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Integrating ed-tech in the classroom one step at a time with the SAMR Model

Today’s students are truly digital natives. Not only were they born and raised surrounded by technology, but that technology was in advanced stages of development. If teachers and even university students still remember floppy disks and have used CDs frequently in their time, younger kids connected directly with the cloud.

They use technology in every aspect of their lives and academic activities make no exception. In fact, these probably belong to the most important area they use technology for. According to a Sparks and Honey report, young people today multitask across at least five screens each day and spend 41% of their time outside of school with computers or mobile devices, compared to 22% 10 years ago.They are also self-directed learners and spend a lot of time researching online.

Since technology is here to stay and today’s students will be tomorrow’s workers, educators and educational institutions need to take a closer look at the way they use technology in education and design programs and learning activities for students that will put them on the right tracks for success. Educators play a critical role in preparing students of today to become part of a highly technological workplace of tomorrow.

Bridging this time gap with the SAMR model

The only way to ensure students will navigate easily the demands of the future high-tech workplace is to use ed-tech in the classroom as much as possible but most of all, as effective as possible. Using tech for tech’s sake is not a viable solution, but there are various ways the use of technology in school instruction ca lead to improved academic results for students.

The problem is, there are still plenty of teachers who are reluctant to that idea or are simply not as tech-savvy as they should be. Some of them even remember Encyclopedia Britannica as la crème de la crème in terms of studying materials. (Check out this candid reaction of teens to the idea of encyclopedias).

They may all use some form of technology for classroom instruction, but the level of ed-tech integration varies from school to school and from teacher to teacher.

The SAMR Model gives a helping hand in this situation.

The SAMR model for technology integration in education has been developed and popularized by Dr. Reuben Puentedura, who is the founder and president of Hippasus, an educational consulting firm, and a member of the Maine Learning Technology Initiative support team. The model helps teachers integrate, design, infuse and develop technology-driven learning experiences for their students.

This framework is made up of 4 levels:

  1. Substitution – Technology acts as a direct tool substitute, with no functional change. At this level teachers or students are only using new tech tools to replace old ones; for example, using Google Docs instead of Microsoft Word. The task (writing) is the same but the tools are different.
  2. Augmentation – Technology acts as a direct tool substitute, with functional improvement. Continuing the Google Docs example, instead of only writing a document and having to manually save it and share it with others, this new tool provides extra services like auto saving, auto syncing, and auto sharing in the cloud.
  3. Modification – Technology allows for significant task redesign. It’s a step forward from augmentation, as technology transform students’ learning. Using the Google Docs example, peers or teachers can use the commenting tool to collaborate and share feedback on a given task.
  4. Redefinition – Technology allows for the creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable. Students and teachers use technology to actually create new things or improve others. Examples include students connecting to classrooms across the world, adding voice comments to documents, creating iBooks, creating collaborative mind maps, documents, presentations, etc.

Thanks to it, teachers are able to determine whether the technology they are using in their classroom is enhancing or transforming teaching and learning activities. The model also shows how technology allows for the creation of new tasks that previously was inconceivable due to the absence of available technology. There are various ways teachers can apply the SAMR Model in their lessons.

Ultimately, the model shows that in this day and age, teachers must focus on the transformation of learning, to prepare the students for the future and enhance their work-ready skills.

Read more: How to achieve ed-tech integration using the SAMR Model

The focus is both on students and on teachers

The SAMR model, while not perfect, promotes support and models creative and innovative thinking and inventiveness. Students have the opportunity to explore real-world issues and solve authentic problems using digital tools and resources.

Teachers use their knowledge of subject matter, teaching and learning, and technology to facilitate experiences that advance student learning, creativity, and innovation in both face-to-face and virtual environments.

But the most important aspect of this model is probably the fact that it recognizes the various degrees of teacher-readiness to tech-up their instruction process. Educators can take professional risks and learn along the way. Teachers master a level, gain confidence and then move to the next level of learning without feeling pressured.

SAMR allows teachers to grow while providing new learning experiences for their students.

Join our NEO Webinar about the SAMR Model!

Want to learn more about SAMR and how to apply this model to enhance classroom activities with ed-tech? Join our webinar on November 15!

Jen Padernal, an educator with more than 20 years of experience and our Director of E-Learning Integration, has prepared a few tips and tricks on how any teacher can slowly increase the level of technology used in the classroom by converting traditional activities, empowering students to take an active role in their education and preparing them for the future.

The webinar will be a practical session with plenty of hands-on activities you can engage in.

Watch the webinar.

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