SAMR and technology in learning

Me blogging about the Digital Literacy course again.  This month we’ve been given a video to watch and reflect on.

The SAMR model described is something which I thought I hadn’t heard of, but ever since having it pointed out is actually all over my education RSS feed and has been for years!  (Here and here and here and here!)

It’s a way of measuring how effectively technology is being used to its maximum potential in learning.

For example I quite often use LinoIT as a alternative for having learners call out answers and me scribe them on the board.  (Example).  This sits somewhere between substitution and modification – there are a few improvements – the chance for everyone to have their say even those who don’t want to give answers aloud, easy to copy and distribute afterwards, but nothing very dramatic.  And in fact it brings some problems of its own – shouting out and not contributing are replaced in some cases by frivolous contributions for the apparent delight of seeing something silly appear on everyone’s screens.

But on the whole it’s a straight swap – tech for paper.  I could carry out the whole activity almost identically by giving everyone a pad of postit notes.

One way to modify it to bring something genuinely new would be to use the collaborative features to share the stickyboard outside of the classroom walls and have external people add their contributions.  We’ve never tried this, mainly because the task itself is usually a quick lesson start and there’s not as yet a strong community of practice with which to share in workbased learning so an audience willing to contribute is hard to find.

We have occasionally managed third party comments on learner’s blogs when I’ve actively sought out sympathetic collaborators from my outside-of-work community.  (Examples here and here)

The learners really did appreciate this input and enjoyed having someone new and from the ‘real world’ outside of the training environment give them input and feedback.  (For a related project we had one of those people Skype in to the class to talk to them)

So I do see the advantage but the divide is unquestionably big and time consuming!

I’m struggling to think of a ‘redefinition’ example.  It’s this bit…

“Technology allows creation of new task, previously inconceivable”



The ‘inconceivable’ bit that is hard – how do you conceive of a task that was previously inconceivable…

You can recognise when a task has reached this level – but sitting down and trying to think of one to go in a lesson plan?


But I’m open to ideas – leave me a comment!

The specific questions from the video we’ve been asked to reflect on are:

What will I gain from adding this use of technology?

With my LinoIT example this a mainly to do with recordability – the contribution from each learner are evidenced there on the page not transiently recorded verbally with a flipchart.

Have I added an improvement by using technology?

With the LinoIT example the improvements are that learners can contribute without having to speak in front of the class or anonymously.  They can add images or links or videos to support there examples and third parties could (with some effort) be brought in to contribute.

Does this modification of a task fundamentally depend on the technology?

Only really the third party collaboration and multimedia notes, do in the LinoIT example.  Everything else could come close with postit notes or flipchart paper.

How this task made uniquely possible by the technology?

This is where this example doesn’t really cut it at the transformative even with the hypothetical added collaboration.  It’s a “collecting learners responses in a group situation task” and fairly simple and fact based.

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