By dougloader


October 2, 2012

We know when we have achieved successful technology integration: it is when we use technology without even thinking about it.

Adobe tools have sometimes seemed quite exclusive, solely for industry professionals. The need for teachers to up-skill has always seemed quite low on the priority list. The very hurdle of learning how to use the software can stand in the way of using the software to enhance learning. At my school Photoshop is only used in the Advanced IT course. Why is that?

I think Adobe have responded with new tools like Photoshop Elements/Premiere Elements and Muse. I am very pleased at the high uptake from my teaching colleagues and students alike. With minimal training and support I am beginning to see teachers integrating these tools into their daily workflows. As adoption of these tools increases it is evident that Adobe can go beyond enhancing learning.

Borrowed from an expert called Dr Rueben Puentedura the term “Transformation” as a result of technology adoption, is a stage you want to aim for in your journey of successful technology integration.

The SAMR model.

Dr Rueben Puentedura hit on a model which you should be familiar with. The SAMR model is a system which you can use to measure your application of technology, or it’s level of use.



The first level is the lowest level of use: Substitution.

Technology acts as a direct tool substitute with no functional changes. A common example is a type-writer being exchanged for a word-processor (albeit with a screen) and being used in exactly the same way. No cut and paste, no spell check, just direct substitution.

The second level is: Augmentation

At this level you are using the same tool with some functional improvement. Improvements may include the spell check or instant dictionary definition, cut/paste and placement of images etc. Already at this secondary stage we are seeing a much higher level of productivity from the individual.

The third level is: Modification

This level actually slightly alters (but doesn’t change) the task at hand. For example, beforehand your type-writer was being used to produce a text report. But now we have additional technology tools available, we could create the report in a spreadsheet. This would allow you to automatically calculate sums and create graphs for immediate visualisation of the information. We may choose to email the spreadsheet to colleagues instead of print it. Our report (previously a fixed paper document) has now seen significant task redesign. This results in substantial productivity increase.

The fourth level is known as: Redefinition.

At this level, we look beyond ways of just modifying the process **which still has the fundamental task at its heart**. Is this the best way to perform the task? The Redefinition level will use available technology to completely redesign tasks.

We are no longer producing a simple report. Information that would original have been compiled by an individual could now involve many contributors; collaborating in real time on the same document. An example might be to use a public document on Google Docs allowing for instant global collaboration on the project. The project could include photographs, graphics, even video, added from many different devices. Spreadsheet calculations will cascade through a document and be available for all decision makers in a moment. Immediately the task has seen the removal of multiple steps, and many more users are viewing and editing the document, increasing communication, accuracy, and productivity.

Applying this model into education is having astounding results. It is a fairly simple idea but one which has really helped me to evaluate where I am at, and what I could be achieving.

I would add that task redefinition can also remove constraints that may have existed before but were not addressed. At redefinition the task and its outcomes are clearer, the technology becomes invisible and the learning at hand takes priority.

With tools like Captivate and Adobe Connect it is very clear to see how Adobe are not only enhancing teaching practices but truly transforming tasks.

I encourage you to visit Dr Rueben Puentedura’s blog at to discover more.


  • By Paul - 9:26 PM on December 6, 2012  

    Thanks Doug, I appreciate what you’ve reflected on here and agree that Redefinition is obviously something to aim for. Surely, the Report Writing process needs to also experience a phase of ‘Redefinition’ with the technology that is now available to us as educators.

    Is there a school who have truly ‘redefined’ Reporting on student achievement? I think technology has had an impact on Report Writing and perhaps even follwed the early aspects of SAMR; initially a computer may have ‘substituted’ hand written comments. Then ‘augmentation’, we’ve used spell check and dare I say, cut and paste. Technology has perhaps ‘modified’ how we arrive at grades by keeping records in a spreadsheet throughout the year and then setting a formula to calculate the respective grade automatically. But where is the ‘redefinition’ of school reports? Who is doing it? There are plenty who have allowed technology to ‘add’ to the Report but is anyone courageous enough to Redefine it – surely there is a better way. Better for teachers and more importantly students and their family.

    • By dougloader - 1:51 AM on December 11, 2012  

      Hi Paul,

      I agree it would be good to see some change/improvement in the report writing process. Which ideas do you have about how we can redefine the very task at hand? Can we really change/transform the original task? Assessment and student feedback will always be necessary.

      At my school we use a program which enables teachers to create an online course, with associated marks book to gather student grades. Link this with other forms of online assessment (Google Docs/forms, Socrative or Nearpod) and I think we are definitely beginning to transform the task.

      Thanks, Doug Loader