I have many "Aha" moments in the shower crying out for documentation.  I will also use this blog to document my new startup, "Going One to One", an online course for schools who need help doing three big shifts at once: purchasing computers for each student, promoting student-centered learning, and adopting Google Apps for Education.

- Bram Moreinis

Reconceptualizing SAMR

 I am developing a course for which I will create Adobe Captivate eLearning modules that translate content-area lessons into activities for 1:1 classrooms using Google Apps for Education.  I will take traditional lessons and move them along the SAMR ladder, generating four new lessons. (SAMR is a framework for gauging technology integration developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura).  My intention is to label each of the four lessons with its SAMR stage. 

In the shower this morning, I asked myself, "How can I conceptualize SAMR so that teachers understand it well enough to navigate the choices I will be offering?"  I came up with the diagram below. 

I am not the first person to apply Puentedura's abstract model to more concrete contexts.  At ISTE, Jen Roberts shared her verson, TECH (Traditional, Enhanced, Choice, Handoff) summarized here.  I think her model subconsciously generated the train of thought that hit me in the shower.  But her model is only about pedagogy.  I needed something that would braid technology and pedagogy, since that is the premise of my course (and what I think "going 1:1" requires). 

Redefinition of SAMR

Giving every student a computer requires a move to student-centered learning -- not every time in every way, but as a general classroom cultural change.  Traditional teachers adopting 1:1 classrooms have difficulty applying new technology to create lessons, materials, and workflows because there are two transformations going on simultaneously:

  • adopting new technologies (like Google Apps for Education, in the case of my training),
  • adoptiong a new pedagogy (student-centered learning).  

If I link these two journeys together too tightly (presenting only models that exemplify both, for example),  I may lose my audience. Going too technologically deep too fast will lose a teacher who might be ready for student-centered learning; going too student-centered too fast will make the technology application difficult to understand and impossible to apply.  

So for any given tutorial, I need to provide a range of choices, and I intend to use the SAMR framework for those. However, SAMR doesn't mean much to people who are not technology integration specialists. 

It occurs to me in this re-write of this post many hours later that SAMR is a meta-model.  It is too abstract to make sense to non-abstract thinkers, and creating examples to convey it is hard work.  What I generated here is an application of the SAMR meta-model to a particular context: a school moving towards student-centered learning, using Google Apps for Education (which is designed to facilitate the social construction of knowledge and artifacts). 

So, the Y axis is arbitrary (there may be other pedagogic moves, and not all teaching and learning needs to be Student Centered / Constructivist), and the X axis is arbitrary (there are many affordances of technology not included in this progression).  

The value of this for other technology integration trainers, I propose, is twofold: 

  1. Acknolwedging SAMR as a meta-model implies the need to build our own versions based on local conditions (which Jen Roberts did)
  2. Acknolwledging SAMR as representation of technology transforming learning tasks, we can use coordinate axes to separate out technology and pedagogy, making it easier to generate examples and communicate the differences between them. 

I am creating my first example to flesh this out here: http://myinstructionaldesigns.com/samr-set based on an oldie-but-goodie clip from Discovery Video and a custom Excel spreadsheet. Use the tabs to navigate across.