Ben Britton, lead teacher ICT at Wellington High School, discusses how they use the SAMR model to evaluate plan for effective use of technologies in the classroom. He explains the process of trial and error that they went through, and how they experimented with the SAMR model to find what worked best for them.
Any school going through a one-to-one change should investigate the SAMR model. It’s a way of evaluating how technology is being used. It starts off with, are you using it just to substitute? Are they just writing it into a document rather than using it on paper? Then you can augment your activities and in practice if you are using your computer you are augmenting. You’re doing it in the computer. It’s easier to edit. The spellcheck does things for you. You can cut and paste easily.
The next part of SAMR is modification where you actually change substantially an activity that you do so instead of having the kids get up and deliver a speech, they create a movie of it. They get to decide when it’s ready. They get to edit it. They get to take out the bits they flubbed up. So, it allows them a lot more control and it does change things. The next step is the redefinition where it, which is where you do something that would be absolutely impossible if you did not have a computer.
A good example of this would be collaborating with an overseas school in a live way with documents, almost impossible without modern technology. And, when we started going down the ICT route we did look very thoroughly at the SAMR model. We did think about what we were doing, whether it was a substitution, whether it was redefinition. And you have to play with all of these things but what SAMR does not do, is it doesn’t evaluate whether it’s a good pedagogical choice. You can redefine a task and make it worse. But you do have to experiment without pushing the limits and experimenting you’re never going to find what does work and how to use the devices really well. You have to take risks with them and sometimes the kids are going to amaze you with what they can do.