1. a person or thing acting or serving in place of another.
2. (formerly) a person who, for payment, served in an army or navy in the place of a conscript.
3. Grammar a word that functions as a replacement for any member of a class of words or constructions, as do in He doesn't know but I do.

Substitution on the SAMR model is the "easiest" level to get to. It is the act of replacing what you are currently doing with a digital medium. For example, if you wrote a paper using a notebook and a pencil, now you are using google docs and a chromebook. Time and time again, I have teachers who ask me how to improve their classroom, and they usually start with the wrong things. I hope to highlight some of these, and help to guide you toward sound classroom improvement. One final thought before I dive in, is that students need to be provided diverse experiences. Going paperless, will actually hurt students' ability to write, and organize notes, and demonstrate learning through papers. A balanced classroom, is the BEST classroom.

It should NOT substitute Hands on Learning
Teachers look at their manipulative bin, or their games, and use that as a starting spot for technology integration. The apps that are available do not help the cause. Hands on learning, is hands on learning. Touching a screen actually takes away the interpersonal skills and motor development that students gain by interacting with manipulatives. That is not to say that it should not happen.

Centers Rules of Thumb
20% - Reciting Learning
20% - Technology Learning
60% - Hands On Learning

It should NOT substitute a Textbook
Textbooks today are poor resources for learning. Many teachers come to me and ask if we can re-create their textbook in a digital form (iBooks). Textbooks need to be thrown out, or completely redesigned for today's educators. Instead of textbooks, we need to create mobile learning modules that streamline work, emphasis creation, and allow for student voice and choice.

It SHOULD Ground Itself in Teacher Efficiency

Here are 3 quick, and easy options for you to use:
  • Audio Recordings can be done quickly, and with a Google Dropbox, you can do them on the fly.
  • Assessments can be run through Google forms, Book Creators, or a multitude of formative tools.
  • Communication with all stakeholders can be streamlined through workflow, autoCrat, or others.

The next time you are looking at technology integration, please do not take away something that is already highly engaging. Look to refurbish the material your students struggle finding meaning for, or a just bored doing. Use the engagement of technology to make any content come to life.

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