Unpacking the SAMR Model – Redefinition

CLASSROM DIGITAL PEDAGOGY

Unpacking the SAMR Model: Redefinition

Introduction

As this is the final article in our SAMR Model series, this entry will look at the ways in which we can redefine the learning that is occurring in our classrooms with digital technology solutions.

Redefinition, the action or process of defining something again or differently, can easily be achieved in the learning landscape by the embedding of digital technology into the students learning experience. Once again take my new favourite SAMR infographic which has been a staple addition to all these articles. With the intention of exploring the different sides of a lake, we can clearly explore the depth of learning (pun intended) through the ways in which we design and present the task to the students. If the overall intention of the lesson is to have students identify the differences between two sides of a lake, we can start “improving the learning experience” through incorporating digital tools to instead of just looking at the other side of the lake, actually getting the student from across the lake through a variety of different means. We can substitute a digital solution for a traditional learning approach which is the row-boat option, moving the student from one side to the other across the surface of the water. If we take the digital solution and look at ways in which we can extend and augment the learning outcomes, then we are swimming across the water while using a snorkel to see what lies below the surface. Further development and design of our learning tasks with digital solutions can allow us to extend the level at which we explore the underwater environment. Modification, as we have discussed in our last article, allows the teacher to extend the learning outcomes for the task, while still traveling from one side of the lake to the other but extending a student’s understanding and dept of knowledge through exploring the underwater environment through scuba diving.

The final stage, Redefinition is the most advanced implementation of digital technology outlined in the SAMR model, as it not only addresses the key elements outlined in the original learning task, but it also takes the enhancements of the other stages and expands upon them, allowing students to not only travel across the lake to explore the other side but use a submarine to extensively explore the world that lies beneath the surface of the lake while the journey from one side to the other. This article is going to unpack this final stage to help you gain a stronger understanding of what this may look like in the classroom.

Before we launch into unpacking this final stage of the SAMR model, it is worth noting that for redefinition to be a successful element of a teacher’s pedagogical practice, it is important to acknowledge that to successfully adopt redefinition in their classroom, teachers need to open themselves up to the concept of completely rethinking concepts that may be “tried and true” which can make us feel a little vulnerable, especially when the ‘existing’ approaches have worked in the past. While this can be true, shifting our thinking to a continual improvement model can ensure that we not only create new and exciting learning experiences for our students, but we also create a new world of learning approaches that can help us on our own continual professional improvement.

Like Modification, Redefinition requires that teachers change the design of their learning activities and learning outcomes in a manner that can only be achieved through student use of technology. An example would be the manner in which students took notes when working in your class. Traditionally the passive handwritten notes did suffice, however moving that into the digital realm and incorporating programs like Microsoft OneNote, Evernote, Google Docs, Apple Pages, or even Microsoft Word can allow students to share their documents with a teacher and their peers, for collaboration on a single document to occur and for real-time feedback to be given to improve the students’ progression. In addition to this, a student can take a video or photograph of something that happened in the class and embed that directly into their notes. They can also drop in hyperlinks to webpages and utilise tools like dictionaries, thesaurus, and other grammatical tools that can enhance their workflow. Without redefining “how” students take notes in your classroom, as well as the concept of “what notes look like” students would never be able to create a stronger and more effective reference system for their learning in the classroom.

Another example could be based around a lesson for grade 6 students on how native Australian animals adapt to their environments to survive. Where the original lesson may have been students reading articles or watching a video about Australian Animals, we could redefine the lesson to explore a student’s inquisitorial approach to research gathering by using video conferencing to connect students to a variety of zoologists from around Australia to discuss in real-time how the different Australian animals in their region adapt to their environments to survive. In addition to this, teachers could have the students take a virtual tour of the Melbourne Museum where they can visit the “Amazing animals in a changing world” exhibit and move through the animals at their own pace. Finally, using applications like Google Earth, the students can take the information gathered from their meetings with zoologists to explore the different habitats and see the types of vegetation in those areas. This example takes a simple research-based task and transforms it into a highly engaging and interactive experience that draws on so many elements of the students learning outside just passively learning information. The inclusion of digital technology in this learning approach has meant that students connect with true experts, engaging in a dialogue around the topic, allowing them to form a deeper understanding of what is being discussed. Coupled with the virtual learning tours and exploration, the learning task has been redesigned and redefined into a multi-layered educational experience.

