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Any modern teacher understands and appreciates the value of integrating technology into the classroom. Whether it’s using interactive whiteboards, supplying iPads, or even learning through digital play and VR, tech is more prevalent than ever in the school setting.

SAMR is just one example of effective ways technology can be integrated into the classroom. We take a look at what SAMR actually means as well as some SAMR model examples – allowing for the more effective and controlled integration of valuable technology into your classroom.

Read on to find out more about SAMR, why it’s such a valuable model, and SAMR examples to help implement this framework into your school:

What is SAMR?

Created by Dr. Ruben Puentedura, the SAMR model is a specific educational framework that divides classroom technology into distinctive categories. It is designed to allow teachers across different subjects, disciplines, and subject matters to visualize a consistent process for how technology is utilized and integrated into classrooms.

The model is made up of four components:
  • Substitution: in which technology directly substitutes existing processes with no change
  • Augmentation: in which technology directly substitutes existing processes while also introducing improvements
  • Modification: in which technology allows for a task to be significantly redesigned to suit a purpose
  • Redefinition: in which technology allows for the development and creation of new, previously impossible tasks

These four steps are divided into two specific categories: Enhancement and Transformation. Using this framework, educators can better understand how technology can improve, alter, and replace particular processes within the classroom. For example, substitution of technology could be students answering a worksheet through a word document, instead of on paper – the process and requirements are the same, the medium is the only thing that has changed. Forming an online language chat platform with different schools would be an example of a redefinition through technology – with a task that was previously impossible before the evolution of online chat.

We take a look at some of the most common processes and lessons in the classroom that have been adapted or altered through the SAMR framework. You might be surprised to discover just how much lesson planning has changed from only five years ago, thanks to the implementation of technology and the evolution of teaching as a whole.

SAMR model examples for the classroom

Now, let’s jump right into the model examples.

Writing a short paper on the history of World War II

In this lesson, students are asked to write a short paper on the history of World War II, and the influence it had on the world at the time and to this day. Traditionally, students writing a short paper would do so with a pen on paper.

But when we apply the framework of SAMR, that lesson plan can evolve into any of the following:
  • Substitution: Students write their paper using software like Microsoft Word instead of using pen and paper
  • Augmentation: Students write their paper using software like Microsoft Word, and also utilize text-to-speech and grammar checking to improve their writing process
  • Modification: Students write their paper using software like Microsoft Word and related tools, which is then shared online to receive feedback and improve upon the quality of the paper overall
  • Redefinition: Students use online tools such as video and animation creation software to convey the concepts they would put on paper in a traditional written assignment.

Creating a poster or display on a specific location

In this geography lesson, students are asked to prepare a display about a specific location and some of its major geographic features, for example, Hawaii or Scotland. Traditionally, students would be asked to create A2 posters about the location using magazine clippings and their own artwork.

But when we apply the framework of SAMR, that lesson plan can evolve into any of the following:
  • Substitution: Students use presentation tools such as PowerPoint or Prezi to produce a digital version of their presentation about their chosen location
  • Augmentation: Students add in interactive media to their presentation, such as hyperlinks, audio, and video, to provide more engagement and depth to the assignment
  • Modification: Students design a digital travel brochure about their chosen location, utilizing student-created video and multimedia elements
  • Redefinition: Students use Google Earth to explore their chosen location, and connect with school children from the locale to interview them and find out more about the place.

Understanding the literature of Chaucer

In this literature lesson, students are asked to read and understand one of the pieces of prose within The Canterbury Tales in its old English form. Traditionally, students would either be given a copy of the book or take it out from the library and study the language on paper.

But when we apply the framework of SAMR, that lesson plan can evolve into any of the following:
  • Substitution: Students access and read a selection of different tales from The Canterbury Tales online.
  • Augmentation: Students use online study guides, dictionaries, and supplemental reading to gain a greater understanding of the text and to translate particularly difficult words
  • Modification: Students use multimedia online resources including audio and video tools and learning to gain greater insight into the motivations of a particular character, based on the text and supplemental learning
  • Redefinition: Students construct mind maps online to determine vital elements within the Chaucer text, including the use of wording that may have multiple meanings and can be interpreted in different ways

Science pop quizzes

In this Science lesson, students are given a pop quiz to test their knowledge on the biological causes and reasons for evolution. Traditionally, this kind of quiz would be taken using paper and pencil on a printed form – which is then marked in an analog way. But when we apply the framework of SAMR, that lesson plan can evolve into any of the following:

  • Substitution: Students are given the quiz as a Word Document, which they can fill in and email to the teacher for marking
  • Augmentation: Students complete this quiz using a specially designed quiz software, which allows them to complete the work in a timed environment. This allows for quick digital marking, which may even be automated
  • Modification: Students complete the quiz using video as opposed to writing out their answers, allowing for virtual marking
  • Redefinition: Students must work together to create a documentary video based on specific concepts learned in the evolution lesson plan. These videos are then marked based on each group’s understanding of the material as a whole.

Is SAMR an essential addition to modern schools?

Technology is everywhere. From the smartphones that many students bring to school every day through to the interactive tech in our classrooms, there’s no escaping our evolution from analog to digital. As such, SAMR could be considered an essential framework when it comes to future lesson planning. By understanding what technology can do and how it can benefit your class, you’re in a far better position to teach your class as effectively as possible.

Do you use the SAMR model in your lesson planning? What technologies have you implemented in your classroom that have benefited your students? Let us know in the comments below which forms of tech you consider most effective – and influential – for the average class and our modern-day students.