Clarifying the SAMR Model

This past week I had the privilege of listening to Dr. Rueben Peuntedura speak at Lambton College in Sarnia. The College graciously invited a group from LKDSB, I was very pleased to be included in this group.

Over the past few years visual representations of the SAMR model have been strewn across my office desk, as I have grappled with the task of maximizing the impact of using new technology with my students. Initially, the SAMR model provided the structure that I needed to come to terms with how I could integrate iPads in my primary classroom. In the early days of iPad use in my program I would refer to the model as frequently as I did the curriculum; ensuring that I remained focused on the academic goal. With all the flashy apps available, I feared it would be too easy to get off track.


Fast forward a year and I have gained a much stronger understanding of how to drive forward student success through technology. Having a 1:2 device ratio has allowed me to embed the use of tech into curriculum delivery and task assignment. The first two steps on the SAMR ladder really are incredibly convenient for myself and students and required minimal effort to set into action. I have definitely moved my students into Modification, but I have struggled with what is really needed to reach that highest level; in order to achieve greatest student success.

Dr. Puentendura shared a great deal with us; the following is a list of my highlights taken both through his lecture and a conversation I had with him around a CBL project my students are engaged in.

1. Greatest student achievement occurs when students engage in tasks in all areas of the model, for extended periods of time.
2. There are no bad levels of the model. The different levels just serve different purposes.
3. Jumping along the model is fine. It’s not necessarily meant to be a linear path.
4. Redefinition does not always include the use of technology. It can be the result of technology use through SAM.
5. Advantages of going up the ladder through a task means that if one piece doesn’t work you still, have all of the other learning and experiences, the risk is not as great as just doing one piece.
6. The key to Redefinition is applying peer feedback.
7. The gains from using technology are not always evident in assessment; depending on what is being measured.
8. When determining what type of technology to use consider your purpose; social, mobility, gaming, visualization or storytelling. (EdTech Quintet)
9. Consider Michael Fullans 6 Cs as the basis of why we use technology in education.
10. There’s no app for that. Just as one app can’t move you to a specific level, a single app can be utilized along all levels. It not just the tech; it is how you apply it along with the content that makes the learning meaningful.

My biggest “Aha” moment is the realization that working along the SAMR model really isn’t that complicated. I think I had been over-analyzing it for some time. My understanding of the basic concept of the model wasn’t too far off, but I definitely have a much clearer understanding of how to move forward with my students from here.

The day exceeded my expectations, a big thank you to Lambton College and Lambton Kent District School Board for including me and to Dr. Puentedura for sharing his expertise.



5 thoughts on “Clarifying the SAMR Model

  1. Sharon says:

    Nice reflection, Jenn. I think your fifth numbered point is the one that resonated with me the most. It highlighted the idea that the SAMR “ladder”, which I had previously thought was about replacing a “lower level” task with a “higher level” one was really about building a series of related learning experiences that may draw from several areas of the SAMR model. It helped me to more deeply understand how we can use substitution and augmentation to develop student skills and understanding of important concepts.

    I would add to point number 6 that it’s not just about receiving and applying peer feedback, but also the dialogue that can occur with people outside the classroom and in the wider world. It’s about both academic and “real world” connection when we make that move from “me to we”.

    • mskranenburg says:

      Thanks for the comment Sharon.

      I agree with you on point 6 and I may edit to add that in. For myself, I felt that I was doing a decent job at receiving and moving the students to apply feedback from outside of our classroom; it is the peer element that I have to focus on now. Moving forward that is something I intend to focus on a little bit more. Dr. Puentedura offered some great suggestions on how to do that.

      I also did not give enough value to the lower levels of the SAMR model. I feel that I had my “eye on the prize” looking for ways to reach redefinition rather than valuing the whole process.

  2. lisamaples says:

    Reblogged this on Teaching with Technology! and commented:
    I enjoyed reading Ms. Kranenburg’s blog post about the SAMR Model. She heard Dr. Peuentendura, who developed the SAMR model for technology integration in schools, talk about the SAMR model and shared some suggestions that he gave. She gave me permission to Reblog her post here.

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