Reflections on the SAMR Model

This post is based on my professional development reflection blog Moving Up the SAMR Model.

The SAMR model has been developed by Ruben R. Puentedura as a way to describe levels of technology integration in the classroom. I have been using this model as a basis for conversation with the teachers, to help them develop a vision of how to move towards higher impact changes in learning. Puentedura’s original model is shown below.  You will see that I have built on his model, by using the same image and colors, in order to try it out and build on it. Figures 1 to 4 describe the sequence of my explorations on how to use the SAMR model as a vision guide for teachers. Just as a side note, I need to say that despite the natural struggles, I am finding this model to be very helpful and productive.

SAMR Model by Ruben R. Puentedura, PhD.


What do we mean by Modification or Redefinition of a Task?

One struggle has been to be creative as to what would represent a higher level in the SAMR model, meaning Modification and finally Redefinition. Many times it seemed that Redefinition means moving from sharing among a local group to sharing and leaning globally. That made me think about the many possible meanings of Redefinition. Figures 1 and 4 describe learning with a timeline application and a fitness online portfolio. In both cases, Redefinition seemed initially to move towards global connections. But then, I wondered if the simple fact that students will keep a fitness record outside school throughout the year is not at least a big Modification in the traditional task. And I think this record of fitness workout will only be “doable” because of the use of Google Forms on cellphones. So even though I considered this step as being Augmentation, I still wonder if it should not be Modification.  Or are we Redefining altogether?

Are there different steps within each SAMR Stage?

Figure 4 which describes the fitness portfolio mentioned above, indicates two levels in the Modification stage. I created these two levels to describe steps that I see as separate for teachers. Usually, using blog posts in a reflection process is already a big step (Level 1). Then the next step is having students learn together by making comments on each other’s posts (Level 2). I think both are on the Modification stage, because the traditional tasks do not usually involve consistent recorded and shared reflections. Redefinition would only happen when connections and reflections get outside the student local environment. I can see then a useful breakdown in the SAMR Stages to indicate commonly observed teacher/class steps.

 Can the SAMR Model be correlated with ICT Standards?

In the process of figuring out how to best represent steps in the SAMR model, I started in Figure 1 with simple written descriptors for a timeline application. Then on Figure 2 I added our ICT Standards which you will see is mainly based on ISTE Nets, but also supports AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner. My intention is to try to find a correspondence between levels in the SAMR model and our standards, so we can color code them to help teachers cover a wider range of them, going up higher levels of impact on learning. The question is then open, on whether ICT Standards can be mapped into the SAMR model. This is because we cannot forget the standards as we use SAMR  to show a vision on progress.

Visual descriptors for SAMR. What do they mean?

Puentedura often uses snapshots of applications to describe the different levels in the SAMR Model. Several times I am not sure how the use of a specific application has been associated with a certain stage, so a rationale would be useful. This is because I am finding that we may have different interpretations of the model for a particular task. A growing common understanding of the stages would benefits all of us. So In Figure 3 I used visual descriptors with possible applications related to each stage. You will notice that the same application like a Google Doc or a Mind Map is repeated at different stages depending on the way they are used. So I added short written descriptors to help uncover what I mean. But I still don’t know if visuals only can be helpful for teachers, without someone who understands them providing an explanation … But then it just occurred to me that a voice recording could be added for clarification.

What an ideal model for teacher use could look like?

Well, I will be working on it and I will keep you posted. I guess it may look like Figure 3, with visuals and short descriptors, with a link to correspondent standards and a voice recorded rationale on the side. My idea is to start keeping a collection of SAMR Model interpretations for different learning activities. I am starting by creating them myself but the idea is that teachers will be able to contribute to those models in the future as well.


Figure 1.  Written descriptors for higher levels of integration.

Figure 2.  Descriptors and Standards.


Figure 3. Visual descriptors.


Figure 4. Levels inside SAMR.


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