Episode 78 – A Framework for Meaningful Tech Usage in PE

In this episode of the podcast we discuss a SAMR model & how I use it when planning for the use of technologies in my PE classroom. The SAMR framework helps me apply a thoughtful analysis to each new tool, app or technique & lets me consider how it might be of benefit.

SAMR is a model designed to help educators infuse technology into teaching and learning. Popularized by Dr. Ruben Puentedura;


  1. Lesson Planning Template
  2. Purposeful Planning Webinar

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[00:00:28] Jarrod Robinson: Hello everyone and welcome to episode number 78 of the PE Geek Podcast and as always it’s an absolute pleasure to have you here. Now I’m really excited today to dive into a topic that I’ve wanted to record in a podcast for quite some time. We did it as a webinar in 2016 and it was really well received and it’s actually part of the PE Geek workshops that we run all around the globe and you can go and if you want to join a workshop you can head to thepegeek.com/events and see where we’re headed next.

But this particular


topic is all about a particular framework that you could use to help you sort of use technology more effectively in your practice. Whether that’s a PE classroom or any other general classroom you’re operating in and the great thing about the frame work is that it sort of steps you through some of the evolution that technology can take you on when you start to implement it with thought into your teaching and it’s this sort of framework


and this sort of thinking that I really sort of think brings about the best results when it comes to utilizing tech.

Now I’m a big fan of frameworks, I love them, they are part of society for a reason. We have frameworks in so many different facets of our life and they make it possible for everyone to get a similar result by following the framework and if you think about many of the things that happen in society and


I mean I always think of pilots when they get into the cockpit there’s a framework of steps they go through to ensure that they get the same result each and every time and obviously it’s incredibly important that they do that.

But in many facets of our lives these frameworks drive results and they help us normalize the procedure so that the same thing can happen each and every time and this can be sort of achieved with utilizing tech in a PE practice and the framework


that we’re going to talk about is the SAMR model. Now the SAMR model is not something is something that I have ever, it’s not my invention. It’s one that I really resonate with and find quite easy to explain to teachers. It’s not the only model. There are some advantages and disadvantages to it and other models but I think it’s one that really sort of spells out my personal beliefs around technology and how it can be transformative and it sort of helps with the thinking around


making sure that we do it in a meaningful context and for the right reasons.

So essentially SAMR is the idea that, it’s an acronym. It’s the idea that you have this continuum of depth at which technology can be implemented into a practice. And starting with the S that stands for Substitution. And this is sort of the simplest thing that people do when


they get something that’s a technology or a new tool and what they do is they basically use the technology as a direct substitute for whatever was being done previously in that context. So I mean there’s not a lot of depth in this equation, it’s literally no functional change. It’s the same thing, it’s just done digitally.

And many of the things that you hear people talk about and even myself are substitution


based and if that’s the only argument that you are going to bring forth to your administration around the power of technology in your practice there’s not a lot of evidence to suggest that it’s going to benefit people or change the activity or engage students in a different way than previous. It literally is the same activity just done in a technology or digital sort of format. So


obviously in this sort of equation we want to move from here to some of the deeper opportunities that exist with technology that only technology can provide.

So if we move to the next letter which is the A, looking at augmentation. And with augmentation this is where technology acts as a direct substitute but it does have some sort of functional improvement and maybe the classic example of this would be if word documents say


typing up a report is a direct substitute of typing, sorry, of handwriting then the augmentation of that would be that there are some functional improvements in word that make it possible for you to edit your words on the same page, change the font size, do spellcheck, grammar correction that would be an example of augmentation.

So it is a substitute but there are some


inherent improvements that are part of that. As opposed to if you try to do that sort of thing without the technology, handwriting your letter you really can’t sort of spell check it quite as effectively. You can’t delete a whole paragraph and insert a paragraph over the top of it. So that’s some functional improvement that’s part of that, and that’s the augmentation step. So far we’ve got substitution which is directly substituting the technology


with no functional change.

We’ve got augmentation which is the technology being used with some functional improvement. And the next part of the SAMR progression is modification. And this is when things start to get interesting for me and this is when the technology allows for you to have some significant task redesign.

So like for example rather than doing a report


your students or your kids because of technology may be able to speak their words and turn that report into a narrated piece with some music and different elements than obviously they can’t do that with a hand written piece of paper. So the task can be changed because of what the technology provides.

The final step of the equation before we get into a couple of PE specific


examples is redefinition. Now I would say that the vast majority of tech use in a PE or educational context rarely scratches this spot. This is some deep thought this is some careful attention to planning and making sure that things are well crafted. But redefinition is where the creation of tasks that were completely inconceivable is now possible because of the technology.


So before the tech this would not have been possible, because of the tech the task that you get the students to do or submit as an assessment is completely new. And in that sort of example before it could have been rather than handwriting the story maybe the technology has made it possible for them to film the story, act out the story, edit the story and sort of show case and publish it to YouTube.


So you can see here that the same sort of creative outlet that began as a piece of paper with some handwriting through the SAMR approach and the SAMR lens we can see how the technology has evolved and how the task has evolved with it as we sort of progress.