Another example could be a year 9 maths class where students are exploring geometry, specifically parallel and perpendicular lines. Traditionally, the lesson was based on a textbook where students used formulas to work out relationships between angles formed by two lines. The teacher substitutes the lesson moving the student’s work onto Google While this activity teaches and applies the knowledge, it can be transformed into a real-life context where they apply their knowledge to solve real issues and geometrical problems. Using applications like GeoGebra and Explain Everything or Screen-Casting O-Matic, students can create their own problems with a video tour of real-world examples of parallel and perpendicular lines that can be shared or presented to the class. This lesson example shows how teachers can take what traditionally is a passive learning experience and turn it into an immersive and engaging activity that gets students looking for problems in real-world contexts and then applying their knowledge to produce solutions which are then shared with their peers for feedback. Such a learning experience not only increases student engagement but also agency and voice by giving them control over the direction their learning takes while incorporating a practical approach to the use and application of this knowledge.

Another example of redefinition in the classroom is a grade 5 history lesson on Ancient Egypt. The teacher has been working with students to explore the Pharaohs and especially the ways in which they were honored after their death. The lesson traditionally had students looking at images in a book of the various trinkets and articles that were placed in the tombs with the pharaohs. Using digital tools like Online Quizzes, Internet searches, YouTube Videos, and the like, the teacher was able to substitute, augment and modify the lesson to make it more engaging, however by completely redesigning the lesson the teacher can have the students link to different international museums to obtain 3D scans of some artifacts which they then print out using a 3D printer. Once they have printed it out, they can study its design, and using the features inscribed on the surface of the artifact, they can use it as a model to design their own artifacts and use that to explain a design approach and story behind their product. This redefined lesson has not only utilised key digital tools but has brought the world of Ancient Egypt directly into the classroom in a way that could never have been achieved before – a truly powerful deep learning event for the students.

In all the examples discussed in this and the previous 3 articles around unpacking and understanding the SAMR Model, the teachers have looked at ways in which the original lesson ideas can be redesigned or modified to create new and exciting learning opportunities for students in the classroom. Digital technology and its effective use in the classroom is truly a revolutionary element that has taken the lessons that we deliver to our students into new realms. While this is fantastic and can create some amazing lessons for our students, it is important that we think about what stage of the SAMR is appropriate for the lesson that we are delivering. Remember not all lessons need to be pitched at the redefinition stage. It is about choosing the level that best achieves the learning outcomes that you want the activity to meet. Yes, there may be some opportunities where you can stretch the learning out to include more areas than you initially designed but that is going to relate to the overall unit of work and your learning schedule. Remember that the SAMR model is not a ladder that you need to try and climb to reach the top, it’s a spectrum that you need to place your activity along to ensure the best learning outcome for the student.

We also need to take some time to acknowledge that there will be some teachers who read these articles and feel a little overwhelmed with their knowledge and skills around the use of technology in the classroom which may allow them to achieve some of these outcomes. If you feel like this is you, then it is important that you don’t just dismiss this idea and stick to what you know. Instead, ask your peers for assistance, or get in touch with the Education Specialist at Pro AV Solutions for some free coaching because expanding your pedagogy to include digital technology can not only open up the SAMR model to your classroom but can provide you with a new frontier of possibilities that can not only enhance the learning for your students but can also open your eyes to new approaches to ways in which you deliver that learning in your classroom.

