Wednesday, May 18

Using the SAMR Model for Student Success

The push to integrate technology into curriculum has been a goal in our district for many years and educators have been creatively integrating the use of iPads, laptops, Apple TVs, Clickers as well as numerous other devices and tools as they guide students through a variety of lessons using some sort of new technology. Even the "much-feared smartphones" are working their way into our lesson plans! Google Drive and Google Classroom are rapidly gaining popularity with educators and students alike. The growing acceptance of the use of social media in education provides even more opportunity for students to use technology to engage in real-world, authentic learning. This is all great news! In an effort to continue to make strides with technology integration, our district's latest technology plan (for 2016 - 2021, still in draft status) emphasizes that in order to maximize student success, technology integration should not be about the technology, but rather, how that technology is used.  This is precisely where the SAMR Model fits in. 

SAMR modelThe popular SAMR Model, developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura in 2012, was designed as a guide to enable teachers to design and implement learning activities that incorporate technology in such a way that it transforms our students' learning experiences to higher levels of  engagement and success. 

The 4 Levels of the SAMR Model:

The first two levels, Substitution and Augmentation, simply enhance a task (possibly making it more efficient) but most likely do not have a significant impact on student engagement and success. 

Levels 3 and 4, Modification and Redefinition, can transform a task, maximize student engagement and have a significant impact on student success.   Typically these tasks are seen in student-centered learning environments that foster critical thinking, complex problem solving, collaboration, and multimedia communication.

  1. Substitution: At this level, technology acts as a direct substitute to the traditional task with no functional change in learning or teaching. For example, using a word processor instead of pen and paper to write an essay.
  2. Augmentation: At this level, technology acts as a direct substitute to the traditional task, but there is some functional change in learning or teaching. For example, using Google Docs (adding comments, sharing documents, using add-ons) instead of pen and paper to write an essay.
  3. Modification: At this level, technology allows for some significant redesign of the task. The outcome is the same, but has somehow been enhanced. For example, students can publish their essays on blogs and may include videos (from sources such as YouTube) and links to supplement their writing. They are writing for a global audience and may interact (via comments) with that audience.
  4. Redefinition: At this level, technology makes new tasks possible that were previously inconceivable without the use of the technology. The technology is a means to support learning of 21st century skills while addressing content objectives. For example, students can publish their essay on a blog and include videos and other digital media (that they have created themselves) as a means to supplement their writing. They are writing for a global audience and may interact (via comments) with that audience. 

The following video, created by students, provides an overview of the SAMR model. This is a great example of a learning activity that supports the acquisition of 21st century skills!


Do you have examples of lessons where you have integrated technology? Where do these lessons fall within the SAMR Model?

I referenced the following resources in preparation for writing this blog post. I highly recommend that you take a look at a few of them if you'd like additional information on the SAMR model.

Levels of Implementation: SAMR 
Example of SAMR Model Applied to Curation

Example of SAMR Model Applied to Online discussion
Kathy Schrock's Guide to Everything
Special Education iPad Guide
A Guide to Bringing the SAMR Model to iPads (using coffee no less!)
Using SAMR to Teach Above the Line

Friday, April 8

Smore: Spread the Word

If you’re looking for an easy, creative and fun way for your students to present their research, you may want to consider having them create a webpage/flyer using Smore. According to the Smore website, “Smore makes it easy to design beautiful and effective online flyers and newsletters.”

I tried this product out with my students and I was very pleased with the results. My students remained very engaged while using Smore to present their research. One of my students had this to say, “It's a great website to use- lots of options, easy to figure out and the final product is very aesthetically pleasing!”

Below are the instructions that I gave to my students for their assignment (created using Smore) and a few samples of their work:   
The following are a few additional examples of flyers that were created using Smore:
For instructions on how to create a Smore webpage/flyer,

Smore can also be used for classroom newsletters, book reports, advertising fundraisers and other school events. How will you use Smore in your classroom?

Monday, April 4

Starring Google Star

Did you know that tagging a Google Doc (or folder) with a star can help you find your often-used documents very quickly? If you’re interested in saving time (and reducing frustration), please view the following video:

Monday, March 28

Google templates: Another reason to love Google!

Did you know that Google offers numerous, ready-to-use templates that you can use in Google Docs at, Google Sheets at, Google Slides at and, Google Forms ready-to-use templates at

Wednesday, March 9

Are You Drowning in Email?

Do you ever get that dreaded feeling that you're drowning in email? I don't proclaim to be the most organized when it comes to my (Gmail) email but I do have a few tips that I'd like to pass along to help you become more efficient when it comes to managing your email. Today's tip will show you how to "set your settings" so that your inbox email will be separated by your unread and read email.  Additional tips on email organization will be coming soon!