SAMR: A Technology Integration Model

When I attended the fantastic Google Apps for Education (GAFE) summit last weekend, I assumed that all participating educators have already encountered the buzzword “SAMR” in one way or another. It was surprising to find out that many educators with at least some experience with technology were not sure what the word means.

SAMR is a technology integration model developed five or so years ago by Dr. Ruben Puentedura. It is designed to help teachers understand and reflect upon how technology is utilized, and to assist educators to better integrate technology into teaching and learning. The model is broken down into two parts- Enhancement and Transformation, and includes four steps: Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition.


Basic level: ENHANCEMENT


At this level, the technology used acts as a substitution for an existing tool, and offers no functional change. For example, typing an essay on a Word Processor and turning it in is not much different than writing it by hand.


At this level, the technology used is still a substitute, but it offers some functional improvement. For example, using the automatic functionalities of a Google Doc instead of a Word Processor. The task is similar, but the file is automatically saved, uploaded, and synched across devices.

Advanced level: TRANFORMATION


Technology use at this level offers significant redesign of tasks. It is used more effectively and efficiently than lower level ones, and there are added functionalities, which improve on existing tasks. For example, instead of typing an essay, users collaborate on a Google Doc, sharing ideas and commenting on each other’s work.


At this level, the technology is used to create new products that were impossible without the technology. An example would be groups of high school students in different parts of the world collaborating on a research project using Google Docs to chat and share comments, and the extension Kaizena Mini to provide each other with audio feedback. Without these tools, such collaborative project would probably have not taken place.

Kathy Schrock made interesting observations on how SAMR and Bloom’s Taxonomy go together, and came up with this diagram:

SAMR and Bloom


Here is an image which would hopefully better illustrate how different tasks are used across the four levels:


Since Puentedura’s model first came out, many techie educators have been working hard to create a simple yet convenient and attractive models. I particularly like version 4 of the interactive SAMR wheel:
SAMR Wheel v4


Some resources to learn more: Common Sense Media’s fantastic explanation videos are well-known. This one has a clear explanation about SAMR. Dr. Puentedura’s weblog. Lots of interesting information and data not only about SAMR, but about many other education and technology topics. And this is a PDF about SAMR in the classroom (mostly diagrams). Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything site. Offers more information on the SAMR model with links to Dr. Puentedura’s work. Here is a Pinterest page with some interesting links about SAMR and tech integration.

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