Think of SAMR like a video game

If you are familiar with Dr. Ruben Puentedura’s brilliant yet uncomplicated structure for evaluating and improving digital learning known as the SAMR model, you  have likely already used it to evaluate your own practice or that of other educators.

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What I think a lot of people mistake, at least in my opinion, is thinking that it is a true hierarchy. I don’t think that is what it is at all. I don’t think for a minute it is necessary for the flow to begin at the Substitution level and progress through the Augmentation and Modification to finally rest at the Redefinition level.

In truth, SAMR is a lot like a video game. Sure some of the true beginners may need to putz around in the training levels for a bit to get their legs under them, but once they know what they are doing, they may never return. More experienced players skip right on past that training ground to get to the good stuff. In unstructured games, players can tackle the more complex challenges right away, and can then strengthen themselves to be able to stay at that level permanently. Others may decide the level at which they want to thrive, but it is rarely, if ever, in the kiddie pool. Humans are driven to challenge and bored by the mundane.

Redefinition is really where the magic happens. We need to help people live here, not just hope to hit it on occasion. Sure, not every learning task is a great fit for redefinition, but it is very unlikely that the lower half of the SAMR model is the only level on which to teach and learn.



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