Transforming learning experiences

The SAMR model was developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura, an educational technology consultant, in the early 2000s. It is based on the idea that technology integration can be categorised into four levels: Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition. Each level represents a different way of integrating technology into teaching and learning, with varying degrees of impact on learning outcomes.

This framework has been adopted by universities in the UK and around the world. It focuses on the idea that technology should not simply be used to replace traditional methods of teaching but should be used to transform the way learning takes place.

The model identifies four levels of technology integration:

  1. Substitution: At this level, technology is used as a direct substitute for traditional methods. For example, using a word processor instead of writing on paper or using a digital projector instead of a whiteboard.
  2. Augmentation: At this level, technology is used to enhance traditional methods. For example, using a spelling and grammar checker in a word processing software or using an online calculator instead of a physical one.
  3. Modification: At this level, technology is used to redesign tasks and create new learning experiences. For example, using a collaborative writing tool to create a shared document or using a virtual reality headset to explore a hard to reach space.
  4. Redefinition: At this level, technology is used to create new tasks and redefine the learning experience. For example, using social media to connect with students in other parts of the world or using an interactive simulation to explore and understand complex concepts and processes.

In following this framework, educators are helped to ensure that technology is being used in a way that truly enhances learning and leads to transformative changes in the classroom.

There are several benefits of the SAMR model for teaching and learning:

  • It helps educators to think critically about how to use technology for teaching. By considering the level of technology integration they are using, educators can ensure that technology is being used in a way that enhances learning rather than simply replacing traditional methods.
  • SAMR model provides a clear structure for educators to follow when integrating technology into teaching and learning. This helps to ensure that technology is being used in a way that truly enhances learning outcomes and leads to transformative changes in teaching and learning.
  • The SAMR model helps to promote creativity and innovation in the classroom and beyond. By encouraging educators to use technology in new and creative ways, the model can help to inspire students and create engaging learning experiences.
  • The SAMR model can help to improve collaboration and communication. By using technology to facilitate collaboration and communication, students can work together more effectively and develop important communication skills that will be valuable in their future careers.
  • The SAMR model can help to improve student engagement and motivation. By creating engaging learning experiences that make use of technology, students are more likely to be motivated and interested in the subject matter.

Examples of transformed learning experiences might include:

  • Communications and professional identity courses could include live tweeting during teaching sessions, collaborative blogging in CampusPress, and social media campaigns.
  • Using gamification, for example with Seppo, in a way that enhances student engagement and learning outcomes.
  • Promoting active learning and collaboration using ChatGPT in groups to see who can produce the best essay in under 30 minutes.
  • Avoiding didactic ‘chalk and talk’ approaches in lectures and seminars to instead include use of interactive learning activities in Xerte, asynchronous online discussions with Teams, collaborative projects using Miro, and digital storytelling assignments in Sway.

In conclusion, the SAMR model is a framework that provides a structure for educators to follow when integrating technology into teaching and learning. The benefits of the SAMR model for teaching and learning include improved critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication, student engagement, and motivation. By following this model, educators can ensure that technology is being used in a way that genionely enhances learning and leads to transformative changes in the classroom.