Technology should be deliberately used in the classroom. You can evaluate if you are effectively using technology to impact teaching and learning by using the SAMR model. The letters represent: Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition.
Substitution: Technology is sometimes used just as a substitution for something that we already have - reading or listening to a story on a computer or an i-Pad instead of reading a book or listening to a story from a listening center. This is a good starting point for technology, but doesn’t go far enough.
Augmentation: Technology can make a report or project a little better. If you type up a report on a computer and then use spell check, you are using technology to augment your work. Again, a nice feature, but not enough to justify great expense.
Modification: At this level technology begins to transform the educational process. Students still use traditional skills such as writing, but they complete assignments with technology. In kindergarten, a student may write about a subject, then record the story or sentences on an i-Pad. The accompanying illustrations can be photos of the student’s drawings, clip art, or other digital images. The report or story can be shared with classmates or parents.
Redefinition: A step up from modification, redefinition also transforms learning. At this level, technology allows for the creation of tasks that once would have been impossible and even inconceivable. Students can collaborate on a project; it can include student writing and pictures put together as a slide show with background music, video, and student recordings. The possibilities are endless, especially as students gain experience through the years.
John Dewey said, “If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.” Technology is a part of the future for our students; take advantage of it to transform learning in your classroom.