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Augmentation in the Classroom examples

  • Creating video guides and instructional models to demonstrate the application of learning
  • Students create webpages to share their knowledge on a topic with the world
  • Students can collaborate with students from around the world on topics that allow them to now only share their knowledge but also work collaboratively to learn from students outside their direct classroom
  • Design and product physical products with 3D scanning and printing
  • Use software and vacuum forming to produce a prototype of a product they have designed and then reproduce the prototype and sell that product in a controlled environment

Questions that can drive your integration of the Modification into the learning in the classroom and can spark professional discussions with your colleagues

Q1

What is the learning outcome that you are trying to achieve from this task? Can you rethink and redesign this activity to allow students to explore areas of their learning that sparks inquiry and exploration?

Q2

What output do you expect to see from a student at the end of this learning task? Can redefine the task so that you extend their output by creating opportunities that explore their creativity with digital tools?

Q3

How can the redefinition of a lesson in your classroom change the way students engage with their learning?

Q4

What are some areas where the traditional method of teaching this lesson that could stretch and extend the students learning? By using a digital learning solution can you redesign the task to take the learning in a brand-new direction that extends the learning experience.

Q5

How can I change my thinking around my approach to lessons? Am I able to redesign my lessons so that I can create learning activities that don’t just focus on one learning outcome? How can I use redefinition to my students’ benefit?

Unpacking the SAMR Model – Modification

CLASSROM DIGITAL PEDAGOGY

Unpacking the SAMR Model: Modification

Introduction

In the first two articles in this series we discussed an overview of the SAMR Model and then started to unpack it by taking a deeper look at the first two stages – Substitution and Augmentation. In this article, we are going to continue our journey of understanding the SAMR model by looking at the third stage – Modification,

To maintain continuity in the ways in which we are presenting these articles, if you look up “modify” in the dictionary you will find that it is a transitive verb that means to “make basic or fundamental changes to give a new orientation or serve to a new end” moving into the realm of design change of the learning task, creating a situation which changes the learning intentions for the lesson and the learning outcomes for the students. Taking an existing learning task or activity, one that may or may not have already been Substituted or Augmented through the application of the first 2 stages of the SAMR model, and redesigning its application in the classroom, using technology at its core, the modification stage of the SAMR model looks to create an opportunity for students to deepen their learning and understanding that was previously unavailable through traditional (non-technology) based activities.

Another example could be the use of Online Quizzes in place of the traditional pen and paper style paper. A grade 5 teacher has just finished a unit of work on different capital cities around the world. Traditionally at the end of the unit of work, the students would complete a short quiz to assess what they have learned during the geography unit. By using a digital tool like a Google Form, the teacher has created not only a digital substitution but has created a situation where the students’ engagement has been enhanced with the use of spell check, language and grammar checkers as well as access to a thesaurus. This augmentation has meant that the students can focus on sharing their knowledge without worrying about the spelling of different cities’ names. This augmentation can also assist in ensuring that students can get their ideas across, those that are being assessed, without having the stress of focusing on elements that are not necessarily the main focus of the unit assessment task. The augmentation of this task does not just stop here, it has improved the ways in which the teachers interact with the responses. At the end of the assessment, when students press the submit button, and if it has been set up correctly, the assessments can be corrected and students can receive instant feedback on how they went. In addition to this, the data is uploaded and analysed by the Google platform, providing teachers with infographics outlining the strengths and weaknesses in the student’s responses which can be used to inform the direction for future lessons. The data can also be exported into a spreadsheet for further analysis and reporting.

A fun way to continue to develop our understanding of the SAMR Model and how it sits in the overall spectrum of lesson development and improvement is this model presented by Kathy Schrock’s Kaffeeklatsch blog. Thinking of the SAMR Model as a coffee menu and thinking of the original form being a glass of water, substitution adds coffee beans to the mix to create a cup of coffee and augmenting this flavour by adding warm milk gives us a cafe latte. By adding vanilla favoured syrup to the steamed milk to a shot of espresso, and finishing it off with a drizzle of caramel we now have a new entity, the caramel macchiato – and while this is still theoretically linked to the original cup of water, we have a brand new direction and flavour that would not have been possible without firstly adding the coffee beans to create that original cup of coffee.

