Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Implementation Challenge: the SAMR Model

I recently was given a great opportunity to travel to Boston for the EdTech iPad Summit. Dr Ruben R. Puentedura, the creator of the SAMR model, spoke as our keynote (see his website and resources here) and really changed my thinking about the SAMR model. I've been asking myself since the beginning of the year, "what does transformation in my class look like?" and ultimately, "what does REDEFINITION of the SAMR model look like?"

To modify or redefine your classroom and what you learn is not easy. Frankly, it's scary. I means giving your students control of their learning! Dr. Puentedura said that the iPad was a "Curiosity Amplifier." That idea stuck with me. This device is a tool that should make the owner curious--and it should only lead to more curiosity.

From this idea, I create a project called "CURIOSITY UNLEASHED." It was based on the idea that my students should be given the chance to explore what they are interested in. During the 1st week of school my students came up with a padlet wall of curiosity. They asked lots of questions. So we took these questions and I gave them set parameters and guidelines of a few underlying and foundational expectations and let them explore. There were specific checkpoints and tasks to be completed to scaffold our learning and I highly encouraged them to use their iPad as their research and creation tool. Almost all groups took on the "App-Smash" challenge and created several products with their iPad to create one whole product at the end; their video presentation.

Between the substitution of our learning, I think what we've done in the class for the last few weeks has been redefining. I have been in awe of the learning my students did on their own, without me telling them the information. Instead of assigning certain videos to watch over stem cells and how cancer works, my students found current research that supported their research question over these topics. They researched science we may not have had time for in our 52 minutes together everyday! They discovered, on their own, that the sun can actually give them cancer--AND that it was time for them to start using SPF during the summer! One group explored the idea of bringing back extinct animals from stem cells...a concept they have never thought of before. Another, explored how stem cells could be used to treat blindness...

Being a summative assessment, I asked my students what they liked about the project. Many of them liked the opportunity to research a question they had always been curious about. They like having time to explore the possibilities of science. I asked them for constructive criticism that will shape this project in the future as I continue to provide opportunities like this in my classroom. And because my students really enjoyed this project, I hope edit and refine, and do this again in the 2nd semester and have them present their projects to the class! 


  1. This sounds like a great idea - I think I'll try something like it next semester! Thank you for finding ways to encourage and promote curiosity!

  2. What a great idea! What sorts of checkpoints and tasks did you implement? I would love to try this with a new program I am working with.

    1. Hello! My students had to learn by watching some videos and completing questions, creating a stop animation to show me their knowledge of mitosis, take a quiz, and conversations together. It was a great activity and look forward to doing it again!