whiteboard can be applied to the SAMR model at different levels.
Each one of these features of an interactive digital whiteboard can be implemented in different ways and levels. By using the SAMR Model, the teacher can categorize how deep and involved they want to go in implementing the technology into their classroom learning environments.
We can now see that the SAMR Model is not a model to guide the implementation of educational technology or even a measurement of how effective the technology is once applied. The SAMR Model is only a method of categorizing technology implementation in education. Some technology can be placed in many categories; it is up to the teacher to decide how they want to implement the use of technology in their own classroom. Moreover, as an illustration, we used interactive digital whiteboards as an example that could span all four levels under the SAMR Model. To learn more about educational interactive digital whiteboards and their benefits in the classroom click here.