Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition
Assessment, Best Practices, Tech Generation

Make Your Tech Integration Stronger Using SAMR

In our time online during COVID everyone learned and did  things they never thought themselves capable.  You learned Zoom, OAKS, Padlet, Jamboard, and so many other tools.  You were curious about how to do things differently to achieve better results.

Let’s not let that go!

Just because you are back in the classroom doesn’t mean you should halt your forward progress!  I encourage you to use the SAMR model to look at your teaching and keep that curious reflection going.

If you’re not familiar with SAMR, it’s a model for incorporating technology into your teaching, and life, in a meaningful and efficient way.  With SAMR, the goal is to think of it as a spectrum and shoot for the level that you think is best for your particular goals or outcomes and in a very purposeful way.

Before you go any further however, start by asking the following:
  • What am I hoping to achieve by using this technology?
  • How will it make a difference to my students’ learning?
  • Why is it preferable to not using technology?
  • How equipped are my students and I to use this technology?
  • How much time do I have to invest in making it work?
Answering these questions and starting with a purpose avoids the ‘technology for technology’s sake’ syndrome that doesn’t help anyone

Let’s take a look at each of these categories/levels:


Substitution is often the easiest level to achieve.  It involves substituting technology for a non-tech process.   Before substituting, ask yourself, “what do you or your students gain by replacing a traditional tool for a technology tool.


  • Online test for a paper test
  • Microsoft Word doc for a handwritten document
  • Online calendar for a paper calendar
  • Recording a lecture and having students watch it, rather than giving the lecture in person


Augmentation is adding technology to add something to the traditional method of doing something.  This “something” should improve the process, making things more efficient, easy collaborative, etc.


  • Using Google Docs instead of a Word Processor or paper so it can be shared with others.
  • Instead of a standard speech, augment it with images or a presentation.
  • Researching using online library journals.
  • Adding video to your regular lectures to reenforce a difficult concept.
  • Having a video assignment instead of a paper.


Modification involves actually changing the lesson’s design and its learning outcome. It’s about designing interactive and dynamic tasks.  The critical question here is, “does the technology significantly alter the learning task?”(1)


  • Students produce a podcast summarizing a topic and other students review and revise the podcast.(2)
  • Use a website or blog to post their book reviews, receive peer feedback, and participate in ongoing discussions about their book.(3)
  • Students are asked to write an essay around the theme “And This I Believe…”. An audio recording of the essay is made along with an original musical soundtrack.  The recording will be played in front of an authentic audience such as parents, or college admission counselors. (4)
  • Students use multimedia online resources including audio and video tools and learning to gain greater insight into the motivations of a particular character, based on the text and supplemental learning (5)
  • Students complete the quiz using video as opposed to writing out their answers, allowing for virtual marking (5)


Redefinition is all about using technology to transform your students’ experiences.  It involves using technology to all you and your students to do something that couldn’t not be done without the tool.  In this case, you ask yourself if the technology tools allow educators to redefine a traditional learning task in a way that would not be possible without the tech, creating a novel experience. (1)


  • Network with students at another university or in a K12 classroom
  • Visit museums virtually or using AR/VR
  • Interacting with experts  via Zoom that wouldn’t be possible otherwise.
  • As a group, create a documentary video based on specific concepts learned in the class (include interviews as well).
  • Use Google Earth Street View to travel to different parts of the world, to look at architecture, city planning, etc.
  • Recording students as they deliver a presentation or practice a physical skill, then using this recording to prompt student reflection (2)
  • Having students publish their work online where it can be viewed by peers and the broader community (2).


Whatever you do, don’t lose the strides you made during the COVID semesters.  Keep pushing forward and keep being curious!





Innovative Instruction, Presentation, Teaching Advice, Tech Generation, TLT

Why should I flip my classroom?

    Flipping the classroom seems to be the newest buzzword in education, both in higher ed and in k12 but what are the benefits of this method and what exactly is a “flipped classroom”?   

Flipped Classroom

A flipped classroom is a reversal of the norm, where class time that is usually spent lecturing while students dutifully take notes, is used for a more hands on approach such as group work or problem solving.  All lectures or readings should be done before class, so that students have knowledge of the subject matter when they walk into class and can use the class time to delve deeper into the material.  Many professors suggest a short quiz or worksheet to be completed before coming to class to keep students on track and engaged in the process.

What are the benefits of this method?

    A great resource for these questions can be found in a book called “Flip Your Classroom” by Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams.  In it they discuss several great reasons to flip your classroom.

      1. Flipping helps busy students

           Some students (especially in college) are juggling academics, extracurriculars and jobs.  Things come up and not all students are able to attend every class. Flipping the classroom allows them to stay caught up on the material and even work ahead if they know they will be out.

      2. Flipping helps struggling students

           Students that tend to struggle to learn a concept can pause the lecture, lookup any information they might not understand and then resume.  They are     also able to rewind as many times as needed until they fully understand the concept.

      3. Flipping helps students of all abilities excel

           Students that struggle will have more time to absorb the material and students that excel and get bored are able to investigate the material more fully.     They are able to learn things they may not have had time to learn in a regular setting classroom.

      4. Flipping increases student-teacher interaction

           Flipping allows professors to help their students in a more one-on-one or one-on-group capacity.  It gives time for small group lecturing to groups that   may need more help and gives time to move about the classroom conversing with each student.

       5. Flipping allows teachers to know their students better

           Instead of lecturing at the front of the classroom while a sea of eyes stares back at you, flipping your classroom allows you to take time to walk around     your class and get to know your students.  This gives them a connection to their learning.

      6. Flipping allows for real differentiation

          Not only do the students have control of the lecture and what parts they need repeated or what parts they can move through quicker, they also have the   ability to work at a higher level in class or work closely with their professor on harder concepts.