In our first two articles we discussed a drama teacher who has their class writing a performance journal, traditionally using a pen and paper solution by writing in their class workbooks, substituted with a word document that was emailed to the teacher for assessment and then augmented to a blog where the student could receive feedback on their writing from peers in the class. If we were going to continue workshopping this idea, if the teacher wanted to move this learning activity into the Modification stage, they could look at the learning outcomes that they were trying to achieve from the activity and redesign it into a collaborative joint performance journal. This could be moving a review into a Google Doc or a SMART Learning Suite Workspace activity where the students work simultaneously on the same document, sharing their ideas and creating a collaborative workspace that collates the student groups’ collective thoughts and learning. Alternatively, the teacher could create a digital “newspaper” style assessment where students uploaded their journal entries as either articles, podcasts, or short video review to a collaborative paper which was then published to the school community. This redesign of the learning task allows the students to explore their creativity in the ways in which they present their journal entries while creating situations where they can publish and share their work with their peers while also working collaboratively in either small or whole class groups. By adopting technology in this instance, the learning task has moved from a handwritten “dear diary” style journal entry to a highly creative, collaborative, interactive, and engaging learning activity which not only demonstrates the modification stage of the SAMR model but also explores ways in which students can start to take control of the ways in which they “experience” and demonstrate their learning.

By modifying a task using technology, you are allowing students the opportunity to “generate inspired and innovative work that isn’t confined to paper” which can create a highly engaging learning experience that has students pushing the boundaries of their learning and losing themselves in their learning. Modification can also expose the student’s creativity, allowing them to use their learning to express themselves through the ways in which they display their knowledge. An example is an English teacher who wants to teach persuasive writing composition. Where traditionally a teacher may have explored this topic as a written essay style activity, by adopting technology and the modification stage students can do a podcast where they share their opinions about a variety of topics, which could then be shared in a local school community for feedback. Another student could create a television new report style submission where they state their ideas or opinions on a topic and then find others that support and contrast their ideas to present a balanced new report this could be then presented to the class for collaborative discussion and analysis. In both examples, without technology, these were just essays or at best a newspaper article but by introducing technology and modifying the ways in which the students could demonstrate their understanding of persuasive writing composition the task has not only encompassed the students’ creativity and has opened up learning engagement to a whole new level, it has also started to incorporate student voice into the learning process, giving them control over the way in which they show what they have learned.

Let’s take the online quizzes that we spoke about in our last article where a grade 5 teacher just finished a unit of work on different capital cities around the world. Traditionally the assessment would be a short paper-based quiz, substituted to a Google Form allowed augmentation through access to spell check, thesaurus, and other text-based digital tools, however of the teacher redesigned the assessment by incorporating gamification elements, and created a game show activity like the SMART Learning Suite Team Quiz or a Kahootz! then this once the stock standard quiz has been redesigned into a highly interactive and engaging activity that embraces the fun in the classroom while also providing students with instant feedback and opportunities to incorporate metacognitive strategies into the way in which they interact with the game and answer the questions – a situation that was not conceivable before incorporating technology into the equation.
Another example could be for a Year 11 Visual Communications lesson where students are required to design and develop a new design for a low-income housing project to support refugees. Traditionally this may have been completed as a drawing on a piece of graph paper, however by introducing technology into the equation students are able to create 3-dimensional models of their building designs that can be run through digital simulations to see if they are able to withstand various different weather situations. This modification allows students to expand on the initial lesson idea, and not just look at the overall look of the building but also start to explore its functionality which reflects more of a real-world situation for architects.

