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What’s Wrong with SAMR in Education?

 Mention the words “one to one” or “digital curriculum” and the widely referenced SAMR model is likely to enter the conversation. Few other models are brought up as frequently with educators who are transitioning their schools to digital devices and curriculum. But does SAMR continue to meet the need of describing the depth and breadth of change needed in pedagogy?

SAMR is a model to help describe, inform and lead a process of change:

  • Substitution
  • Augmentation
  • Modification
  • Redefinition

What’s wrong with this, you say? Only just one tiny thing. It is used to describe change within the traditional paradigm of school, whether that be an individual classroom with a teacher’s individual practice or a school or a district. It rarely considers contextualization against the new models of school that are being created and experimented with. Rarely does SAMR spark the conversation of changing the paradigm.

Practically speaking, this is a major and fundamental flaw.


One-to-One Institute is an international non-profit committed to igniting
21st century education through the implementation of one-to-one technology
in K-12 education environments.

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