Teacher Spotlight: Amber Palmer, Bennion Elementary

SAMR, Disneyland, and the STS

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What do the SAMR Model, Disneyland, and a dynamic School Technology Specialist all have in common? At first you may think that only two of these subjects are connected, but given the creative thinking of Amber Palmer, STS at Bennion Elementary, they create a beautiful symphony of thoughts and ideas that teachers at her school will enjoy all year long.
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Amber is an integral part of Granite’s Educational Technology Department. Her wit, intelligence, teaching abilities…and of course her love for Disneyland all come into play with an ingenious bulletin board that displays an easy to understand depiction of the SAMR Model using famous Disneyland favorites.

What Is SAMR?

SAMR is a model which can help teachers as they integrate technology into teaching and learning. SAMR stands for Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition.


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The Definition: Substitution is taking something that has been used in one way and continuing to use it in the same way without making significant changes.
The Example: This is like the Mark Twain Riverboat. The paddle moves and you go around the waterway. Pretty straightforward.
Teacher Connection: This is like a teacher having a student print out a worksheet to complete and turn in. Using a printer didn’t make it cooler at all!


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The Definition: Doing what you have always done, but putting a technology twist on it.
The Example: This is like the Submarine Voyage changing from the mechanical 20,000 Leagues theme to a technologically enhanced Finding Nemo theme!
Teacher Connection: This is like taking a Google Form quiz instead of a paper quiz.


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The Definition: Using something you used before, but changing it so that it is done differently.
The Example: This is like Peter Pan’s Flight using FLYING boats instead of floating ones.
Teacher Connection: This is like instead of just writing an essay, you make a recording of your essay using authentic music that enhances it, AND you present it to a real audience.


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The Definition: This process allows for things to happen that were not possible before.
The Example: Dumbo the Flying Elephant redefines WHAT can fly! Timothy and the magic feather are integral to Dumbo’s success!
Teacher Connection: Redefinition takes collaboration and a willingness to have big questions to dive into, and “lofty” projects to communicate this understanding with others.
We are lucky to have such innovative thinkers like Amber. Her willingness to think outside the box will inspire others to do the same. Way to go Amber!

Spotlight Author: Pam Moeai, Granite District Educational Technology Specialist
Interested in learning more about the SAMR Model? Explore this collection of resources from educator, librarian, and technology specialist Kathy Schrock: http://www.schrockguide.net/samr.html.