SAMR: What would ‘IT’ look like in my classroom?

Integrating Technology in a meaningful way is a challenge for teachers. IT is often used as a simple a substitution for the old notebook or a white board marker.  What I like about Ruben Puentedura’s ‘SAMR’ model, is that he shows us what sophisticated and meaningful IT-use looks like.

What is SAMR?

SAMR stands for Substitute, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition and it is a model for enhancing technology integration. It helps teachers to move from a simple task where IT might replace note-taking to a sophisticated task that incorporates all elements of IT to create a new, redefined task which was impossible to imagine 10 years ago.

I like this diagram below because it gives practical examples of what a task might be at each stage of development. (Source  Silvia Tolisano, Langwitches Blog).

I note that many teachers would be stuck in the ‘Enhancement / Automating’ stage. Many of my own lessons are too. Is not realistic to have each lesson and task be a ‘transformative event’, but at least SAMR gives us a framework to work with and an explicit goal to reach for, in some of our lessons and some of our tasks.

 More Reading

Finally, here is a longer Reading: (Hmm, can ‘reading’ be used as a noun?) This ‘Draft White Paper 1, Defining 21st century skills’ is developed in consultation with Melbourne University, Cisco, Intel and Microsoft for the Learning and Technology World Forum 2009 in London. The paper is in its draft state and print publication is being considered. It has some good sections on:

  • Using technology to transform assessment and learning
  • Assessment priorities enabled by information and communication technology
  • The transformational strategy with ICT

Practical Application

Meaningful use of IT in my classroom is one in which the kids hardly realise that they are working on a ‘transformative’  or ‘sophisticated, redesigned task that was previously inconceivable . I want the kids to have fun while learning and I want them to use the tools they already use so well at home; their phones, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia and Google in all its forms. (Unfortunately, the free use of those ubiquitous tools can be a challenge at some schools!) I would like their learning to be driven by themselves, I would like them to ‘find stuff out’ for themselves and share odd and interesting facts with me.

Puentedura asks these questions:

  • If you had to pick one topic from your class that best exemplifies why you became fascinated with the subject you teach, what would it be?
  • Is there a topic in your class that a significant number of students get stuck on, and fail to progress beyond?
  • Which topic from your class would, if deeply understood, best serve the interests of your students in future studies or in their lives outside school?

I hope to work with my colleagues to answer these questions and to create tasks that are lifted from mere IT substitution to redefinition.

The Four Expectations


Puentedura has taken the long view and looks at technology from 20.000 till now. The 15min video below gives a good outline of his thinking.