Looking At SAMR Through The Window of Blended Learning

The SAMR Model, designed by Dr. Ruben R. Puentedura is used by many teachers, schools, and school boards. If you are unfamiliar with the SAMR model, below is a video segment of Ruben explaining the model that I clipped from a complete video in his channel.

This simple yet power model looks at technology integration in education as a continuum and links how you integrate technology to student outcomes. As Puentedura explains, levels of integration range from substitution which can be useful but has limited impact on student outcomes to redefinition which can transform learning and has high impact on student outcomes.

If you were to do a search for ‘SAMR model’ your results would show many different applications and images of the SAMR model. I came across a blog post by Greg Swanson where he organized apps according to the four levels of substitution, augmentation, modification, and redefinition. There are many other examples of this kind of app organization based on the SAMR model however, I was intrigued with the conversation in the comment section of this post. Here is a screenshot of some of the conversation:

Technology is only as effective as how it is used and the tasks that our students are engaging in. For example, screencasting apps like ScreenChomp or Explain Everything have great potential to redefine and transform learning but impact on student outcomes will be minimal if the app is used in a traditional, teacher centred way (teacher creating screencasts for students to view on the classroom iPad).

We often look at technology integration and and teacher practice in isolation and as separate continuums but what could it look like if we combine the two continuums together? I’m not sure if this combined model already exists (if there is, please let me know so that I can give credit) but I started a four quadrant window model similar to the Johari Window combining the SAMR model and Pedagogy creating a Window of Blended Learning. By combining the two continuums, educators can have a better understanding of where they are at in terms of blended learning with BOTH technology integration AND teaching practice. I have not added anything in the four quadrants because I don’t want to necessarily funnel the thinking of others but here are some questions that I have and I hope you can contribute your thinking:

  • What would you put in the four quadrants?
  • How would you use this Window of Blended Learning in your role?
  • What would you change in this model?

Window of Blended Learning

Update: There was a suggestion to post the Window of Blended Learning model that I created using a Google Presentation for others to add their thinking. So below is an embedded presentation of the model. Just click on “Google Drive” on bottom right corner to add your contributions. After further thought, I’m thinking that educators may want to use the Window in different ways. Perhaps some general descriptions of integrating technology or using it with a specific tool or apps. So instead of many people trying to add their perhaps different thinking to the same Window, I’ve duplicated the Window five times for now and if you have used the Window model at all, feel free to contribute your thinking to one of the slides. As more people share their use of the Window to the Google Presentation, it will show up in the embedded presentation below.

Second Update: Based a comment from Aaron Puley, I’ve added some variations of the Window. I’m curious to know which one you would use.

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16 thoughts on “Looking At SAMR Through The Window of Blended Learning

    • Thanks for sharing the link Julie. Funny that you should ask about a Google Doc. I created the Model using a Google Presentation. I was actually contemplating posting the G Doc for others to post their thinking on the model but wasn’t sure. But since you’ve asked I’ve posted it in the blog post. Thanks for commenting.

  1. Hi Thomas,
    I think this is an excellent reflection tool. Thank you Julie for sharing Thomas’ blog post!
    Were you just wanting feedback and comments on it, or would you actually like people to fill in the quadrants with different examples?
    Lorraine
    P.S. Happy Father’s Day!

