WRITTEN BY
Stu Reddrop
09 February, 2022

The importance of technology to Primary learning

There is so much new technology entering the education sector these days it is almost hard to keep track of. Here at Northbridge, we strive to review and refine what we use in class constantly. To assist with this, we use the SAMR model which is a framework created by Dr. Ruben Puentedura to categorise four different types of technology integration in the classroom.

It is important that we work as teachers to ensure that we are covering all bases. Substituting traditional tools with technology doesn't necessarily improve the learning experience but can provide important opportunities to teach ICT skills within the task
Stu Reddrop
Grade 3 Teacher & Learning Technologies Coach

The SAMR model helps us to assess the impact of the tools we use. This model can be seen in the image below:

(Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_SAMR_Model.jpg)

The SAMR model consists of four steps: Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition. Substitution and Augmentation are considered “Enhancement” steps, while Modification and Redefinition are “Transformation” steps. Think of the difference between cooking a recipe you found on the internet but adding a few ingredients (Enhancement) and creating an entirely original recipe from scratch (Transformation).

While we often visualise the SAMR model as a staircase as shown above, It’s better to think of the SAMR model more as a spectrum. On one end, technology is used as a one-to-one replacement for traditional tools as shown in the example above, and on the other end, technology enables experiences that were previously impossible without it. If students were working on writing an alternative back page blurb for a book, then the steps might work as follows:

Substitution: A laptop/iPad is used to write it instead of paper and pencil.

Augmentation: Students are able to use features such as spell check or add images to improve the work.

Modification: Students could use videos applications to create video trailers of the story.

Redefinition: Students can use video apps to make trailers of the story, create a trigger image using augmented reality software and share these using a YouTube account. They could discuss these trailers with students in other schools using video calling software.

It is important that we work as teachers to ensure that we are covering all bases. Substituting traditional tools with technology doesn't necessarily improve the learning experience but can provide important opportunities to teach ICT skills within the task. Redefining the substance of tasks really allows students to think more deeply and work more creatively. That’s where the fun really starts!