Monday, June 17, 2013

SAMR: Moving from Enhancement to Transformation

I have used the SAMR Model for many years during discussions with teachers about how they can integrate technology into the PYP programme of inquiry.  In general I have felt that teachers are easily able to use technology for Substitution or Augmentation (the enhancement areas of the model), but that they need support from an integration specialist or coach as they try to use technology for Modification or Redefinition (the transformation areas of the model).  In the latest edition of ISTE's Leading & Learning with Technology I read an article that made me think further about moving from enhancement to transformation.  In this article there were actually 3 levels that were discussed called Engage, Enhance and Extend.  The definitions for these different levels are as follows:

  • Engagement - allows students to focus on assignments with less distraction, motivates students to start the learning, and causes a shift from passive to active learning.  Basically this is simply a way of teachers trying to motivate disengaged students.
  • Enhancement - lets students develop a more sophisticated understanding of the content, makes it easier to understand the concepts, and allows a way for students to show their understanding in a different way.  At this level technology helps students to learn in ways that would not be possible without technology.
  • Extension - allows students to learn outside of the school day, links their learning with real life experiences and encourages them to become lifelong learners.  This level is more about learning outside the classroom.
As I read this through I wonder if the first two of these could equate with the S and A of the SAMR model, and whether Extension is more aligned with the M and the R.  I also started to realize that by looking closely at any learning engagement it may be possible to move it from enhancement to transformation.  A great example was given by Liz Keren-Kolb, the author of article.  She describes a level 1 engagement as students developing their own websites, which would include taking a stance on a controversial issue.  Moving onto level 2, she describes that students could go on to add interactive features that would allow visitors to the website to  comment or participate in a poll - perhaps offering a different perspective.  At the 3rd level she describes students using mobile devices to record interviews, take photos or make videos that could be added onto the web pages.  In this example I would agree that students have moved on the SAMR model from enhancement to transformation - in particular I think the idea of using live polls or video interviews to add to the website that show different perspectives are things that could not be done without technology.

I think it could also be possible to look at this assignment in the light of Bloom's Digital Taxonomy.  Taking a stance on an issue could show understanding, and incorporating readers' views could also lead to analysis and evaluation.  Finally using audio, video and images could add to the creative elements of the website that the students are designing, transforming this learning engagement from lower to higher order thinking.

Photo Credit: Mr. T in DC via Compfight cc

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