Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Does the SAMR model privilege the technology-enhanced classroom?

The SAMR model was popularized by Dr. Ruben Puentedura, it proposes a four-stage model of technology-enhanced teaching. The four stages are presented below:

  • SUBSTITUTION: Technology directly substitutes for existing practice.
  • AUGMENTATION: Technology substitutes and augments practice.
  • MODIFICATION: Technology allows for significant task redesign.
  • REDEFINITION: Technology allows for creation of new tasks.

Some researchers have criticised the SAMR model as it does not appear to have been documented in peer-review literature. Other researchers mention a lack of clarity of the the meaning of the phases (thus making it difficult to evaluate), particularly the middle two phases, and propose the more effective RATL model.

An open letter to Dr, Ruben Puentedura reiterates the lack of peer-reviewed material concerning SAMR, as well as suggesting it is an over-simplistic model. The problem of the hierarchy of SAMR is discussed, and a claim that it is hyperbolic is made.

There are some peer-reviewed materials on SAMR (in the last few years):

For me, a useful comparison to make is with Moule's eLearning model (2007).

Moule's model sees the integration of technology into teaching as a means of changing the type of teaching practice, moving from an Instructivist to a Constructivist model. In contrast SAMR seems to see the integration of technology as an end unto itself. Its focus on the technology as the key driver within the process seems to privilege technology as paramount in teaching. And suggests that it would be possible to create previously "inconceivable" tasks with SAMR. Should this be "impractical" as opposed to "inconceivable"?

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