Understanding Technology Integration in the Classroom Using SAMR Model

There are many sophisticated tools available for integrating technology in the classroom. The right technology integration is not about using the most gripping and engaging tools. It is about using the right technology integration tool depending on the circumstances. When it comes to teaching online, technology integration is not the biggest barrier that teachers face. In fact, there are a number of digital learning tools and technologies available for teachers to choose from. Technology integration in the classrooms has made things easier and convenient for teachers.

From creating a positive impact on the learners to saving valuable time for teachers, technology integration provides numerous benefits. Another problem that teachers face is how to make technology integration happen. The reason why educators face a problem in integrating technology in the classroom is because of lack of professional training and development.

Boost to technology integration in classroom due to the pandemic

  • The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that first began in early 2020 resulted in the closure of schools, colleges, and universities in India and worldwide.

  • The education of nearly 1.2 billion children was affected globally because the schools were shut down.

  • During the pandemic, there was a drastic shift in education with the rise in digital learning and online teaching adopted by various schools and educational institutions across the country.

  • K12 online learning was found to be more fun and interactive for the learners.

What is the SAMR model?

  • SAMR model is a framework that consists of different strategies for the purpose of technology Integration in classrooms.

  • The SAMR model was designed and developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura.

  • It consists of four different stages of integrating technology in the classroom.

  • The SAMR model begins with a basic stage of technology integration, and increasingly becomes sophisticated towards the end.

  • The SAMR model explains how effective learning can be achieved through the power of digital learning and technology integration.

The four stages or tiers of digital learning as per the SAMR model are:

Substitution (S)

  • This is the basic and simplest stage in the SAMR model.

  • In this stage, technology integration acts as a direct substitute for the traditional learning practices without any functional change.

  • For example, in the case of a traditional classroom, learners take notes using pen and paper.

  • The substitution strategy involves switching to typing the notes on a word software on a laptop or tablet, instead of writing using pen and paper.

  • In case of substitution, there is no significant change in the content that is delivered. There is a change in the way it is delivered.

  • Some other examples of substitution include replacing the hard copies of class tests by online tests, and even using digital versions of worksheets in the form of PDFs, as against generating multiple copies through photocopying.

Augmentation (A)

  • The Augmentation stage is the one in which technology integration acts as a direct substitution tool and augments learning with functional improvements.

  • It involves the use of digital and interactive learning elements through videos, multimedia, animations, games, quizzes, etc.

  • Although the content remains the same, the augmentation stage presents a much clearer explanation to the learners regarding a complex topic.

  • From gamification of curriculum to use of multimedia presentations, the augmentation stage enhances the digital learning process.

The Substitution and Enhancement levels in the SAMR model results in enhancement of digital learning.

Modification (M)

  • In this stage, technology is used to design dynamic and interactive tasks beyond the scope of the traditional classroom setup.

  • Modification allows students to work in groups and collaborate with each other, thus fostering a cooperative culture in the classroom.

  • In this stage, learning is not only improved but also transformed significantly.

  • For example, students may create a video or a podcast explaining a particular concept to the entire class instead of using charts or paper.

Redefinition (R)

  • This stage involves completely redefining the fundamental learning process by designing activities that won’t have been possible without technology integration.

  • Integrating technology in the classroom opens new opportunities of learning for students.

  • Technology integration can completely redefine learning for learners, thus keeping the students engaged, with the ability to embrace new systems and processes.

  • From virtual field trips to publishing content online, and even interaction of students with other students in the country or overseas forms a part of redefining learning.

Modification and Redefinition stages have the power to transform learning.

It is important to keep in mind that even after the pandemic is over, digital learning is here to stay for a long time, and will be adopted more, considering the benefits it offers to learners and teachers. Technology integration with education will be accelerated even more, once normalcy returns. Digital learning will become an integral part of education in schools. Although the SAMR model appears to be a difficult mountain or pyramid to climb for teachers, in reality, it is a box having various technologies for teaching online. Teachers need to find the right technology to use in the classroom.

Here are some questions that teachers can ask themselves prior to integrating technology in the classroom.


  • Are the students equipped to understand and use this technology?

  • What is the purpose behind using this technology?

  • How can the use of this technology improve lesson delivery?

  • Can this technology integration make learning authentic and closer to real-world learning?

  • Can the use of this technology keep students interested in learning complex topics?

  • Why is it preferable to skip this technology?