SAMR: A Model for Technology Integration  

March 13, 2015
Teachers are often confused by the term “technology integration.” They might believe that because they use a Smartboard and Powerpoints every day, they are good at it.  But there is a distinct difference between using technology and integrating technology, and simply being a 1:1 school does not guarantee integration. The SAMR model of technology integration presents a clear direction that can help teachers truly transform their use of technology.

The SAMR framework was designed by Dr. Ruben R. Puentedura, Ph.D. It is a useful tool for helping teachers make small shifts in their use of technology to enhance learning experiences. SAMR stands for Substitution, Augmentation, Modification and Redefinition. The figure below summarizes what each step in the SAMR ladder means.

Teachers who wish to use this model to transform their instruction can ask themselves some essential questions to help them be successful. Susan Oxnevad from “Getting Smart” offers the following examples:

Substitution: What will I gain by replacing the older technology with the new technology?

Augmentation: Have I added an improvement to the task process that could not be accomplished with the older technology at a fundamental level?

Modification: How is the original task being modied? Does this modifcation fundamentally depend upon the new technology?

Redefinition: How is the new task  uniquely  made possible by the new technology?

How might this look if put into practice? Consider this example: instead of assigning vocabulary on a worksheet, a teacher could use a wikispace (webpage) for a digital version. This would be an example of substitution: the task is essentially the same but is completed on a device rather than on paper. If the teacher provides a template to guide the task, and allows students to insert images and use spell-check tools, then the assignment moves up the ladder to augmentation. Now, if the teacher asks students to collaborate together on the wikispace page, or provide feedback via comments or a discussion on the site, the task has reached the modification level. For a significant task redesign the teacher could have students publish their wikispace to a global audience, ask for feedback from experts in the content area, and choose creation tools to make their understanding more visible. When the task that is completed was previously inconceivable without the technology, then it has been redefined.

Here is another example. With substitution, a teacher could use technology to create a document that is emailed to the student. The student could print it off and complete the assignment with paper and pencil, or email it back digitally. For augmentation, the teacher could give a quiz using a Google form, which could be graded electronically to provide immediate feedback to the teacher. In modification, the teacher could assign an essay around a theme and have students use iPads to record themselves reading their essay in iMovie, while adding images that fit the theme. A project that has reached the redefinition level might involve students contacting authors or entrepreneurs and conducting interviews to create a documentary, using Google Hangouts or Skype.

As a Teaching and Learning Coordinator at ESU 10, I can support teachers in their efforts to integrate technology by helping them understand the SAMR model. Just like on a ladder, the first steps toward success will be stepping on the first rung (substitution) and that is okay! As they have more experience, get more comfortable and see examples of tasks that have been transformed, they will surely move themselves and their students up the ladder.

“Using SAMR to Teach Above the Line - Getting Smart by ...” 2013. 29 Jan. 2015 <>

-by Peg Coover, Teaching and Learning Coordinator