The SAMR model: engage in deep learning and authentic contexts

Issue 7

Do you leverage technology to plan and implement highly effective learning that was previously inconceivable in traditional classrooms?

Effective learning in any environment requires good design, management and pedagogy. The SAMR model, developed by Dr Ruben Puentedura1, aims to support teachers to design, develop and integrate learning technologies to support high levels of learning achievement.

The SAMR model describes four levels of technology integration that increase in complexity and effect, from simple substitution which barely changes the function, to a more complex redefinition where the technology use can provide opportunities to create what would not be possible without that technology.

Substitution » Augmentation » Modification » Redefinition
Technology acts as a direct tool substitute, with no functional change Technology acts as a direct tool substitute, with functional improvement Technology allows for significant task redesign Technology allows for the creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable

This practical example highlights the difference between each of the stages and what can be achieved when students are provided authentic opportunities within the redefinition stage.2

Example: usual practice is for the students to use pencil/pen and paper for a persuasive writing task.

Substitution » Augmentation » Modification » Redefinition
Students use a word processor for their writing. Students can now easily edit and format their writing. Published work is now printed rather than handwritten. Students can save various drafts of their work.
Students search the internet for information to support their persuasive topic.
Students improve their writing through the tools within the word processing program e.g. spelling, grammar check, thesaurus, word count. Images and graphics are easily embedded within the document.
Students can email external sources for further information.
Teacher shifts the focus of some of the writing task to be collaborative. Students use an online collaborative space (virtual classroomsSecure area – wiki) to write in small groups, conduct peer editing and feedback, and to comment on final products. Work can be done in class time, as well as out of class. Teacher chooses to collaborate with other classes locally or globally on a common issue or problem, using webconferencing. Students research and share their findings within a virtual classroom, in order to find a common solution. The project uses the strengths of students from different classes. Students use a range of multimedia to collect, communicate and distribute their findings and conclusions. A range of technologies are seamlessly used to communicate and share information between the different school groups.

The SAMR model is one approach that can be used by teachers to plan for the effective use of available technologies. Used as a whole-school approach to planning, it can provide a common and consistent language for teachers to use as a reflective tool for how they use technologies to support curriculum learning. The SAMR Ladder supports teachers to visualise their planning, identify tasks they are performing at a substitution level and helps recognise ways they can further enhance learning tasks.3 Effective learning with and through technologies supports the needs of contemporary learners.4 Want to explore this approach further? Register for the live OneChannel program SAMR approach — using the Learning PlaceSecure area. During this session participants will be asked to share their ideas for using ICT in the curriculum and we will discuss how SAMR can assist you to further develop these ideas so that students are given the opportunity to use technology to achieve authentic and rich learning.

A recorded OneChannel program is also available — Transforming learning: SAMR ModelSecure area.

1 Puentedura, R R 2009, As We May Teach: Educational Technology, From Theory Into Practice (online). [accessed 20 February 2013]
2 MacKenty, B 2011, Transforming Educational Technology Integration (online). [accessed 20 February 2013]
3 Loader, D 2012, Application of the SAMR model (online). [accessed 20 February 2013]
4 A contemporary effective learner (online). 2012, [accessed 20 February 2013]

This page was last reviewed on 03 April 2013

Supporting links

Supporting resources