Change is never comfortable, but, as we all know, it is necessary. The SAMR model is flexible and easy to use at all levels of education. To read about ‘Substitution’ and ‘Augmentation,’ please check out SAMR Says, Part I, where we discussed these stages of ‘Enhancement’ and some simple and fast tools you can find to help you move from paper to online without much stress or extra work. Using technology tools that enhance your class, as per the SAMR model, means that you are enhancing yourself, the material, and the students’ experience too.
In this blog, we will be discussing the stages of ‘Transformation’ and how to modify and redefine your approach to allow for more technology in your class.
Now we are moving from enhancement to transformation, which creates an actual change to the design of the lesson and the learning outcomes. In this step, we use technology to help us redesign tasks, which will lead to the transformation of how the task is delivered and completed.
One might consider the shift from face-to-face learning to online learning a modification. There have certainly been significant task redesigns over the past year, and I’m sure you have converted and restructured many of your previous assignments and class activities to now suit an online environment.
In the Modification process, we need to consider how the technology will alter the task we want students to complete. For example, group work assignments may need to be significantly redesigned now that students are not sitting together in the classroom. Time may be allotted in class where students work together in breakout rooms, but even this task is substantially different than before, as only one student can share their screen at a time, and it takes longer to complete the task. If your course is asynchronous now, you have faced an even greater redesign of group work, where now you might divide students into working groups for the entire term so that they can work together and share files asynchronously. If students will need to meet to complete the group work, many instructors set up separate web conferencing rooms for them now, rather than students needing to book the library study rooms on their own time. All of these changes are part of modification and learning how to use the technologies available to us so that our students’ acquisition of knowledge isn’t interrupted by the online environment.
Redefinition is the final way to view your course design and consider how it will affect the student experience. In this step, you should consider whether or not the tools help you to redefine a traditional task in a way that would not be possible without the technology, and by doing so, create a unique experience (H.L., 2017).
There are countless ways that technology has allowed us to create learning opportunities that were previously inconceivable. Some of these include inviting guest speakers to your class who live in other countries or time zones, taking virtual tours of museums, and walking along the streets of anywhere in the world from the comfort of your home. In addition to these opportunities, technology, and specifically the internet, has made working easier as we now have access anywhere, anytime, and our classrooms can be even more diverse as learners from around the globe can join us without paying for the plane ticket.
Upon reflection, you will likely find at least one task you are doing in your classes now that would not have been possible without the technologies you are using today.
It is important to recognize that change is normal and the shift to online teaching and learning does not have to destroy good education. It might even be said that this new shift could actually enhance our experiences and that of our learners as well.
As you face a new term and new challenges, keep SAMR in mind and remember that the technology is there to enhance what you already do and transform the learner experience. Just like the model has steps, so too is it a process to become accustomed to a new work environment. Be patient with yourself and whatever your opinion might be about teaching and learning online.
In closing, I encourage you to consider this quote as we enter the Fall and Winter terms, “Don’t be afraid to start over; this time you’re not starting from scratch, you’re starting from experience”.
H.L. (2017). SAMR Model: A Practical Guide for EdTech Integration. [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.schoology.com/blog/samr-model-practical-guide-edtech-integration