Intro to SAMR

Thank you to Gail Ramirez for the SAMR examples and explanations. See our SAMR site here with more information about SAMR.

What is SAMR?

The SAMR teaching model was designed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura. This model helps teachers create lessons / activities that increase student critial thinking and transform their learning experiences.

SAMR stands for Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, & Redefinition. In the SAMR model teachers can reflect on their lessons / activities and use this guide to improve the student's learning experience. Moving to the next level on the SAMR model is not easy for teachers. They must be willing to take chances and step out of their comfort zone in order to make the jump to the next level.
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Examples of moving to the next level.

Below are some examples of what each level of SAMR looks likes. You may find when looking at your own lessons that trying to move up a level is not appropriate for the activity. That is OK. Not everything you do in your classroom will be at the Redefinition level. Move to higher levels in the SAMR model takes teachers away from teacher-centered classrooms to student-centered classrooms.


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Example: Students type lab procedures in Google Docs and share them with the teacher.

Functional Change: No functional change in teaching and learning.  There may well be times when this the appropriate level of work as there is no real gain to be had from computer technology.  One needs to decide computer use based on any other possible benefits. This area tends to be teacher centric where the instructor is guiding all aspects of a lesson.

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Example: Students take a Google Forms quiz on lab procedures, which is graded w/Flubaroo.

Functional Change: There is some functional benefit here in that paper is being saved, students and teacher can receive almost immediate feedback on student level of understanding of material.  This level starts to move along the teacher / student centric continuum. The impact of immediate feedback is that students may begin to become more engaged in learning. 

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This is the first step over the line between enhancing the traditional goings-on of the classroom and transforming the classroom. Common classroom tasks are being accomplished through the use of computer technology. 

Example: Students are asked to write an essay around the theme "And This I Believe...". An audio recording of the essay is made along with an original musical soundtrack.  The recording will be played in front of an authentic audience such as parents, or college admission counselors.

Functional Change: There is significant functional change in the classroom.  While all students are learning similar writing skills, the reality of an authentic audience gives each student has a personal stake in the quality of the work.  Computer technology is necessary for this classroom to function allowing peer and teacher feedback, easy rewriting, and audio recording.  Questions about writing skills increasingly come from the students themselves.

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Signs of this include collaborating with classrooms in another district / state / country. Also final projects are generally published online for general public to look at.

Example: A classroom is asked to create a documentary video answering an essential question related to important concepts. Teams of students take on different subtopics and collaborate to create one final product.  Teams are expected to contact outside sources for information.

Functional Change: At this level, common classroom tasks and computer technology exist not as ends but as supports for student centered learning.  Students learn content and skills in support of important concepts as they pursue the challenge of creating a  professional quality video.  Collaboration becomes necessary and technology allows such communications to occur.  Questions and discussion are increasingly student generated.

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