SAMR Model – an introduction and review

Around a year ago (April 2014), while looking at my data from my last action research project, I am came across the SAMR model.

The model was introduced by the Maine Department of Education and Professor Ruben Puentedura in 2006. The first two stages of the model, substitution and assimilation, add little or no functional change to a task. The second two stages, modification and redefinition, describe activities using technolology that is making recognisable changes to classroom activities.

Looking at face value, I like that this model doesn’t appear to have any value judgement within it. It looks to be describing how technologies can be used, not explicitly suggesting that the modifications or redinitions are superior  – just that they are different. However, this post states “The higher the level of an activity the greater the educational benefit”.

Puentedura designed a Questions and Tansitions Ladder to support tutors in identifying where the use of technology is on the SAMR model. It’s interesting that looking at his questions, it is only at the first stage of substitution and augmentation that the questions of ‘gain’ and ‘improvement’ are included. It appears that their is an implicit agreement that once you get to modificaition and redefinition that these are equal to improvement. I’m not sure that I uncritically accept this – would there ever be occasion that the redefinition of a task, because the technology is there and can be used,  descreases the educational benefits?

Having said that, I like this model, and this post on Te@chThought  expresses well lots of the reasons that teachers find learning models useful. And I agree that this model provides a shared point of discussion between professionals, and helps to keep the students and learning at the centre of our planning.

I found this a really useful model to describe what I had done with mobile technologies in my classes last year, and I tagged all the posts where I used this model.

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