One of the most impressive technology models that I’ve seen come the direction of education is SAMR, designed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura. SAMR is a very useful framework to approach how we use technology with students, from substitution to augmentation, and modification to redefinition.
The reason I like it, as a leader, is because it allows me a quick approach to identify how meaningful the use of technology is in a classroom. Ideally, I’d like to see technology to promote higher order thinking skills, such as Webb’s Depth of Knowledge levels 3 and 4 and Bloom’s Taxonomy of analyzing, creating and evaluating. SAMR provides a continuum that can help transform the use of technology from passive response to putting students in the driver’s seat of learning.
S stands for substitution. Think about using flash cards to learn math facts. When students use an iPad with a flash card like app, the technology they are using is substituting a traditional lower level thinking approach to learning. The traditional paper/pencil approach has only been converted to more technological format.
A stands for augmentation. In augmentation, students use technology to enhance their learning or sharing. For example, they may be using a Word doc and looking up the definition with an online dictionary. Or students are taking notes using and sharing them in Dropbox.
M is for modification. In modification, the activities begin to transform student learning. Students create blogs using Blogger and work to edit the writings of classmates, adding videos and music to enhance their creations. Or they are using iMovie to tell the story of science concepts.
R….you’ve got it. Redefinition. In redefinition, learning tasks enable students to collaborate, demonstrate critical thinking skills, reflect on their learning, and show evidence to evaluate their thinking. This is the level we’d like to have teachers aspire to, but it is understandably time consuming and more effort is needed to fully design tasks that exist in this realm.