Technology Integration and the SAMR model

What is Technology Integration?

Technology integration is when students to learn, explore and create in a variety of subjects using technology.  The focus is on exploring good essential questions or themes with technology (technology integration) not on the device or software itself (using technology.) In my ICT classes, I strive to expand upon exciting themes and lines of inquiry in our lessons, activities and projects while meeting both the ISTE-NETS standards and expectations. The new setting of the lab provides a new environment with new online tools for their research, exploration, collaboration, creation and sharing. The open “secret” is that a good theme or a rich essential question is never answered or finished as there is always more to know. (Although, students are pretty honest (thankfully) when they are ready to ahem -move on!)

Collaborating with teachers and students is critical for the success of technology integration. (I ask so many questions on what students are learning in other classes, I call myself Mr. Nosy. A colleague called Garth Nichols calls himself “the destroyer of classroom walls” which I like too!) Effective time to collaborate, plan and share will help determine where the theme or inquiry is to be explored (class, lab, home, school, all…) and what the best approach (pedagogy) for learning (team teach, solo effort, flipped, blended, F2F, online etc.)

My 3 reasons technology integration is effective for students

1. An integrated approaches validates the topic i.e. The student believes that this topic is important as multiple teachers are talking about it.
2. The lab or devices (or me too!) provide new tools (online) and a different context (software) to explore the topic
3. Allows students to study topics in greater depth (They bring their prior knowledge to class and they transfer their learning from ICT to other subjects.)

What is the SAMR model?

The SAMR model was designed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura and allows teachers to evaluate how technology enhances or transforms the learning experience. Is it substitution of a practice already occurring WITHOUT technology?  Does it augment the practice with additional features? Does it modify the task in different and exciting ways? Or does this technology completely redefine the task?


How is the SAMR model useful for technology integration?
While researching  mobile technology and pedagogy for my graduate course, I discovered that the SAMR model was a perfect complement and expression of my current integrated approach to the curriculum with technology. Before learning about it, my simple goal was to ONLY integrate technology that enhanced student learning and knowledge. The SAMR model takes this idea one step further by breaking down the manner of that integration in projects or activities. This is an excellent resources for curriculum planning and collaborations with colleagues.

Reflecting upon the SAMR model

In my initial enthusiasm, I boldly declared (thankfully to myself!) that all my student activities with technology should be redefinitions. This is lofty goal will surely be true someday very soon but for now in 2013 a healthy balance of activities in different areas of the model might be best to win over all parties in our environment.

Final note – although this post refers to technology integration into classes, I am lucky to work with other specialist teachers who ALSO believe in an integrated approach. Thankfully, Art, Music, Physical Education and other Languages are spread liberally through the experiences and curriculum of students. AND being nosy I try to find out what all the specialists are doing too for integration opportunities. Perhaps I should wear a t-shirt with Mr. Nosy from the Mr. Men on it!

Further Questions
Should we use the SAMR to classify apps/software or tasks/inquiries or a combination of the two? (leaning towards to the latter)
example poster – Apps in Education SAMR poster
Where does PBL (Project based Learning) fit into the SAMR model?

Further resources on Technology Integration
A useful flowchart for Technology Integration  – So helpful for teachers evaluating when to use technology in their lessons.
Mitchel Norris’s exploration of Tech integration vs.Tech classes – I am arguing that a mixed approach works very well i.e. 1:1 environment  + ICT classes + integrated projects = 🙂Research from Edutopia on Technology Integration – lots of case studies and different model to explore
Excellent chart on “Using Tech vs. Tech. Integration” – clear and helpful!

Further resources on the SAMR model
Dr. Ruben Puentedura’s weblog – lots of slide decks on emerging technologies and exploring Horizon reports past and present
Dr. Puentedura’s slidedeck on SAMR(and TPCK)  models in Action – Some great examples and advice when considering technology integration
Jennifer Magiera’s blog post on using SAMR model for iPad integration – useful for us as we integrate iPads in classes!
Jamie Richard’s exploration of the SAMR model for Tech. integration into his middle schools classes
Allan Carrington’s Padagogy Wheel – combining the SAMR and Bloom Taxonomy for iPad apps and activities