The SAMR model created by Ruben Puentedura is more or less a continuum which starts at the most basic level of technology integration (Substitution) moving to the most deeply integrated use of technology (Redefinition). S stands for Substitution, A for Augmentation, M for Modification, and R for Redefinition. The model defines each level this way:
Substitution: Technology is used as a direct substitute for what you might do already, with no functional change.
Augmentation: Technology is a direct substitute, but there is functional improvement over what you did without the technology.
Modification: Technology allows you to significantly redesign the task.
Redefinition: Technology allows you to do what was previously not possible.
The goal of using this model is to show us ways that we can use technology to help students learn more deeply. As you move deeper to the MR levels, students will come in contact with with content at a much deeper level. It is at the M and R levels where we see deeper learning and greater efficacy of technology in the classroom.
Below are three scenarios which are practical applications of how each level can be demonstrated in the classroom. These are obviously not a prescription for each level but a guide to get us thinking about how we can take an activity deeper. Some may actually disagree on where each activity falls, so this a great place to share your comments at the bottom. I have included app names and links where applicable.
Scenario I: Book Report
S - Students type a report with a word processor instead of writing it by hand.
A - Students are now using editing features like copy, paste, formatting, and adding images or links.
M - Students have taken their report to an online website portfolio of work (like Weebly) that is shared with teachers & others
R - Students create a book trailer video with iMovie explaining the main topic of the book. They use video, music, and quotes from the book in their video creation.
Scenario II: Learning the Alphabet
S - Students practice letters with a whiteboard app like Educreations or Screenchomp.
A - Students play a letter matching game where they match letters with sounds.
M - Student creates a video explaining how to draw each letter in the alphabet using Explain Everything, Doceri, or Teach by Knowmia.
R - Students create interactive books with letters of the alphabet using Book Creator. Each letter has an image and/or sounds of the letter.
Scenario III: Interactive Whiteboards
S - A teacher uses an interactive whiteboard hand-drawing many different kinds of diagrams to explain a new concept.
A - A teacher uses some interactive elements in a flipchart for teaching a new concept.
M - A teacher creates interactive flipcahrts with multiple interactive elements and students come to the board to explore, explain, or teach a new concept.
R - Students create interactive interactive flipcharts to teach a new concept or idea. Students teacher their idea using their flipchart.
The question to ask is “Where do I start?”
The best place to start is to conduct a quick self assessment. When I use technology in the classroom, am I at the S, A, M, or R level? Do I substitute paper work on the iPad (or other device)? Do I Augment a paper assignment by trying something I can’t do on paper? Am I using technology to modify an activity by doing a significantly redesigned task? Am I doing something with technology that can’t be accomplished without technology?
The most important point to remember is that the best place to start is at the beginning. If you are just getting started, go to the substitution level and dip your toe in the deep end. Once you get comfortable, try to move that activity deeper. Don't feel like a failure if much of your first experiences are in the Substitution and Augmentation levels. Remember SAMR is a continuum to help us move deeper in the process of integrating technology.
Another important aspect to remember is that not every activity should require technology use. Don't frustrate yourself trying to make everything into a tech activity at the redefinition level. There are times when a piece of paper, a whiteboard, or even a textbook may be the best tool.
Take some time today to assess where your teaching falls in the spectrum. Think of some ways you can deepen those activities and grow in your technology use.