I heard of SAMR model a number of years ago. Sadly our tech team didn’t really do much more than to communicate the model.

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My assumption is that they simply didn’t have the tools, but more likely, I think that IT support doesn’t have the pedagogical pressure or the content knowledge to apply it. This last point is what I think drives the TPACK model better. That is, teachers have the content knowledge and the pedagogical pressure to drive the creativity to efficiently deliver programs but don’t necessarily have the Technology side of things. IT support teachers often have technology knowledge (hopefully! ;-), but don’t have the classroom content/pedagogical pressures to drive change.

One website that I found stated that SAMR was not a ladder. One should be trying to hit the Redefinition stage every time and that you don’t necessarily need to go through the other stages, but use it as an evaluative tool to determine one’s position on the spectrum of technology integration.

There is an interesting criticism of the SAMR model at EdSurge.

I hadn’t heard of TPACK before but I feel this resonates more with me. So many of the teachers I know are good teachers of their subject, (Sciences in my case) representing the Pedagogical – Content Knowledge (PCK), after a number of years. Finding the right tool that helps students learn a concept that is also pedagogically appropriate is not always easy. The market is there for a variety of technologies, but it’s only populated by a few specialized applications / websites / simulations, so teachers are forced to move around alot.

I’m am trying imagine an animation where the TK circle approaches the other two – at the beginning it may be that it only intersects with one of the circles but not both or not sufficiently to create the central space. I think that this is a pretty tall order and will often be a very specific website, app or program.

As a Science teacher, two of my favourite websites are Khan Acadamy and PhET.

Khan Acadamy is a great learning tool because the video explanations and the practice questions are specific, detailed and thorough. However, evaluating it based on SAMR and TPACK models, I actually rate it fairly low.
In terms of SAMR it definitely satsifies the “Substitution” as students can use it instead of a live teacher. It also satifies “Augmentation” as it has a functionalitiy (various drills/ practice questions), but seems to not be as useful for Modification; there are a few interactive components, but they do not significantly redesign tasks. Given the sequential nature of SAMR this is where PhET stops.

Khan Acadamy is pretty good in terms of the TPACK model because it is specific enough to use with certain content and hits all three circles.

With regards to PhET, it can be good at helping teachers achieve a high degree of synergy with regards to TPACK, and it also allows sufficient creativity to help teachers move the learning experience to the Modification and in some instances the Redefinition stages, but this is dependent upon the module.

I notice that I am now evaluating the ability of websites and applications to support the higher levels of SAMR or greater overlap of TPACK. The assumption can never be that the websites / apps alone can replace the educational framework that a teacher builds in a classroom.

In conclusion, I feel that I identify with TPACK more strongly but feel that it is integrated within the SAMR model. In order to achieve a higher level in SAMR, there needs to be suitable technology integration already.


How can one facilitate technology integration when the tech people don’t feel pedagogical pressures and teachers don’t know what tools are out there given that tools’ development happens quickly. Is there a clearing house for these integration tools?

2 thoughts on “SAMR & TPACK

  1. Hi Cam, Thank you for the tip about aggregating the blogs! I have downloaded the aggregator but for some reason it isn’t saving the blogs the way I want so I am still working on it, which in turn is helping me grow new synapses as I work this problem out.
    I agree with you wholeheartedly that effective TPACK will occur where there is integration between the classroom teacher and the IT team as they each bring pieces of the framework to the table. Asking classroom teachers to implement TPACK, or even the higher levels of SAMR, on their own can be unrealistic, especially if a teacher isn’t actively pursuing ways to better integrate technology into the classroom. Thank you for sharing the article about SAMR not being a ladder. The author must be much more comfortable and creative with technology than I am because I see it as a very useful scaffold and ladder. I see the modification and, especially, redefinition as goals to achieve once I am comfortable that I have successfully managed to substitute and augment the learning in my classroom. The author writes that he is a big fan of TPACK which then implies that he prefers it over SAMR. The readings, the article you shared and these blog posts have helped me look at both models through different lenses – how and when one model might work better than another one. I look forward to continued conversations.

  2. Hey Cam, good link overall and break down of each model. Before I go into your question, I would first like to give a different perspective to yours on the interaction of the two models. You state that “I feel that I identify with TPACK more strongly but feel that it is integrated within the SAMR model.” When I looked at the two models, I saw it as the SAMR model being integrated into the TPACK model. With the SAMR model being used in the technology knowledge component of the TPACK model. I do agree that many of us don’t have the technological knowledge needed to effectively implement technology into our lessons.

    So, to answer your question, I’m not sure if there is a clearing house for these technological integration tools, however, for me personally, I have come to rely on other professionals. As a Physical Education teacher, I use a website called “ConnectedPE”. On this site PE teachers from all over the world provide workshops and professional development in various areas. A few teachers regularly give workshops on the use of technology within the PE class. I think websites like these are amazing as I get to connect with people from all over the world that have a better understanding of technology or different ideas of how to use technology than I might. Therefore, I think if teachers came together to create a site like this for the use of technology in various subjects it would better help educators to use both models in their classrooms.

    I hope to find a site like this myself and look forward to others answering this question.

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