Implementing an EdTech Learning Model

Too often learning models pontificate at the theoretical level leaving practitioners to ferret out the “How To”. SAMR is a good example. Conceptionally, the model makes sense with the goal being


to advance from substituting a newer technology for an older technology to using technology to create a new, previously inconceivable technology. Putting the process into practice is less sensical. As in any planning process, the first step is to define where one is, assuming a continuum along the path within each unit. While the model depicts four graduations, there are, in practice, infinite graduation possibilities making settling on a “Where I Am” a bit difficult. The next step would be to define where one would like to be–discovering the gap. Questions begin to arise. What if I am not convinced that “infusing” any amount of technology into my lessons is the better approach to learning? What if I’m perfectly satisfied with where I am? Wait, technology is ubiquitous and is the future I’m told. Am I obliged to teach subject matter and technology? Or just to teach subject matter while using technology and assigning tasks that require students to self-learn and use technology in task performance? Should I leap directly to the Redefinition level? I would have to come up with technologies that were “previously inconceivable”. What that hell does that mean? Enough.

The Internet is rife with SAMR specific examples. Google it. Most are well-intended, however, just plain make-work, even silly. Here are few examples of the Redefinition level from a recent blog ( at the “Emerging Education Technologies” blog. Also, see

A Handwritten Paper: Redefinition: Instead of a written assignment, students convey analytic thought using multimedia tools.

Geography and Travel: Redefinition: Explore the locale with Google Earth; seek out and include interviews with people who have visited the local.

Understanding Shakespeare: Redefinition: Answer the Question, “What did the culture of the time have on the writing of Shakespeare’s plays” by using a Concept Mapping tool and constructing a mind map demonstrating key elements through words and images.

An Assessment Exercise: Redefinition: “A classroom is asked to create a documentary video answering an essential question related to important concepts. Teams of students take on different subtopics and collaborate to create one final product.  Teams are expected to contact outside sources for information.”

Art/Painting: Redefinition: Create Artwork Collaboratively using a Collaborative Online Whiteboard (like Twiddla or one of these other tools).

Email Etiquette: Redefinition: Students watch the guidelines video, then assess examples of Email Etiquette ‘violations’ and indicate which guidelines should be applied to correct/improve on the examples.

Learning Fractions: Redefinition: Use a Fractions App instead (here’s a handful of examples for iOS devices).

Phys Ed, Learning to Hit a Baseball Well: Redefinition: Students watch video examples and practice the techniques, then the coach/teacher videos them hitting balls and provides feedback about their technique.