Digging into SAMR: How to get to Redefinition

A deep dive with Ditch That Textbook’s Matt Miller.

I had the fortune to steal a few minutes of Matt Miller’s time to do a Hangout about the SAMR model that some educators are using in order to self-assess the impact of their choices with technology tools on learning tasks. Matt is a Spanish teacher, blogger and author of Ditch That Textbook. He recently blogged about “10 ways to reach SAMR’s redefinition level” and I was excited to chat with him about what some of those tasks look like before they get to redefinition, exploring how each functions at the substitution, augmentation and modification levels in order to provide educators with more concrete ideas that they may apply to their own practices.

In addition to pacing through how each task progresses through the levels, we had a great dialogue about our mutual feelings that:

  • SAMR isn’t a ladder or checklist for making qualitative judgements about a task. It is simply a tool to help us self-assess how we are using technology to impact learning.
  • SAMR is subjective. One teacher may think her task exemplifies redefinition while a colleague believes it to be more in the realm of modification. That is OK! We do well to be critical and reflective of our practices and don’t always have to agree.
  • SAMR is not about an EdTech implementation arms race nor should it be used to intimidate or silence. Tasks do not all need to be transformational. It’s fine to have a task functioning at the substitution level; the valuable piece is to be aware and intentional about it so that you are achieving your goal for your students. We all share the aim of helping kids and using SAMR to check ourselves can better inform our efforts.
Check out the interview and please feel free to post a response! There are few if any folks with 10,000 hours of SAMR practice. Lacking experts, we all have far more questions than answers. I hope that Matt and I jumping into the sandbox and publicly skinning our knees and elbows can be helpful and informative for your own work!