SAMR Model for Transformation, Technology, and Education

SAMR-newFigure 1: SAMR Model (Puentedura, 2006)

According to the 2012 Horizon Report for Higher Education (pg. 6), “digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every discipline and profession” and educators have started “to realize that that they are limiting their students by not helping them to develop and use digital media literacy skills across the curriculum”. Similarly, there is an increasing number of educators who believe that the use of technology and web-based tools encourages critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration and communication, global awareness and information literacy, the so-called “21st century skills” (Buchem and Hamelmann, 2011, p. 4; Rotherham and Willingham, 2010, p. 17) required in current learning/work environments (Dohn, 2009; Dowling, 2011). These beliefs and realizations have resulted in the widespread use of technology in the classroom, ranging from simple uses such as online versions of textbooks to more complex uses such as online collaboration, sharing and publication. All these uses have the potential to enhance learning, but only some have the potential to truly bring about the transformation in learning necessary to prepare students for the challenges of the 21st century workplace.

To help educators visualize how technology can transform the traditional learning environment, Puntedura (2006) has developed the SAMR model (see figure 1 above). In this model, there are four levels of technological use in a process, ranging from substitution at the lowest level to redefinition at the highest. According to Puentedura’s model, when technology is used to modify or redefine a task used in a process, the result is transformation, be it in a business or educational setting. In the example below, the redefined task, integration with workgroup and content management software, will transform the original process into a more efficient one. However, to achieve this, an investment in resources – time, money and human – will be needed. Puentedura (2012) argues that after new technology is introduced in an educational environment, it can up to three years for faculty to successfully use the technology to modify and redefine learning tasks to the extent that the educational process is truly transformed.

This semester at the Higher Colleges of Technology, iPads have been introduced into the foundations’ programme. Currently, they are being used mainly at the substitution/augmentation stages of the learning/teaching proces, but they are starting to be used for modifying and redefining tasks. An example is the use of iMovies by students to build content which can then be shared with their peers. I’m in the process of writing a paper with a colleague in regard to this, so more details to follow.


Buchem, I., and Hamelmann, H. (2011). Developing 21st century skills: Web 2.0 in higher education – a case study. eLearning Papers 24, April 2011, pp. 1-4. Retrieved May 10, 2011, from

Dohn, N.B. (2009). Web 2.0-mediated competence: Implicit educational demands on learners. Electronic Journal of e-Learning 7, 2, pp. 111-118. Retrieved from

Dowling, S. (2011). Web-based learning – Moving from learning islands to learning environments. TESL-EJ, 15-2, September 2011. Retrieved from

Johnson, L., Adams, S., and Cummins, M. (2012). The NMC Horizon Report: 2012 Higher Education Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium. Retrieved from

Puentedura, R. (2006). Transformatiom, Technology, and Education. Presentation given August 18, 2006 as part of the Strengthening Your District Through Technology workshops, Maine, US. Retrieved from

Puentedura, R. (2011): Thinking About Change in Learning and Technology. Presentation given September 25, 2012 at the 1st Global Mobile Learning Conference, Al Ain, UAE. Retrieved from

Rotherham, A., and Willingham, D. (2010). “21st-century skills” – Not new but a worthy challenge. American Educator, Spring. Retrieved from

One response to “SAMR Model for Transformation, Technology, and Education

  1. Pingback: ThingLink: How to Transform an Image into a Full-Blown Lesson - Faculty eCommons

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