In all these examples, the teachers have looked at ways in which the original lesson ideas can be redesigned or modified to create new and exciting learning opportunities for students in the classroom and as displayed by my favorite infographic about the SAMR Model, the use of technology has allowed us to drastically redesign the way in which the student travels across the lake, encompassing not only the movement from one side to the other but incorporating the ability to explore the sea life at new depths through our ability to “scuba dive”. 

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Augmentation in the Classroom examples

  • Collecting student data, and then analysing that with graphs and automated formulas through digital forms instead of traditional written surveys
  • Students recording audio of their text instead of just writing it on a piece of paper
  • Uploading learning resources as a PDF for student access, as opposed to photocopying
  • Using a SMART Board with the associated SMART Learning Suite to delivery a class instead of writing on a traditional whiteboard.
  • Creation of a slide show instead of a poster with embedded videos, audio files and hyperlinks

Questions that can drive your integration of the Substation into the learning in the classroom and can spark professional discussions with your colleagues.

Q1

What is the learning outcome that you are trying to achieve from this task? Can we substitute the task with a digital tool that can augment the students learning experience?

Q2

What output do you expect to see from a student at the end of this learning task? Can the students exceed this output expectation with a different digital solution?

Q3

What positive learning outcome extensions can come from creating a digital learning solution for your lesson?

Q4

What are some areas where the traditional method of teaching this lesson lacks in efficiency and economy? Can this be solved with a digital solution and how do they stretch the learning in new directions?

Q5

How can I change my thinking when I’m designing my lessons so that I can create lessons and learning activities that don’t just focus on one learning outcome? How can I use augmentation to my students benefit?

Unpacking the SAMR Model – Augmentation

CLASSROM DIGITAL PEDAGOGY

Unpacking the SAMR Model: Augmentation

Introduction

In the first article in this series, we discussed an overview of the SAMR Model and then started to unpack it by taking a deeper look at the first stage – Substitution. In this article, we are going to continue our journey of understanding the SAMR model by looking at the second stage – Augmentation.
If you look up “augment” in the dictionary you will find that it means “to make greater, more numerous, larger or more intense” and as this is the second stage of the SAMR model, we can deduce that Augmentation is taking a substitution task and improving its functionality, with a greater impact than it has on the learning outcomes of the students in the classroom. Taking a variety of examples, some of the same that we spoke about in the previous article, we can explore how teachers can introduce digital technology solutions that not only substitute the learning activity but also augment it.

In our first article, we discussed a drama teacher who has their class writing a performance journal. Traditionally they used a pen and paper solution by writing in their class workbooks, but the teacher substituted that with a word document that was emailed to the teacher for assessment. This was a perfect example of substitution in the classroom, however, if the teacher wanted to Augment the learning activity, instead of having the students write their practice journal on a word document, they had them create a blog where they would post their entries each week. While this seems like a substitute for the word document, the augmentation comes from the fact that there can be peer review and feedback given on each blog post through comments. Moving the journal into the blog space allows for the teacher to open the activity up to peer learning, an augmentation of the original learning task which only allowed for a student-teacher-student conversation flow. This augmentation allows students to gain access to a wider amount of feedback that can help them to develop a greater understanding of what they are working on and how they are reporting that in their blog.

Another example could be the use of Online Quizzes in place of the traditional pen and paper style paper. A grade 5 teacher has just finished a unit of work on different capital cities around the world. Traditionally at the end of the unit of work, the students would complete a short quiz to assess what they have learned during the geography unit. By using a digital tool like a Google Form, the teacher has created not only a digital substitution but has created a situation where the students’ engagement has been enhanced with the use of spell check, language and grammar checkers as well as access to a thesaurus. This augmentation has meant that the students can focus on sharing their knowledge without worrying about the spelling of different cities’ names. This augmentation can also assist in ensuring that students can get their ideas across, those that are being assessed, without having the stress of focusing on elements that are not necessarily the main focus of the unit assessment task. The augmentation of this task does not just stop here, it has improved the ways in which the teachers interact with the responses. At the end of the assessment, when students press the submit button, and if it has been set up correctly, the assessments can be corrected and students can receive instant feedback on how they went. In addition to this, the data is uploaded and analysed by the Google platform, providing teachers with infographics outlining the strengths and weaknesses in the student’s responses which can be used to inform the direction for future lessons. The data can also be exported into a spreadsheet for further analysis and reporting.

