A soldier’s weapon in battle is only as powerful as the ability to use it. The same ideal can be held true with teachers and their ability to integrate technology as a resource for learning. As technology continues to evolve, it becomes a constant race between the older generation’s ability to keep up with technology and the younger generation’s ability to grow with it. This is a technological circle of life that teachers constantly have to adapt to. One model that may help teachers greater understand how technology can be best used for learning is the SAMR Model. This model breaks down the impact technological integration can have within a learning environment from an enhancement and transformational means of technological incorporation.
Technology as a means of enhancement can be integrated in two ways.
- Substitution-the act of using technology in an identical function to analogue methods. An example of this is if a student were to type out an essay instead of write it by hand.
- Augmentation- when technology works in an identical manner to previous methods, but offers some form of functional improvement. Students using Mathletics to take quizzes online as opposed to in class is an example of this. Students partake in the same function but have the greater benefit of having a scheduled day, topic and time frame set to create an efficient testing environment.
Adopting technology in an enhanced direction means teachers can use technology as a means of increasing productivity and efficiency, modernising everyday tasks to more streamlined resources.
Technology as a mean of transformation can be integrated in two ways.
- Modification- when technology is incorporated in a way that reimagines former methods. The IntoScience program shows modification in providing scientific curriculum topics as activity points. IntoScience breaks down scientific knowledge into topics such as Cells, Body Systems, The Food Chain and so on. Topics are then broken down into activities which address content descriptions for the Australian Curriculum: Science for Years 7 and 8. Modification allows technology to transform students’ approaches to addressing curriculum learning from traditional chapter-based textbook learning.
- Redefinition- technological redefinition of previous methods of learning. IntoScience demonstrates educational redefinition through its experiment engagement. Students can study moon phases with telescopic cameras or test the effects of friction within their own virtual crash test facilities. IntoScience redefines scientific learning by its ability to provide practical demonstration and virtual environments. Students’ depth of understanding is increased by their ability to interact with what they are learning.
Transformation of technology creates a method of learning that is student focused. The goal is to create a new means to reinforce learning that goes beyond comprehension. Programs like Mathletics and IntoScience set a transformative direction that allow students to learn by expanding knowledge and understanding of educational concepts, revolutionising the methods and means to which science and math is not only learned but taught.
Each step within the SAMR model holds educational benefit, but the level in which a teacher chooses to include technology can create differing levels of understanding. Educational programs are evolving in their abilities to become integrated as a learning resource by diversifying usability to each section within the SAMR Model. The diversity of usability can be seen in things like accessing Mathletics workbooks as a substitution method, to replacing class spelling bees with Live Spellodrome as an augmentation method, to incorporating curriculum supported learning that Mathletics and IntoScience provide as a modified method of learning and the overall redefinition programs like Mathletics, Spellodrome and IntoScience create in making learning an engaging self-developing experience. Teachers at differing stages of technological integration have the ability to use such resources within their technological understanding to advance students’ understanding.
The SAMR Model isn’t a means of shaming teachers to adapt, it is a tool for teachers to identify how they use technology, how they can greater involve technology within their teaching and what learning potential can be possible. The more teachers use technological advancements, the greater the quality in teaching and learning will become.