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Applying SAMR model to new learning technologies

SSAT Senior Education Lead Andy Williams proposes a four-step approach to ensure learning remains the priority when utilising new learning technologies.

There are a number of discussions around the SAMR (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition) model and whether or not it is a taxonomy, and whether this implies that redefinition is the ideal and anything less is not desirable. I think we have to be careful not to lose sight of the primary goal for this sort of model – the enabling of a greater level of metacognition for both teachers and students.

Thinking about how best to use digital technology, and its impact on learning is key. Whether that is SAMR, TPACK, Bloom’s, or a combination of all three.

One of the underpinning elements of the Teacher Effectiveness Enhancement Programme (TEEP) is the effective use of ICT. How do we ensure that digital learning technologies are used to maximum effectiveness in the classroom?

Developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura, the SAMR model consists of four key levels. More a reflective tool than a taxonomy, it allows the teacher to think about when and why they are using the technologies, and to continue to focus on learning. The four levels are:


This could be an extended writing task written up online, rather than on paper.


Converting the essay to a Google doc – giving students the chance to collaborate together online.


The essay could be repurposed and published as a blog. Comments could be invited, promoting co-construction.


Develop the essay into a multimedia publication that could include audio; video; imagery and copy. Again, it could be published online for wider review and comment.

The SAMR model allows teachers to reflect on how to keep learning central when using new technologies, and not be distracted by the new, shiny software or hardware that is claimed to be the best thing since sliced bread.


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