How do you use Technology?

SAMR Model for IT use.




Technology allows for creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable Use of iBooks Author to create media rich ePub books


Technology allows for significant task redesign Camera function to record oral retells, recording of reading


Technology acts as a direct tool substitute, with functional improvement Basic functions of eBooks are used such as Read To Me and dictionary definitions


Technology acts as a direct tool substitute, with no functional change eBooks are used in reading groups

 SAMR: Puentedura, R. R., Ph.D., SAMR model.

 Should we be using technology to replace things that we have always done i.e. online worksheets v photocopied worksheets? Or should we be using the technology to allow our students to do things that have previously been extremely difficult or impossible because the technology was not up to it or available?

Above is a model for teachers to use when considering the use of technology in the classroom. At the bottom of the model is Enhancement. Enhancement refers to using IT to enhance things that we already do. The example given at the Substitution level is using eBooks on an iPad as opposed to using traditional books in reading groups. This may enhance the activity slightly through added sounds and activities within the book but essentially it is the same activity. If you follow this example all the way through to Redefinition the use of eBooks becomes about being an author and publishing for a wider audience (online publishing). This is something that without the technology could not be done before.

The model is about moving towards using tech to redefine (enhancement) student learning and not just using tech to do the same tasks but in a different way i.e. reading an eBook instead of a traditional book. This is not to say it cannot be used as a substitution or to augment but it is not the most powerful way to use technology.

For teachers at PBAS I have one question:

Is this model something that could be added to our Professional Development Foundation document in terms of guiding teachers to use technology at a more involved level?

I think it should go into our professional development document because:

1. With the introduction of iPads at PBAS it is timely to consider a model like this.

2. It is a simple model/concept which is easy for teachers to grasp.

3. If a teacher wants to focus on developing ICT use in their classroom we currently have nothing to guide them at PBAS. This gives us clear guide providing us a common language and reference point as teachers at PBAS.

4. This is a widely used model in the education community.


11 thoughts on “How do you use Technology?

  1. I have seen either this model or very similar models to this before. I admit that my use of technology falls into all four categories. I would like to be able to say, that my use of technology, be it iPads, computers, IWB, flip cameras fit into the transformation section, but using a computer to word process English essays is really substitution. However, generally I try to use technology to provide a different way of presenting learning, but I am also aware of using technology merely for the sake of it. For example, recently my year 9 science group created a short cartoon strip to show their understanding. I considered using the iPads and the cartoon strip app, but decided that it was easier and quicker for students to actually draw their strip onto paper. There is also the danger that if we all use technology in a similar way it actually loses its appeal to students – making movies of student learning is terrific, but if in secondary, I get year 9 students to make a movie of their science experiment, Nick has them make a movie of their table tennis skills, Justin gets them to make a movie for English, then we are really substituting a written task with a media type task and students may think – oh no not another iMovie! As much as I personally love technology sometimes I do find it difficult to make sure that I am using it to transform learning.

  2. You make a great point Tanya. Using technology over and over in the same way i.e. using iMovie across subjects may result in the engaging factor wearing off. I know I have used the iPads across all 4 catagories as well. I don’t think that this is a problem (except Substitution which produces no substantial benefits other than initial motivation). Using an iPad or PC to create an essay is not a problem. The problem comes if this is the only way we see technology. I think that teachers need to ask one question when deciding to use technology or not; Is the use of the technology going to enhance the students learning? This may be through motivation or the ability for students to do something that they otherwise could not do without the technology. If the answer is that the learning will be no different in terms of outcome (level of learning) then maybe you are using technology for technologies sake. If however the learning is deeper and giving the students more opportunities to go deeper into the learning, in ways they never could have without the technology then go for it. I think a good example is that I was getting students to peer assess soccer skills and tactics. I created a document in Pages and put it on all the iPads so students could record data and then email it to me (Substitution). By the time I got half way through setting up this exercise I realised I was just using the iPads for the sake of it, abandoned the idea and did the same thing with less fuss using pen and paper. Compare this to my health class using Book Creator to make eBooks about alcohol and tobacco. They are publishing a book! Admittedly only to iBooks on the iPad but this book can be accessed easily by another class as a tool for learning. The books allow text, images, audio and video (yes we have downloaded You Tube video and embedded it into the book – easily). The process of publishing a book for a wider audience (other classes) in a way they never could have dreamed of doing in the past is using technology to transform learning.