So in a phys ed context what does that look like? So what I’ve done is I’ve gone and sort of applied the SAMR model to an anatomy lesson. And in the very early


beginning phases the augmentation, sorry, the substation approach would be basically viewing a PDF on a digital book. So rather than having, let’s say you’re teaching anatomy you’ve got a printed book and the kids are reading the printed book the augmented, the substitution version of this would be a digital textbook. So nothing’s really all that different.


They’re just reading it in a digital format.

If you took this further than maybe the augmentation of this could be that the digital textbook has in it some improvements in that you could search words, you could navigate chapters, you could maybe click and interact with some visuals that are part of the digital textbook. So you can see how it’s sort of progressed a little bit. And then the modification option here in the same, so the same


activity teaching anatomy could be the use of an app like iMuscle where rather than saying here’s the piece of paper and you’re looking at the muscles, the modification task is here’s a three dimensional app that let’s sort of move around the whole body, tap on muscles and see the activities that sort of can be performed with that in mind. So that’s sort of significant redesign of the initial task because of the tech.

And then I guess the redefinition for


this particular activity would be the use of an app like 4D anatomy which basically is augmented reality and when you showcase the iPad, add a piece of a paper or the android and a piece of a paper it brings to life an animation on your, in your real world that you can interact with. So it’s sort of a task that was previously inconceivable without the technology enables you to design the learning opportunities around that ask that just would not have


been possible without technology. So if we think about that SAMR approach right back at the beginning digital textbook, no change. Next step putting in some functional improvements in the digital textbook so you can search and save items and look at videos, etc. Next step the modification, being able to use an app that allows you to three- dimensional view it. And then the final step, the redefinition is how can you do something which is immersive with some augmented reality.

So the foundation allows


you to think about what would be a good use of your time and investment in preparing lessons that are meaningful. And if it’s just substitution tasks you can probably think that it’s probably not the best idea.

Now the next opportunity I wanted to share with you is the looking at the idea of technique analysis, or skill analysis through a SAMR lens. In the direct


task that you may have done with no technology at all, it could be a simple checklist that people tick and complete around their technique. So tick the box if these things were present. Well in substitutive terms the direct substitution of that would be a word document where people can tick the boxes in a word format. There’s, it’s a substitute, there’s no real functional improvement, but it’s sort is using tech


so it’s a substitute. if you took this a bit further that same task of analyzing technique you could look at the idea of augmentation and it could be the use of something like a Google form whereby people can fill out the form, their results are submitted and can be sort of calculated and processed. The Google form can have images, it can maybe have moving videos as well. So you can see it’s still very similar in


it’s, the way it’s structured. But there are some functional improvements to it.

The next sort of step in this process that allows you to come up with maybe a completely different task altogether would be the combination of video and say a Google form. So if you’re video recording the students and they can go back and watch their own video and then analyze themself well you can you see how that task would be inherently way different to the very beginning task


which was simply doing a piece of paper and ticking some boxes. So the technology allows for massive modification of the previous conceived task.

Now in the final step, the maybe the complete redefinition of that task would be using a tool like Huddle Technique which allows you to do animation and telestration and sort of drawing on the video and talking over the video and recording an example demo


over the top of the demo. And obviously that would not have been possible if had not been for the technology and an app like huddle technique. So the task that you set can be completely redefined by the technology that’s available. I mean you could just not have issued this task pre-technology.

So those couple of examples are how the SAMR foundation and the framework can help you think more deeply about a specific task that you want to introduce technology to and


how you can extrapolate some more opportunities that may exist. Now I shouldn’t, I’m not going to sort of say that if you do something that’s considered redefinition it’s better learning, that’s really not what the point of this is. But the whole point of you thinking about the SAMR framework is if you have an opportunity to introduce some technology this framework can help you to really plan out what you can do with that tech, where you can head,


and make you think about whether you should just roll in a technology into your class that’s a direct substitute. I don’t think you should, obviously there are opportunities with that as well but if it’s a simple substitution and that’s all you’re doing then you’re really missing out on some of the real power that exists with doing this in a much more deeper context and say the modification or the redefinition stages.

So hopefully that’s been useful, that’s the framework that I


used as part of our workshops and all the tasks that we do follow this SAMR lens. We always reference it and reinforce it and I’ve, it’s proven to be really effective when it comes to planning for meaningful use of tech in PE classroom or in lots of other classrooms around the globe.

And if you wanted to take it to the next level then feel free to join our free purposeful planning webinar at thepegeek.com/plan. It’s a 45 minute webinar


which comes with a certificate that you can use for your professional development records. The whole basis of the webinar is to sort of take you through the planning that goes into thoughtful use of technology in phys ed, including the lesson planning framework that I recommend and use as well as a bit of a look through that SAMR model with some visuals to help sort of reinforce the different stages that you go through.

So I’m going to leave it there. I look forward to


returning in episode 78 as we feature another teacher doing some amazing things in their practice. Speak soon.


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