Feb 28 2019

ICE 2019: Elevating Student Learning with SAMR

Teachers can use the four-stage system to ease their way into classroom technology integration.

CDW•G Education Strategist Jennifer Brown, at the 2019 Illinois Computing Educators conference in Schaumburg, Ill., urged teachers to use the substitution, augmentation, modification, redefinition (SAMR) model to “prepare kids to be autonomous” for the 133 million emerging roles they’ll undertake, starting in 2022. 

Teachers need change their teaching models to “help students hit their 21st-century goals,” said Brown. 

Over the next five years, 35 percent of the skills considered important in today’s workforce will change, according to the World Economic Forum. As members of the future workforce, students will need to develop new skill sets to keep pace.

Specifically, students will need experience with complex problem solving, critical thinking, peer collaboration and cognitive flexibility. By using the SAMR method, students will “have the toolbox to take on these diverse tasks,” said Brown. 

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SAMR Model Encourages Varying Depths of Technology Integration

The SAMR model is divided into two different tiers, similar to the two depths of a swimming pool. The first tier is centered around shallow changes in the classroom, which is a good starting point for teachers who are changing their pedagogy for the first time. 

  • Substitution: This stage utilizes tech to act as a direct alternate with no functional change. A teacher may assign an essay but ask students to type it on a device instead of using a paper and pencil. 
  • Augmentation: This stage closely mirrors substitution, but uses technology to make a functional improvement. For example, in addition to typing a paper, students include graphics and embed links to cite their sources. 

The second tier of SAMR focuses on integrating technology on a much deeper level

  • Modification: This stage is the first step toward a significant task redesign. Students can now share their essays or projects in a blog post. A lesson plan can be totally redesigned by giving students a voice outside the classroom. 
  • Redefinition: The final stage pushes teachers outside of their comfort zones. Not every practice needs to be redesigned, but teachers may want to use technology to create new tasks that would not have been possible before, like creating multimedia projects or podcasts. 

Teachers do not have to spend all their time trying to reach the last two stages. Instead, they can go back and forth between each of the four tiers depending on what they are teaching.

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