SAMR in the Classroom

Any sufficiently advanced technology is equivalent to magic. – Arthur C. Clarke

As referenced in the quote above, technology can be equivalent to magic. There’s an art to it. A skill. A mystery. Yet, all these things combine to produce an effect of what would previously be deemed as the impossible.

One of the most effective tools for the growth as the technological “magician” in your classroom is the SAMR model. Through it, you as a teacher can better situate your current level of technology usage and mastery and aspire to higher levels of proficiency.


The SAMR model: What is it?

The SAMR model was developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura, Ph.D. as a way to help teachers evaluate how they are incorporating technology in their classrooms. The SAMR model is broken into 4 parts:

  • Substitution – technology is just used as a direct substitute with no functional change
  • Augmentation – technology is used as a direct substitute with some functional improvement
  • Modification – technology is used that allows for significant task redesign
  • Redefinition – technology is used for the creation of new tasks that were previously inconceivable.

The model supports and enables teachers to design and develop lessons that utilize technology at the same time serving as an indicator of the progression that teachers can follow as they grow in teaching and learning with technology.

Each of these levels has a place within the classroom. Nothing should be seen as poor for instruction. However, the ideal is that as teachers become stronger and more comfortable, students will be exposed to less substitution and augmentation and more modification and redefinition.

The levels of Substitution and Augmentation are basically just enhancements of a lesson. Think of Substitution as basically just the same thing, but with a computer. In Augmentation, the technology makes the lesson or assignment easier and better. Modification and Redefinition, on the other hand, transform lessons. In Modification, if the students didn’t have a computer they couldn’t do the lesson. Finally, in Redefinition, the students’ world expands beyond the classroom.

What would SAMR look like in my classroom?

When introduced to technical jargon, it can be difficult to visualize what SAMR looks like in your personal classroom, and at this point, hopefully you’re wondering.

Explore the varied examples from the core content areas in order to help provide better understanding of what the different levels look like in practicum. Perhaps these examples may be adapted and made to work for the needs of your own classroom. Perhaps these examples might spark some other inspiration. Or, perhaps these examples will just give you motivation to explore a higher level.

– by Jennifer Haller and LaTia Farria with contributions from Joshua Amstutz, Andrew Lock, and Natombi Simpson of Winton Woods City Schools, Cincinnati, OH

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Jennifer Haller

Jennifer Haller

Instructional Technology Consultant
Jennifer Haller

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Jennifer Haller

Instructional Technology Consultant 513.674.4213