Incorporating new technology into instruction can be a daunting task. Especially with everything else on your plate to tackle. Fortunately, the SAMR Model offers a unique framework to help educators seamlessly infuse technology into teaching and learning.

The SAMR model breaks classroom technology integration into four categories; each letter in “SAMR” represents a category: Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition.  SAMR allows teachers from all grade levels and subject areas to develop a “common language” to design powerful learning experiences using technology.

SAMR is best conceptualized when it is visualized on a spectrum.  In the Substitution phase, technology acts as a direct replacement for traditional tools. For example, instead of writing on a traditional dry erase board, the teacher will engage students using a digital whiteboard on their ActivPanel with ActivConnect G. The purpose and functionality of this digital whiteboard is virtually the same. It’s used as a tool to write and illustrate information to guide learning. However, the engagement is instantly turned up a notch because teachers and students have the ability to take advantage of the Panels 10 points of touch, seamless writing experience as well as access various sized line paper and grid paper, images, and other academic content to annotate overusing this whiteboard.

The Augmentation phase is similar to the Substitution phase in that technology acts as a direct replacement for traditional tools. However, in this phase, there are substantial enhancements to the learning experience.  For example, a Kindergarten teacher may have his students practice their handwriting skills on the ActivPanel using engaging apps such as Endless ABC as opposed to tracing on pencil and paper.

In the Modification phase, technology is used as a means to significantly alter the design of the lesson and learning outcome. For example, during a lesson on WWII, a History teacher will use the ActivPanel and ACG to guide her students on a virtual field trip to Germany using Google Earth. This is a major enhancement and more engaging than viewing images from a textbook.

In the Redefinition phase, technology allows for the creation of a new task that was once inconceivable. For example, after visiting Germany on Google Earth and learning key facts about WWII, students are asked to create a lesson in ClassFlow; this lesson must include an engaging activity that highlights key vocabulary and events that led up to the war. Students will deliver their lessons in front of their peers at the conclusion of the unit. Completion of this assignment would be nearly impossible to do without interactive tools such as the ActivPanel, ActivConnect G, and ClassFlow.

Take a minute to watch the video to hear Dr. Ruben Puentedura, creator of the SAMR Model, discuss his philosophy and how it has impacted the field of education.