In our previous article, we also discussed a grade 3 teacher who has completed a unit of work on the Gold Rush. Traditionally the students would create a poster outlining the key points they learned during the unit but the teacher substituted this with a digital flyer. To augment this learning task, students could create hyperlinks on their flyers that could direct the viewer towards different videos or audio files that support the information they are trying to share. The interactivity of adding hyperlinks has turned what was originally a passive assessment experience into a highly engaging and interactive assessment event.

Another example of how augmentation can be applied to student learning activities is through narrative and fictional writing and composition. A year 8 student in their English class is exploring narrative composition with a focus on emotive language. The teacher had traditionally the students write their story on a piece of paper that was submitted to the teacher for assessment. It would have red pen marks written on it and then returned to the student for future improvement. The teacher however decided to substitute the task for an audio recording and had the student submit their story in an audiobook style submission. At the fundamental elements, this is a substitution, but if the teacher asked the students to place inference on the way in which they read the story, using inflections in their voice to demonstrate their understanding of the emotional language being used, the task has been augmented. In addition to this, students could add an audio backing track or sound effects to enhance the emotional connection being portrayed in the language of the story. In all of these instances, the activity has been transformed from just a passive submission of a student’s understanding of the ideas being taught to one that demonstrates the students’ levels on a wide variety of levels.

In all of these examples, the teachers have substituted the traditional learning activities and have added functional improvement that has either allowed the students to demonstrate deeper learning of the content or has allowed them to factor in different elements that were not covered in either the traditional or substituted method. If we look back at the SAMR model infographic shown in figure 1 below, if we want the students to get from one side of the lake to the other, then substitution (the rowboat) options are more than adequate. However if by creating a digital substitution there is the option for us to enhance the learning outcome by augmenting it (Snorkelling their way across the lake, looking what is under the water while they are swimming) and this links directly to the learning outcomes that we want to achieve in our lesson, then why don’t we take it? Either way, by using digital technologies as a substitution or augmentation for the learning, students are able to experience a wider breadth of learning outcomes faster and more economically when compared to their traditional method counterparts.

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Augmentation in the Classroom examples

  • Creating digital flyers and brochures that include multimedia as well as student created videos for a geography assessment task.
  • Students create multimedia presentations including audio, video, images, and interactivity for a business management proposal of facility improvements to the school.
  • Students can use screencasting software to annotate and narrate their work to demonstrate their learning as well as creating instructional videos for their peers.

Questions that can drive your integration of the Modification into the learning in the classroom and can spark professional discussions with your colleagues.

Q1

What is the learning outcome that you are trying to achieve from this task? Can it be achieved AND extended through modification with a digital tool? Will this create a more engaging & powerful experience?

Q2

What output do you expect to see from a student at the end of this learning task? Can the students exceed this output expectation through redesigning and modifying this task with a different digital solution?

Q3

How can a redesign and modification of your original learning task to include strong digital learning solutions create positive learning outcome extensions for your lesson?

Q4

What are some areas where the traditional method of teaching this lesson that could stretch and extend the students learning? By using a digital learning solution can you redesign the task to take the learning in a brand-new direction that extends the learning experience.

Q5

How can I change my thinking around lessons that I have run in the past? Am I able to redesign my lessons so that I can create learning activities that don’t just focus on one learning outcome? How can I use modification to my students’ benefit?