  2. Hey, Thomas – Loving the concept here and the reflective / coaching possibilities that can come from it. I am, however, struggling with the 4 quadrant framework. I’m not sure the Johari Window model fits. The reason I say this is that it seems to be chunking “Substitution” and “Augmentation” in one realm, and “Modification” / “Redefinition” in another. The result of this is that the comments in each quadrant seem to infer that there isn’t much difference between those pairs when, in fact, there is much. This is especially true as we approach the “Redefinition” stage – a leap from “modification” most definitely as we “throw away the proverbial binder” and respond to student needs in ways that were impossible to fathom prior to the advent of these technologies. Let’s look at the above example for screencasting. If a teacher were to create a screencast of some aspect of learning for their classroom we could easily place it in the realm of substitution (i.e. the teacher used to stand in front of the class and do it and now they record it for viewing in the class). Here they have substituted live teaching for pre-recorded. This technology has been around for quite some time and is therefore not new. The same could be said for substituting a blackboard for a Smart Board at the most rudimentary of levels. To augment this, the teacher could make this video available online to be viewed by the student again and again, on their own time and point of readiness, or just to study, refresh, reactivate. The task is clearly the same – the teacher is sending a message and the student is receiving exactly what the teacher is sending with no further inquiry – but it is augmented and enhanced as it is not constrained by a temporal moment or a geographical space. To chunk these two pillars of the SAMR model doesn’t seem to honour the differences and nuances of each. To modify this example, the teacher could embed hotspots in the video, links that extend the teaching beyond the produced video and into the web where students can extend their learning and explore beyond the prescribed text or learning object. We are closer to student inquiry here but the task is still teacher driven and created. This pillar, “Modification”, cannot (IMHO), however, be blended into that of “Redefinition” where “teaching” lies more in the realm of the student. In fact, I may even see the “Student” as the “Teacher” by the time we reach the Redefinition stage – roles interchangeable – both co-learners and co-supportive. Just brainstorming here, but how about an eight quadrant model that allows for the pillars of the SAMR model to be separated and explored individually. This way, each facet is clearly isolated and the relationships between them highlighted. I think then the power of the model becomes clear and also easier to mesh with the TPACK model that compliments it. What are your thoughts on this?

    • Hey Aaron,

      Great thinking and suggestions. I was thinking of the idea of a 4 row x 2 column window and had the same questions about having a separate row for each level of the SAMR model. I definitely agree with your statement that the 2 rows can infer that there is much difference between substitution/augmentation and modification/redefinition. I also considered with going with a frameless window with no quadrants and just an open box. If it’s truly a continuum should there be any quadrants. I noticed that Ruben categorizes Substitution and Augmentation under enhancement and Modification and Redefinition under transformation. So if it was to stay as a 2 x 2 window, then it could be enhancement and transformation. I’m not tied to any specific model. I just went with a 2 x 2 as a starting but definitely welcome input like yours. I’ll throw up a few variations and see what people think.

      • Yeah – let’s play with a few different tables and see what we can establish. I love the creation of a tool to get us all thinking of how we perceive blended learning, our proficiency and understanding, and the skillset / mindset that is necessary to fully transform learning – often through tools but not dependent on them. Mark Verbeek (@beekfitness) and I were just discussing this as well and also discussed the enhancement chunking of Substitution / Augmentation but were thinking that the SAMR model on the y axis is linear top to bottom but input is made linearly from top to bottom (not really aligning with the labels as a result). What if we considered a 4 row x 2 column table with the bottom two rows labelled “Enhancement” and the top two rows labeled “Transformation” – perhaps with a dotted line or something. This way the nuances of S-A-M-R are retained and the chunking of pairs retained as well. Again, just brainstorming to capture the thinking. How can we get the idea across that “redefinition” also redefines the role of teacher and of student? How can we blend the teacher and student fields in the redefinition area to visually represent this? Perhaps a merged cell or dotted line to indicate permeability?

      • Threw up some more variations for you. Based on your additional ideas, I think we can come up with something great. I’m liking the evolution of this model based on the collective insight from others.

  3. I just noticed an error in my wording above – “…were thinking that the SAMR model on the y axis is linear top to bottom but input is made linearly from top to bottom (not really aligning with the labels as a result). I meant to say that “… the SAMR model on the y axis is linear BOTTOM TO TOP but input is made linearly from top to bottom (not really aligning with the labels as a result). Now it makes sense :-)

  4. These would need to be cleaned up but wanted to play a bit with the models. With this one (https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B98fdOYOzI4DVm5DQ2cwTGVVWDA/edit?usp=sharing) I have merged the Cartesian Plane and French Door models, which I think nicely visualizes and blends the strengths of both (I think this is my favourite at this point). Now, let’s think really radically with this one (https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B98fdOYOzI4DeUZjdEhReXNMVGc/edit?usp=sharing). My thought process here is that the teacher comes closer to the realm of student, facilitator, guide, and the student comes closer to the realm of the teacher as a result as pedagogy / learning reaches redefinition. I’m not sure that I’ve captured that thought yet with this image but the gradual progression of Substitution –> Redefinition appears nicely represented on a gradual incline with the student becoming the teacher through inquiry. It’s messy I know but do you feel my thought process here?

