When it comes to technology integration in schools, many are looking to the SAMR model for guidance. The Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition model offers an insight into how technology can be integrated into the teaching process, following the steps outlined. However, many educators are now turning away from the model, highlighting its over-emphasis on replacing traditional teaching methods, and its lack of focus on learning outcomes. Following the model’s guidelines, many educators suggest we are losing sight of why we are using technology in the first place, making it a case of technology for the sake of technology. Once technology integration alone becomes a goal, we’re doing something wrong. Rather, let’s focus on what technology can do for teaching and learning, and what we want it to help us achieve.

1. Independent Learning

Mobile, and cloud-based learning have made it possible for students to learn anywhere, at any time. This offers them the freedom to ‘think outside the box’ and engage in independent learning. With many systems incorporating competency-based progression and personalization, students can continue independently towards specific goals, giving them more ownership over their learning, a hint of autonomy, and a huge sense of empowerment.

2. Personalization

One-to-one instruction is still considered the most effective learning solution. Despite this, for many, class sizes and teacher workloads continue to increase. One-to-one technology is now making it possible to personalize the learning experience for every student, in every classroom, offering personalized resources and support on a continuous basis. With this, students are kept on track, and motivated to reach every goal.

3. Student Voice

Jerry Blumengarten once said: “Tech gives the quietest student a voice.” Every educator is acutely aware of how easy it is for student voice to be drowned out by the sounds of a busy classroom, the pressures of exams, or the fear of rejection and ridicule so common to every adolescent. With social media and learning analytics combined, educators are afforded a clearer and more insightful view of student progress, along with an incredibly simple, yet transformative, facility to amplify student voice, ensuring no student suffers in silence.

4. Critical Thinking

Critical thinking skills are often rooted in independent learning. With an element of autonomy and freedom over their learning, students using personalized resources inside and outside school time are encouraged to develop their critical thinking skills in new and exciting ways. Using social media to connect with teacher and peers is another great way to emphasise these skills with the ability to question, collaborate and share in real-time.

5. Creativity

With more choice and flexibility, students are urged to feed their innate curiosity and explore their creativity. With adaptive tools that embrace difference and promote creativity, educators are afforded more time to focus on creativity as a crucial element of student learning. Using the flipped classroom model, or incorporating project-based learning for instance, more emphasis is placed on originality and innovation, as students form ideas far removed from the typical classroom.

While the SAMR model certainly proves effective as a rough guide to technology use within the classroom, with examples of how it can be implemented, a wider view is what’s needed first and foremost. Identifying what your school wants to achieve through the use of technology, and how it can enhance your pedagogy is what must take priority. Take the right approach to technology integration, and keep the focus on learning.

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About the author:


Lorna Keane specializes in language teaching and has taught in second and third-level institutions in several countries. She holds a B.A in languages and cultural studies and an M.A in French literature, theory and visual culture. Follow her on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.

Image credits: SplitShire / CC BY 2.0