Mimio Educator: SAMR, Ed Tech, and Your Classroom - How It All Works Together

The mission to implement educational technology in classrooms has grown substantially over the last few years. Districts are driven to invest in ed tech solutions that are comprehensive, integrate with current learning management systems (LMS), and are turnkey. While having the technology is wonderful, not using them properly or to their full potential is still a struggle. This is where the SAMR model can help teachers maximize what they can do to enhance teaching and learning.  What is SAMR? SAMR is a framework developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura that defines four different components of technology integration in the classroom – Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition. When viewed as components versus steps or a ladder, educators can design teaching and learning experiences that speak to student knowledge and strengths especially with this generation of tech savvy youth. SAMR is also the ideal instructional design tool for remote and hybrid learning so that teaching and learning is seamless. 
Component Definition  Goal/Ask Yourself Classroom Example
Substitution  Technology serves as a direct substitute for a tool generally used.  What will students gain by using this technology?  Students use Google Docs to write a summary. 
Augmentation  Technology serves as a tool substitute with changes to its functional use.  How will this technology improve student productivity or learning potential?  Students add comments/feedback to one another’s summaries in Google Docs. 
Modification Technology allows for substantial redesign of an activity, task, or project in a lesson. How will technology significantly change the task? Students revise summaries and include media images and clips as supporting evidence.
Redefinition Technology allows for tasks and activities that were previously not possible in a traditional lesson. How will technology help create a new teaching and learning experience? Using an app or software, students create an animated video of a significant scene from a book/story from one character’s POV.
 To help ensure successful technology integration and strengthen SAMR in the classroom, teachers need training and professional development that builds knowledge, competence, and confidence. For example, sharing the basics of Google Workspace and Microsoft Teams should be the beginning of a series of progressively advanced sessions where teachers learn how to use features to enhance instruction. For example, share why and how to use Google Docs, Forms, and Slides to foster creative thinking, problem solving, and collaboration in the classroom. Build on this topic by having teachers create tasks using Google Docs for Substitution and Modification. Allow them to collaborate on a task or project for Modification and Redefinition. A close to this series could be teachers sharing what was done with student work samples. During teacher PD and before designing a project, it is essential to think about the why’s and how’s of implementing technology. Why’s 
  • Why can technology help meet specific learning goals or objectives?
  • Why is the lesson better with technology? 
  • Why is it important that students use technology for this task? 
  • Why is connecting to real-life situations with technology effective? 
  • How can technology align with instructional goals and objectives?
  • How can the lesson be enhanced or improved with technology? 
  • How can I empower my students using technology for this task? 
  • How can I design a lesson that is meaningful for my students’ lives? 
 SAMR in Action – Examples for the Classroom 1. LessonUrban Ecology 
  • Substitution: Students watch assigned videos on ecology and the environment while taking notes in their science journals. 
  • Augmentation: In groups, students collaborate on ways to improve a local neighborhood and create a digital poster using an app like Adobe Express. 
  • Modification: Students post their digital posters online via social media (use a dedicated lesson hashtag, for example, #ecologyposter4sci). They will comment/provide feedback on one another’s posts. 
  • Redefinition: Students will design a city given specific conditions, keeping in mind the ecological impact of each decision, using a virtual STEM application or platform such as MyStemKits Urban Ecology Virtual STEM Kit. Students will be expected to include ways to minimize human impact while optimizing cost-benefit scenarios. City designs will be posted to a class web page that can be on school digital displays for visitors to enjoy. 
 2. LessonExplain how to solve a multi-step math problem 
  • Substitution: Students use an interactive display to show how they solved a problem. 
  • Augmentation: Using a screen sharing application or software, students share how they solved a problem. Using their devices, other students can annotate and save what is shared for later use. 
  • Modification: Students will use an app such as Google Forms to create a quiz of math problems that require multiple steps to solve. Classmates will solve and Forms will keep a running record of data for class discussion. 
  • Redefinition: Students use screen recording software to create a video modeling how to solve a multi-step problem. The video is posted to the class YouTube channel in a dedicated playlist. The playlist is available throughout the school year for student review. 
 3. LessonEaster Island  
  • Substitution: Students read articles online about Easter Island and the mystery about its people.  
  • Augmentation: In groups, students create slide presentations on their research findings and share them with the class. 
  • Modification: Take a virtual tour of Easter Island, then have students write and post a “travel blog” for the class or school website. Include cited research to describe certain features of the island including its famed sculptures. 
  • Redefinition: In groups, students will create a simulation experience for archaeologists and researchers using 3D-printed artifacts. The simulation should include information posted to a tour webpage that visitors can access during the experience. 
 4. LessonWrite a persuasive essay 
  • Substitution: Write a persuasive essay using Google Docs and save it to a shared class folder. 
  • Augmentation: Students use the editing tools available in Google Docs (Spelling and Grammar, suggested edits, Dictionary) to improve their essays.  
  • Modification: Classmates add comments/feedback to essays. This is an ongoing process until the final draft is completed and ready for grading. 
  • Redefinition: Using video creation software, students produce a PSA that will be viewed on the class or school YouTube channel and/or website.  
 These are just some ways to transform teaching and learning using the SAMR framework. Ultimately, the goal of designing lessons using SAMR is to optimize instruction using technology. Both teachers and students will be empowered to integrate technology into their projects with consistent practice and training. Fortunately, there are more resources available to make this implementation easier including teacher professional development. For example, Mimio by Boxlight supports transformational teaching and learning experiences with customizable solutions to meet needs at every level. To learn more about how Mimio can enable schools to design a technologically connected classroom, click here.  To learn more about Boxlight solutions, including STEM education and professional development, go to www.boxlight.com. 

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