SAMR – Design Learning for Engagement, Part 3 – Professional Development

Note:  This post is Part 3 in a 3-part series about the SAMR Model as it relates to digital badge learning design.  Explore Part 1 and Part 2 to follow more of this conversation.



Teacher professional development aims to transform teaching practices, which ultimately, improves student achievement.  At the onset, this sounds simple; however, developing effective teacher professional development experiences is more challenging than meets the eye.  Reflecting on your own experiences as an educator, I bet much of your critical feedback would highlight current research on effective (or ineffective) teacher professional development. Not only this, but I am guessing with certainty that you can recall only a few really meaningful and impactful professional development experiences.  What made them so impactful? Read more

SAMR – Design Learning for Engagement, Part 2

Note:  This is Part 2 in a 3-part series of posts about the SAMR Model.  The last post in the series will examine the SAMR Model as it relates to digital badge learning design and teacher professional development.  Access Part 1 here.

Part 2: Digital Badge Learning, the SAMR Model and New Bloom’s 




When I begin the badge learning design process, I draw upon a reference library that serves as a compass for ensuring that the learning is engaging and relevant for the students in mind.  I think about the TPACK model, New Bloom’s Taxonomy and the SAMR Model for technology integration and the principles of Connected Learning.  In addition to these models and frameworks, I keep ISTE’s Standards in mind, as well as my own sensibilities about what “good” teaching and learning looks and feels like, both from the learner and teachers’ perspectives.

The learning pathways I designed for TAMRITZ’s digital badge learning experiences are based on Quests.  Each Quest is broken down into more granular learning pathways, “discover,” “play” and “create.”  The learning pathways integrate a process approach to New Bloom’s — we may not always be at the highest level of cognition and we may move between each layer more naturally, like a learning hive, rather than a linear, “all or nothing” approach.  And ultimately, the badges at each milestone of the learning journey are designed to be a vibrant feedback loop.


Elements of a Badge Learning Feedback Loop:

  • Students receive feedback at each milestone in the learning journey, either from a teacher or a peer.
  • Students have opportunities to revisit and hone their work (as opposed to one and done)
  • Feedback supports students in pacing themselves and being self-directed learners.


TAMRITZ’s Digital Badge Learning Pathways:

I ask myself, does each Quest move students up Bloom’s Taxonomy and engage them in meaningful tasks and experiences?

Learning Pathways Active Learning




read, reflect uncover, absorb, peruse, browse, propose, plan, view, review, categorize, annotate, document, search, watch, record, jot down, explain

Play explore, experiment, prototype, demonstrate, try, test, orchestrate, tinker, model, draft, conduct, organize, lead, participate, volunteer, contribute, share
Create compose, craft, design, develop, sculpt, publish, record, tell, animate, synthesize, produce, paint, build, construct, evaluate, assess


Here is a short check-list for considering elements of New Bloom’s in your badge learning design and for engaged learning design in general:

  • Student-centered?
  • Student choice?
  • Student discovery?
  • Student-directed?
  • Student-generated content?
  • Learning by doing?
  • Opportunities to collaborate?
  • Opportunities to create unique artifacts of learning and publish globally?
  • Opportunities to communicate socially and with a variety of media?


As for the SAMR Model, like real learning, it is not a tidy linear model, but rather it is a messy, interconnected process.  We may not always integrate technology tools that reflect transformative learning — sometimes we need to jot down notes or recall some basic information to move on to the next path in our learning journeys.  We may weigh factors like time involved, learning goals and students’ interests.  Like the TPACK model, the design process occurs within a context, our learning communities and the students involved.

S – Substitution – tech serves as substitute for the “old way”

A – Augmentation – tech substitutes “old way” with a functional improvement

M – Modification – tech affords marked task redesign

R – Redefinition – tech affords new task creation, ways of learning, never before possible

I ask myself, where on the SAMR Model would I place the tasks in a given Quest? What tasks need to be altered in order to take the Quest to the transformation level, if appropriate within the context of the learning?

What are your thoughts?

SAMR – Design Learning for Engagement, Part 1


Part 1:  Gears of Transformation, Technology Integration:  SAMR Model Revised

Note:  This is Part 1 in a 3-part series of posts about the SAMR Model.  Future posts will examine the SAMR Model as it relates to digital badge learning design and teacher professional development.

SAMR-Gears of Transformation


The SAMR Model, created by Dr. Ruben Puentedura, Ph.D., offers us a ladder approach for thinking about how technology integration can enhance learning and transform how learning happens today.  As educators, it is up to us to think creatively about how technology tools can engage students in creating, problem solving, innovating, researching and connecting with the wider world.

I prefer to think about the road to transformative learning design as an interconnected proposition, where each cog in the machine moves us closer to lighting up connected learners.  Read more