Back in the early days of my informal tech integration training, I heard Alan November share his thoughts on how schools could begin the process of embedding technology into instruction.

At that time, he talked about three different levels of integration that seem to make sense to me:

  • automate
  • informate
  • innovate

The goal was to move from using technology to complete tasks we’ve always done to using technology for tasks that have never before been done. From using a computer grading program to speed up the scoring of multiple choice tests to using a mobile app to create an interactive and collaborative e-book.

November suggested that we need to move beyond thinking about the tool and think more about the task. Decide first what we want to accomplish and then select the tool:

No one who ever bought a drill wanted a drill. They wanted a hole.
Perry Marshall

It’s the end result that matters, not the tool.

So when I found the handy SAMR poster highlighting mobile apps, I had a tiny little Alan November flashback. SAMR was created by Ruben Puentedura and is another method of thinking about tech integration levels.

SAMR stands for

  • Substitute – technology acts as a direct tool substitute without functional change
  • Augment – technology acts as a direct tool substitute with some functional improvement
  • Modify – technology allows for significant task redesign
  • Redefine – technology allows for the creation of previously inconceivable tasks

And the people over at the Apps in Education site have created a sweet little poster that lists a variety of apps that fit the SAMR model.

Nice list.