  3. I agree with both Nick & Tanya re comments about all doing the same thing, so that may involve some mapping of the types of assessment types staff are thinking of using in the next term to avoid double up. Bit like going to T&D & always having a PowerPoint! However things like nicks use of glogster for electronic poster allowed students to add clips etc. worth adding to the perf man document . I feel the perform document should be an evolving where we put in the things we are focusing on at the time, to develop skills and then add the next one when the focus changes or we feel the need to go deeper with something.

  4. Each time I introduce a new piece of technology in media or science it is instantly engaging. I get great participation and students are successful in articulating and demonstrating their learning. Unfortunately a massive novelty factor is at play and if I am completely honest few outcomes exist which could not have been produced without the technology through writing, drawing or in conversation. Does that demonstrate the limitations of the technology or the ineffectiveness of my planning? I think it is the latter.
    To me models like SAMR seem too concerned with a teacher’s capacity to offer new, alternative learning tasks without creating any real new meaning or for students. If my kids can use iMovie to report back on what they have learnt about in Science it may help a few students with low literacy levels but the outcome is essentially the same as a written report or even an open book test or assignment. To use the example given is the ‘create a media rich ePub book’ much different to creating a real world book? Sure some additional IT skills are required but if we want to look at a framework for embedding technology I would prefer something that captures totally new skills and improves access to information. Last year’s Skype session the sports scientist would be an example of this.
    SAMR would be a good reference point for teachers just starting their journey of embedding IT in their curriculum, for example in a practical subject. I guess my underlying concern is that a ‘new’ task is not necessarily ‘richer’. How do we really QA these tasks against models like Blooms for example?

    • Wardy I think the example given (and it is not clear) re the eBook at the transformation level is about using Apple’s iBooks Author program to write your own book. As you mention this is not ‘Redefinition’ as we have always been able to create books. To me the ‘Redefinition’ aspect is the ability to then publish this online to an audience that is very large indeed. To me this fits the statement, “Technology allows for creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable”. The book itself is not a new idea but publishing to an audience on a global scale is. Suddenly anyone can publish to a wider audience without the cost and processes involved with publishing a traditional book. Having said that I am currently trialling the app Book Creator with my two health classes to see how students find it as a presentation tool and to see if it allows for a better and deeper understanding of the topic. How does this fit with the SAMR model?

      1. My task of getting the students to produce an eBook fits the ‘Modification’ aspect of the above model – “Technology allows for significant task redesign”. It is a fair change on the production of a traditional paper book and much more efficient and professional approach.
      2. Does it get to the ‘Redefinition’ level. Probably not but then again imbedding video into a book to enhance an authors writing was once considered “previously inconceivable”.
      3. I think one of the huge benefits of the iPad and an app like Book Creator is the improved efficiency in product design and completed product which I think falls into the ‘Modification’ stage of the model.
      4.My aim is for the students to share their eBooks with each other and another class so that their books can help others learn about the topic they are doing. Of course this could be done previously with a paper book but the lack of a really professional result influences the way the book is received by other students. Having an eBook allows for a professional end result and therefore much more engaging read for the intended audience (obviously content is still important). This part of the task is probably at the ‘Augmentation’ level – “Technology acts as a direct tool substitute, with functional improvement”.
      5. Will it provide a deeper understanding of the topic? Honestly I don’t know the answer to this yet.

      Engagement and novelty always wear off. This goes back to Tanya’s original point above. If we are just throwing tech at them because it is new and engaging we will soon fall flat. ICT is not supposed to be the ‘novelty’ in our class it is supposed to be an educational tool in our class that we use just like pens, paper, rulers, books, calculators etc. If we don’t plan how to use it properly then when the novelty factor wears off we are no better off.

  5. I think it’s good to link our use of technology back to our Teaching and Learning focus. In this way when we consider the use of technology it becomes part of the overall Learning Design. Ie what is my intention, what do the students bring, what does assessment look like and what will engage challenge and support.

