Approaches to Educational Technology, a look into the SAMR and TPACK Models

There are many different approaches to education with technology, but how can their effectiveness be rated? Is one way better than another, and if so, how can we tell for certain? There are two criteria that we can use to help us answer these questions. These two models will help educators improve their integration of technology. The two models are SAMR and TPACK. Hopefully, these models can also be used to improve future assignments as well as just integration of technology. Technology in the classroom has the potential to create the most successful learning approaches ever seen.
SAMR stands for Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition. “The SAMR model provides a technique for moving through degrees of technology adoption to find more meaningful uses of technology in teaching and move away from simply using ‘tech for tech’s sake’” (Walsh). These four items make up the “Ladder” that is SAMR. Substitution is when you substitute a task with something technology, and the task does not change. A great example of this would be writing and essay. You could type up the essay or hand write it. Augmentation is very similar to Substitution, except with minor improvements. This would come in the form of special tools specific to the technology alone. The top two items, Modification and Redefinition, is where the true integration of technology happens.
Augmentation is when a task cannot be completed without the proper tool. This step should improve functionality of the assignment and help with learning in the classroom. Redefinition is the final step on the ladder, and this is where the conceivable happens. At this point we can create whole new assignments/assessments that we couldn’t even dream of before. This could be reaching out with a current professional in the field, or making contact with someone across the globe to have them peer review your paper. This is where educators should strive for, and it brings a unique and interesting value to your improved classroom.
The TPACK model is more of a venn-diagram than a ladder. This model states that there are three broad areas of thinking: Content, Pedagogy, and Technological. TPACK suggests that you first evaluate your ability to in content knowledge (CK) and pedagogical knowledge (PK) before anything else. This kind of review is critical for educators to improve themselves. This will help your students, because it will transform you into a better teacher. TPACK shows us the areas were content knowledge and pedagogical knowledge overlap (PCK), and unfortunately this is where most teachers stop. TPACK asks us to also consider technology and where that overlaps with both our pedagogical knowledge (TPK) and content knowledge (TCK). Finally there is a magical point in the middle where everything comes together. “Underlying truly meaningful and deeply skilled teaching with technology” (Mishra). This center is known as TPCK.
Both Models are invaluable to educators and students alike. These models should be the inspiration when designing new tests or assignments. I can easily invasion myself creating new tasks for my future band, and these two models will be right beside me. With these tools at my disposal, I will be able to create the unimaginable. I inspire everyone to check them out, and if you’re a teacher than you owe it to your students to read up on both.


Walsh, K. (2016, September 17). Kelly Walsh. Retrieved September 15, 2017, from

Mishra. (2017, June 09). TPACK Explained. Retrieved September 15, 2017, from


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