Hamilton, E., Rosenberg, J. & Akcaoglu, Mete. (2016). The Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition (SAMR) Model: a critical review and suggestions for its use. Tech Trends, 60, 433-441. doi: 10..1007/s11528-016-0091-y
This article analyzes the use of the SAMR method in K-12 education, offering a critical review of the SAMR method. The article argues that the creator of this method, Puentedura, offers limited explanations and details to help teachers understand and use the SAMR model. As a result, the authors note there are many different interpretations of the model in action. The authors also note three main problems with the SAMR model: 1) It does not take into account the context of the classroom or the complex systems teachers work in. 2) Its structure is too rigid. 3)The SAMR model emphasizes product over process. The authors fear that putting focus on a product, may result in forgetting the importance of the processes that are so important to the learning process. The authors end with suggestions for how the SAMR model can be refined and clarified so it more clearly identifies when use of the technology is best suited to the needs of learners. They also suggest getting rid of the hierarchical structure, because it suggests that only the Redefinition and Modification stages have value to student learning.
I found the article very interesting. Like many teachers, I was shown the hierarchical visual of the SAMR method, and it seemed to make sense. It provided a simple direction to follow as I began incorporating technology into lessons after joining a one-to-one device school. But I did get the message from my administrators, who first introduced me to this concept, that there was an expectation that I would create assignments that consistently used technology at the higher two levels of the SAMR model. The authors in this article, though, point out that sometimes substitution can be a valuable part of a lesson, and sometimes the use of technology for a learning experience does not improve upon that experience. The SAMR model is really very simplistic and does not take into account the many factors a teacher balances inside a classroom. I do see it as a guide, but would like to see the model developed more so that teachers could have a better understanding of how to use technology to best serve their students and so that administrators would not assume that any teacher creating lessons that do not fall into the top two levels of this model, might have a perfectly good reason for not making that change.