Technology Integration and Engaging Students

In her blog “Waggin my Coetail”, teacher librarian Dianne McKenzie explains the meaning of the acronyms SAMR and TPACK and how these frameworks attempt to identify the nature of knowledge required by teachers for technology integration in their teaching, while addressing the complex, multifaceted and situated nature of teacher knowledge.

SAMR & TPACK – acronyms with punch.

I had heard about these models before, and thought I ‘got it’ but the opportunity to become reaquainted in this course has led to some deeper investigation and reflection on not just what I do according to these models, but what the models mean as a teacher and a learner.

I like the simplicity  and visualness of the SAMR model. It is easy to look at and figure out. Linear and simple but with impact.


The following video follows the model using Google docs as an example of what it could look like. The movement from substitution to transformation is a shift in thinking and pedagogy.

This image has connected the blooms taxonomy to the SAMR model, and as I like connections  about “where or what is the learning?” – this resonated with me at first …

Then I looked at it more closely and it really didn’t tell me what I thought it did. Look closer at the diagram and see if you notice.

I had seen the Padogogy wheel before … and thought it was great (of course apps change, but we will leave that little distraction out of the discussion). I think combining blooms with SAMr has made the connection required – the use of the wheel – even without the apps on the outside has made this model relevant and not a ‘not another %&^$ model’ standalone.

The SAMr model is a good starting to place to evaluate what is happening in the classroom. It is driven from the teachers perspective.

Pedagogy is the KEY to integrating technology effectively.

the padogogy wheel

TPACK on the other hand considers more elements to the whole digital tool integration package – the pedagogy, the content and and the tech knowledge required and the combinations of all of them in different way and how it affects the learning from the students perspective. It is a layered, multifaceted, complex, multi-factorial approach and requires more thinking on how and why – not just what.


A short video explaining TPACK

 The diagram below attempts add in and articulate the various factors which are the complexities of the TPACK model of digital integration. The diagram shows how TPACK goes beyond the tools with so many more variables and complexities to consider with regards to the ability & attitude of the teacher and students, the previous experiences, the resources available and what the aims of the teaching or learning are.


The following image gives more flesh to the model by asking direct questions to consider regardng the whole teaching method – which could be used to consider any teaching which may or may not use digital tools if the last two questions are modified just slightly.

Tips to TPACK-ing

The image below goes a little further to evaluate where teachers stand with regard to the different aspects of the TPACK model. I would suggest that most teachers score highly in the content area, and then it would be a challenge for them to evaluate themselves in other areas – this could be broken down further and used as a tool for improving performance with goals and training targetting specific areas.

TPACK Self-Assessment

So, my situation and evaluating my practise?

My current role as a teacher librarian is evolving at my school. I am afraid my teaching of technology specific to research and organisation is not a smooth integration as I usually do not have constant access to classes. I am called into to deliver then I usually do not see what happens after. It is not ideal, but we are working on it.

Just in the last two weeks I have been able to be attached and embedded in a class for their lessons. This has seen me able to give help and integrate technology used in research on as needed basis. This is where the deep and sustainable learning is.

Example one ; The students needed to create a bibliography as they worked on a group project, they were using a google doc. I introduced them to the google add on of Easybib – the free watered down version. It did the job that needed doing.

According to the SAMr model this was Augmentation as it allowed for tech substitute of creating a bibliography with improvement.

With TPACK – the goal was for the student to create a bibliography to be academically honest to enhance their research. (Content) The method of creating a bibliography had to work with the other tool to be seamless to use  to ensure the job of creating a bibliography was done. (Technology). The way I taught it was to introduce it one group, who then had to teach another group how to use it and show them the benefits of doing it this way. (Pedagogy). Combined, the students will now personally see the benefit of using the easybib add on when they are working in Google Docs, and especially when they are working in a group. They were also made aware that this add on is the free, stripped down version – later they may be inclined to use the full subscribed version.

When reflecting on the two models, with the Tpack model, I feel that I achieved more than just “augmentation” in the use of a digital tool. So, I would like to direct my thinking along the TPACK route as it is deeper and has more to it than a simple grade or concept attached to it as is the case with the SAMr model.

Whenever I am planning or supporting any lesson I am always asking – what is the best way to learn this from a students point of view? What are my objectives? What learning do I want to happen from this lesson or activity? Is there a digital tool that makes it easier and enhances the learning? If I am not aware of a digital that is easy to use and learn,  then no –  I don’t use a digital tool – just an old fashioned pen and paper.

Something that has become very apparent to me is that teachers need to have a toolbox of digital tools and pedagogical practises and, understand the limitations and benefits. I have found in my education travels, that my tool box is quite large compared to others. My role in a school is to support learning, and to help others fill their toolkit with different pedagogy and tools they might be inclined to use.

Having a model allows us to direct our thinking, and evaluate where we are at. it gives us scaffolds to consider when wanting to try new things.

So all up – my chosen model would need to be the TPACK model as that is the deeper, more complex and multifaceted model and is focused on learning  and teaching.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s