    I must admit that I probably tend to fit into the enhance category more so than transformation. I do however, believe that use of technology does engage students better, and lets remember the world they will move into behind school. They need to be very tech literate. I would like to investigate professional development that allows me to explore how I can use technology to transform learning in my particular subject areas.

  6. Have really liked reading responses. Aaron, you made several excellent points which I totally agree with. I liked your use of iMovie to report back on Science learning as I saw students demonstrating forces etc and videoing their demonstrations plus having to explain what was occurring. In this case, students were able to show their learning more easily than through writing and illustrating and yes it would be an advantage for students with poor writing skills. By allowing students to choose how to present their learning you are giving them the opportunity to use their strengths. A couple of years ago I gave my year 11 English class the choice between a ‘traditional’ written resume and a video resume where they could also showcase their personality. Only one student chose the video – the rest word processed (even those with low literacy skills). I was amazed, but I guess they felt comfortable typing their resume – it was familiar and ‘safe’.
    Most times technology is just another tool but it can be very useful. My maths group used the iPad to video Barbie bungee jumping and while they will graph the results in their maths book Allan was able to refer me to an app which will also graph the linear points. They can then compare the results.

    • Your example from 2 years ago Tanya is an interesting one. I think your point about giving students flexibility to use a presentation tool of their choice is important. It would be interesting now to see if presented with a similar choice what they would choose. My guess is 2 years ago the technology did not easily allow for students to produce a quality video without it being time consuming and having software problems. Now that the students have access to iPads the ease at which they can video, edit that video and then transfer it from the iPad is incredibly simple.

  7. The above discussion has been interesting to read. I personally have struggled with the idea of technology being used as a gimmick to grab attention when “old” methods would work just as effectively. Avoiding simple substitution seems the key. As discussed above it really depends on the situation and if it enhances the intended learning.
    A question that I wondered about as I read some of the discussion was “Does giving students with low level literacy skills the opportunity to use technology to produce responses to their tasks contribute to making the initial problem of poor literacy skills worse or at least doesn’t help improve them?” After all, rarely doing something won’t lead to improvement in that area.
    It would be interesting to audit how we are using technology, like the ipads, using the above framework. Also looking at the work samples created and whether they meet the intended outcome in a suitable time frame is worth considering. I’m sure this discussion is one that will rage on throughout our teaching careers as more technology is introduced.

    PS. On a personal note, the introduction of a smartboard into my classroom initially started off as just the substitution level but as I became more familiar with its functions etc I find that on most occasions it is in the augmentation and modification phases. Often, time and familiarity with a device can lead to more effective and creative use. Experimenting and general substitution is a necessary “feeling our way” step as we start of using new technologies.

  8. I think it’s all about the ‘hook’ isn’t it. Changing schools has been challenging/interesting/invigorating in that I have to be a much better salesman than if I’d stayed at Broughton. Whilst that is tiresome some days, it does re-charge the batteries and make me question the ‘how’ – all good self reflecting teaching strategies. In my current circumstances, there isn’t so much of a – how might technology be infused into the curriculum but an expectation and realisation for me at least, a greater engagement of ALL students will come as a result. For me student engagement still = greater educational outcomes.

    Just as with working extensively with Learning Design (as I now am), there are areas which are well constructed by me as a teacher and definite areas for development and polish. I liken the above diagram to be like the Bloom’s models whereby as teachers we are probably fairly adept at the low level areas – knowledge, etc, but synthesis/analysis/evaluation are key areas where we miss the mark. What we are now finding is we can NO LONGER miss the mark of providing student opportunities to demonstrate their higher level thinking skills as a consequence of Australian Curriculum assessment criteria. If we do we don’t provide opportunities for students to demonstrate above satisfactory results – which makes us negligent. The above diagram I see similarly. Redefinition and Modification are maybe the ‘higher’ end facilitated processes we use and expose our students to use to demonstrate their higher order thinking via technology. Like I think you’ve always stated Nick – Technology is still only as good as the implementation and it’s effective integration into your overall teaching program.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe By Email

Get every new post delivered right to your inbox.

Please prove that you are not a robot.

Skip to toolbar