The SAMR Model


The SAMR Model was developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura. The purpose of the model is to enable teachers to design and implement learning activities that incorporate technology. The SAMR model illustrates the importance of transforming learning experience which would result in higher levels of achievement and engagement for students. One important thing to remember is that it is not the tool that defines the level but rather the way in which students are engaging with the tool.

There are four levels to the SAMR model:

  • Enhancement: May make the task more efficient, but it does not have a significant impact on student outcomes.
    • Substitution: Technology is used to perform the same task as before. There is no functional change in learning or teaching.
    • Augmentation: Technology acts as a direct substitute to the traditional task, but there is some functional change.
  • Transformation: Student engagement is maximized and there is a significant impact on student outcomes.
    • Modification: Technology allows for some significant redesign of the task. The outcome is the same, but has somehow been enhanced.
    • Redefinition: Technology makes new tasks possible that were inconceivable without the use of the technology. The technology is a means to support learning of 21st century skills while addressing content objectives.

Resources about the SAMR Model

Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything: The SAMR Model. Kathy Schrock’s website explains the SAMR model in detail and provides connections to Bloom’s Taxomony. She also has a graphic that lists classroom tasks, and how they can be completed under each level of the SAMR Model.

The SAMR Model: Explained by Students: This short video explains the SAMR model using a video created in the app, PowToon. It is easy to understand and has great visuals to accompany the information.

This wikispaces page has different units or topics under each discipline with examples of apps and activities that fall under each of the four levels of the SAMR model.

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iPads Used in Transformative Ways

Below are two videos demonstrating how iPads can be used in transformative ways.

This video documents a third grade classroom using the app, Toontastic, to turn their writing projects about Earth Day into cartoons. The teacher mentions how the graphic organizer within the app correlates with the story elements students are taught to include in their writing. She refers to this as the five finger story, which includes setting, character, problem, events, and solution. She also discusses how the students’ use of dialogue becomes richer by using the app where they are encouraged to role play and be the voice of the character. This video relates to Module Two content about 21st century skills and the SAMR model. The students are developing skills such as creative thinking, problem solving, and communication by writing, illustrating, and animating stories using the app. It relates to the SAMR model by using technology to create new tasks.

Classmate, Colleen Meskell, shared this video of a kindergarten class using iPads throughout a unit about the parts of a plant. The unit involves many traditional aspects of teaching, but using iPads in a transformative way in order to enhance learning. One way the iPad was used was to use Facetime with the teacher’s father, who is a farmer. This allows for the students to go on a virtual field trip to experience the parts of plant in real life application. The teacher also has the students create videos using Educreations to draw the parts of a plant and explain what each part does. These videos can easily be shared on a Youtube site or with families.

Three Ways that iPads Can Transform Learning:

One way that iPads transform learning within a special education classroom is through its accessibility. Students with multiple disabilities have difficulty accessing the curriculum and technology due to physical, cognitive, and visual limitations. iPads are easily adaptable. They can work at any angle and within a student’s own space. A variety of mounting systems can be purchased or customized to optimize students’ visual and physical access. The iPads screen quality also presents visual information clearly and crisply, allowing the teacher to support a student’s understanding by showing high quality images that align with instruction. The iPads back lighting is also a key feature for students with visual disabilities, drawing their visual attention towards the stimuli. The touch screen of the iPad also allows students with the ability to direct select to more independently access and interact with a variety of apps. Without iPads, students must rely on specialized software and switches, which is often too abstract of a concept for the students I work with.

iPads also have the ability to transform communication. There are many apps available from the simple free ones that serve specific functions to entirely customizable systems. For some students, the iPad may be an appropriate communication system. For many of my students, it is a way to encourage communication through specific skills such as greeting, asking for more of something, or answering simple yes/no questions. Apps such as Tap to Talk or Sounding Board give students a voice and allow them to express their thoughts, wants, and needs, making them more active participants in their learning and decreasing frustration.

A third way that iPads can transform learning is through the countless number of educational Apps. Commercial software is often very expensive, and most of the features go unused. The App store offers relatively cheap, and sometimes free, apps that target specific skills. Apps offer students a fun, interactive, and engaging way to address objectives. The apps available fall all along the SAMR model, from simply substituting a traditional task by using an app, to redefining the goals and creating new tasks that weren’t previously possible. The variety of apps allows me to target the needs of my diverse group of learners, taking differentiation of instruction to a new level.

Here is a link to a video I created about iPads transforming education. This was created using the Educreations app.