    • These are great links but after looking at these models, I wonder if we add too much to the model that it will complicate things and funnel thinking. Looking at the 2×2 model, I do like the simplicity and openness of it (I’m more of a minimalist). I actually used the 2×2 Window model today with a group of Full Day Kindergarten teachers and Early Childhood Educators that were just starting to integrate iPads in their programs. The model was useful in guiding our discussion how the iPads and apps (Screenchomp, Pic Collage, Magnetic ABC) could be integrated. We kept referring to the Window to see where we would land. So in the end, the model served its purpose and facilitated the thinking and discussion at the table. If the model becomes too complicated then we may fall into the trap of spending too much time explaining the model than using the model. To me, an effective model is one that is accessed and used often. Thanks for pushing my thinking Mr. Puley :)

  5. I so love the idea of reflective practice when it comes to Blended Learning… as the eLC (Blended Learning / eLearning Contact) for my board I am striving to have teachers reflect on how to push past the substitution and get to the ‘good stuff’ in the SAMR model.

    This post has struck a nerve of sorts as I just received an email from our Ed Tech secondary person who had this question asked about virtual learning – ‘How do we use blended learning for more than just homework – need to use it more valuably in class.’ The value of blended is inexhaustible and it goes wherever the students and teacher take it on their learning journey – but how do they get themselves there? With our Ed Tech initiative (we are in year 3 of 5 – each teacher gets a netbook/tablet, interactive projector and a 8 pack of student netbook/tablets – K to 12!) one would think that we are past the idea of substitution as a board with open availability of technology at the point of instruction – but we have missed the mark as teachers have not had enough of a nudge (gentle shove!) towards reflection practice and change in pedagogy that goes with the venture into blended. It is like the technology orb in the TPACK model sits or bounces on top of the pedagogy and content knowledge orbs… never really merges in and changes both.

    In secondary there tends to be few grade meetings or subject meetings like the elem TLCP process. Principals and heads of departments rely on their people to be professional and push for better practice on their own… which sometimes happen but often when there is no sharing or drive within the dept / school it seems OK that a teacher just continues doing what they think is good (like when they were taught or what worked for them). No teacher sets out to teach poorly or with bad pedagogy for the students today. They simply do not know what they do not know – they do not have the technological toolkit that is vast and allows for endless possibility… they are frightened by not knowing EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING… the Achilles heel of the teachers of yesteryear. BIG SECRET… shhh…. No one knows everything anymore – and ideas / knowledge changes by the millisecond… ride the wave! Lets students give you the penny tour (probably worth more these days – especially since here in Canada we are no longer a penny society!!)

    It would also be nice if self reflection was an intuitive skillset – it is not… People tend not to be good self reflectors… they need some guiding questions to reach the point where the SAMR matrix/quads/french doors might make sense to use. Peter Pappas has given some direction in his blog post: The Reflective Teacher (http://www.peterpappas.com/2010/01/reflective-teacher-taxonomy-reflection.html#content) and there is one for self reflective principals too!!. There are guiding questions that help teachers dissect the lesson/daily learning/practice. These questions are tied into the Bloom’s Taxonomy of learning… lets all venture up the ladder people!!

    Also for the neophyte or new to the idea of technology at the point of learning trying to figure out where I am and how am I going (basically like trying to figure out my own Learning Goals and Success Criteria by myself for effective use the technology in my classroom) is difficult because again you don’t know what you don’t know….The Technology Integration Matrix (http://fcit.usf.edu/matrix/matrix.php) has videos and lessons that demonstrate the change from one place to another on the matrix… it can be applied to the SAMR model almost directly. It gives teachers an idea of where they are as they can reflect themselves off of the examples for comparison.

    I love it Thomas – stirring the blended / SAMR pot!! I’ll put up my ideas into the Google presentation…

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