The SAMR Model: What It is and How it Can Help Teachers

Posted by on April 12th, 2017

The rise of technology in life and the workplace has made it increasingly necessary for technology to be a part of the educational process. The SAMR model is a response to this need.

SAMR is a framework designed to assist educators in infusing technology into teaching and learning. The SAMR acronym stands for Substitution, Augmentation, Modification and Redefinition. In addition to helping you infuse technology into the learning process, SAMR provides a way for you to evaluate the presence and use of technology within your classroom.


SAMR Model Defined


Substitution – Teachers and students use new technologies to complete the same tasks. There is no functional change

Example – Using Google to copy and paste research information into a document.


Augmentation – Similar to substitution, augmentation uses new technologies to replace old ones. However, there is an increase in the functionality of the tools.

Example – Using a “share” tab or bookmark button to share direct links to the research information.

Modification – Task components are redesigned for more effectiveness through the use of technology.

Example – Using an app to download and annotate the research information directly.

Redefinition – Technology is used to create previously inconceivable new tasks.

Example – Sharing research information through electronic, collaborative mindmaps.


SAMR in Action

The SAMR framework operates as both a tool for evaluation and a tool for integration. Things to consider when adopting SAMR in your instructional design include:

  • Successful integration of technology into learning is achieved through the efficient use of digital tools. The tools selected should be appropriate to the task being completed.
  • Integration of technology is typically achieved in specific levels. It will take small shifts in design to effectively integrate technology to achieve the next level.
  • There is a direct, positive correlation between the level of integration activity and educational benefit. The model moves from enhancement with Substitution and Augmentation to transformation with Modification and Redefinition.
  • Questions are available to assist you and guide the transition process:
    • Substitution – What will I gain by replacing the old tool with the new technology?
    • Substitution to Augmentation – Have I added an improvement to the task process that could not be accomplished with the older technology at a fundamental level? How does this feature contribute to my design?
    • Augmentation to Modification – How is the original task being modified? Is the modification fundamentally dependent on the new technology? How does the modification contribute to my instructional design?
    • Modification to Redefinition – What is the new task that has been developed? Will any of the original task be retained? How does technology make the new task uniquely possible? How does the new task add to my design?


The SAMR model is fundamentally about providing an evolution of knowledge through the use of technology. The key is to identify how the use of various technology impacts the overall instructional design at each level of the model.


SAMR is progressive in nature, transitioning from small enhancements to total transformation. This is achieved through the components of Substitution, Augmentation, Modification and Redefinition.



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