      7. Flipping changes classroom management

          While the professor stands at the front of the room lecturing, it is easy for students to be on their phones or looking at Facebook but in a flipped                 classroom they are engaged.  They are working on concepts, they are thinking deeper and they are taking their knowledge to the next level.

Flipping the classroom research

    One study (Deslauriers et al., 2011) found that students who participated in a flipped classroom vs. an interactive lecture classroom were much more engaged and did about 33% better on their final evaluation.  Both classes were given eleven weeks of interactive lecture and at the twelfth week one class was flipped.  The classes showed no difference in score or engagement in the first eleven weeks.

Another study by Fautch (2014) conducted on an organic chemistry 1 course found that students showed greater comprehension of the material and tended to improve their performance on exams.  Students also felt more knowledgeable and more comfortable with the course material.

    Weaver and Sturtevant (2015) conducted a three year study at Purdue University within their chemistry major and found that students in a flipped classroom, throughout their studies, scored significantly higher when compared to their previous scores in a traditional classroom setting.  The majority of students had positive feelings about the format of the classroom.

How do I flip my classroom

There are numerous benefits to flipping your classroom and it doesn’t have to be an abstract concept anymore.  Flipping your classroom allows students to take pride and ownership of their learning.  This method allows them to explore areas of the curriculum that they may not have had time to explore in a traditional classroom or master areas that they may have been weak in.  Check out any of TLT’s training sessions about flipping your classroom at to get started!


DesLauriers L, Schelew E, and Wieman C (2011). Improved learning in a large-enrollment physics class. Science 332: 862-864.
Fautch, J. M. (2015). The flipped classroom for teaching organic chemistry in small classes: Is it effective? Chem. Educ. Res. Pract., 16(1), 179-186.
Weaver, G. C., & Sturtevant, H. G. (2015). Design, Implementation, and Evaluation of a Flipped Format General Chemistry Course. J. Chem. Educ. Journal of Chemical Education, 92(9), 1437-1448
instructional technology, Productivity, Teaching Advice, Tech Generation, TLT

Start your semester off right!

Starting a new semester can be daunting but let us help you with our Start of Semester Checklist!  This checklist gives you a list view of important tasks to complete to make sure your semester starts off smoothly, it also tells you how to complete most tasks.  Some of the tasks and include: Verifying your course shell has been created, confirming your course start date, enrolling non-students into your course, cross listing, and building course content and student enrollment.  Let us make it easier for you, click on our checklist!


Start of Semester Checklist 


Collaboration, Facilities, Innovative Instruction, Tech Generation

Makerspaces in Higher Ed

Makerspaces are a relatively new trend in education. Makerspaces are physical spaces where students can get together to work on creative projects and often contain 3D printers, innovative software, electronics, craft and hardware supplies, and other materials. In education, makerspaces can be thought of as a combination of a classroom and a workshop or lab. But why do we need makerspaces, and why are they relevant in higher education? Andrew Kim, a Steelcase education researcher said, “…we have found that, at the same time that technology is reshaping education, the importance of face-to-face learning is also growing, providing new opportunities for hands-on learning instead of all lecture-based.” Unlike traditional classroom environments, student learning in a makerspace is hands-on and self-directed. Georgia Tech’s makerspace, called the Invention Studio, has been incredibly successful and is often used as a model for others in higher education.

Do you think makerspaces have a place in higher education? If you were designing a makerspace, what equipment, software, or tools would you like to see included?

Innovative Instruction, instructional technology, Mobile, social networking, Teaching Advice, Tech Generation, TLT

Teaching Digital Natives

Did you know that the average college student spends 8 to 10 hours per day on a mobile phone? Whether texting, using social media applications, or browsing the internet, we can all agree that students are more connected than ever. But what does this mean for our teaching? Continue reading “Teaching Digital Natives”

Score Keeper Screenshot
Assessment, iPad, Mobile, Tech Generation

Track Your Teams with Score Keeper by Learning Dojo

Score Keeper – What is it and how can I use it?

Platform – iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad
Price – free in the App Store (NOTE: this is listed as an iPhone app)
Download – 


Using Team Based Learning or Gaming in your classroom?  Having a hard time easily keeping or resetting the score? Score Keeper will not only help you to add up or detract points from 2 teams, but it also allows  you to reset the score with one touch.  When a team gains or loses a point the app will comment with encouragement or gentle teasing. (Yes, you have the option to silence the app if you’d like!).  Simple to use and ready to go, Score Keeper will help you keep track of those points!  Game on!

Score Keeper Screenshot


iste standards for students
Assessment, Tech Generation, TLT

Technology Standards for Assessment/Activities

ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) is the leader in supporting “the use of information technology to aid in learning, teaching of K-12 students and teachers.”   This not-for-profit organization has created standards for students and instructors regarding the use of technology. These ISTE Standards are the standards for learning, teaching and leading in the digital age and are widely recognized and adopted worldwide.   

The goal of these standards include:

  • Improving higher-order thinking skills, such as problem solving, critical thinking and creativity

  • Preparing students for their future in a competitive global job market

  • Designing student-centered, project-based and online learning environments

  • Inspiring digital age professional models for working, collaborating and decision making

While they were created for K-12 the principles and goals should also be embraced by those of us in higher education.  Many of them are excellent goals to have even without the technology component.

Creativity and Innovation

Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.

Communication and Collaboration

Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.

Research and Information Fluency

Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate and use information.

Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making

students use critical thinking still to plan and conduct research, manage projects, sofve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources

Digital Citizenship

Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behaviour.

Pay attention to these standards next time you are creating an assignment or an activity for your students.  Conduct an informal self-evaluation to see if you are encouraging these behaviors amongst your students and modeling best practices as the instructor.