I was introduced to the SAMR model last year during one of the Technology Leaders’ Meeting at school. It is a model that applies to the way technology is used in the classroom. This model was created by Dr. Reuban Puentedura to show the different ways technology can be used in the classroom. The infographic above briefly describes what “SAMR” stands for. Simply put, it is a process that teachers should go through in order to transform and enhance the teaching and learning culture in their classrooms through the use of technology.
In my first years of teaching I used technology as a substitution method because that was what it was used for when I was at school and university. I primarily used Microsoft Word to type up my essays and Google Search for quick research. Yes I still wrote with a pen and paper and did research using the books in the libraries but using computer programs was quicker and easier. As a classroom teacher I have come to realise that if I want my students to be equipped with 21st Century skills and be more engaged in their learning, I need to move away from substitution towards redefinition.
During terms 1 and 2 I started using Google Docs in my classroom because it allowed us to create collaborative documents. For the unit Coraline we looked at Film Techniques and using images from the film, students were able to create a document that looked at different camera angles, shots and movements. They were able to comment on the use of light in the images and explain why the director and cameramen had used those particular techniques to illustrate various themes in the movie. In our magazine unit, students worked together to create their own magazines and could share their work with group members. I was using technology to augment the learning outcomes but this is where I stopped.
I chose to make the students print out their magazines instead of letting them publish it online. Students used Lucidpress, Readmo.re, Google Docs as well as the traditional Microsoft Publisher. They used technology to make beautiful magazines but because they printed them, I had gone back to the substitution model. All because that was what the school curriculum dictated.
As a result of this unit, I’ve decided to give students more freedom and ownership into how they produce their learning outcomes. After all if I don’t allow them to challenge their capabilities, they will resort to the substitution method every time. As a teacher of 21st century students, I need to utilise students’ ability to use technology in the way they choose as well as encouraging them to take risks in their learning. I need to challenge my teaching practices so that technology is used as a redefinition tool that transforms the way students learn.
Further Reading and examples on how to use the SAMR Model: