Monthly Archives: September 2015

Is SAMR a bad model? You betcha! Time for the P-RAR model

Is SAMR a bad model? You betcha! Time for the P-RAR model

First, I have to hand it to Dr. Ruben Puentedura that he was onto something with his SAMR model.  He just needed to get rid of the ambiguity and add an item that is missing.  Let’s look at his model to see what I am talking about:

It seems simple enough.  I have seen it applied.  I have even seen some convincing people talk about the model like it makes sense.  But every time I get down to it, there is definite unclarity when it comes to the difference between the Augmentation and Modification sections.  I have seen time wasted, and even arguments over where a certain type of technology implementation should fit using this model’s guidelines.  In search of creating a new model, I stumbled upon someone who already did — Hughes et al’s (2006) RAT or TAR model, as shown below:

It is more simple and elegant because it replaces the ambiguity with an effective clear model.  I suppose that it hasn’t caught on because of the names though.  And although it is elegant, I still have a gripe with this model.  While there can be replacement, amplification, and transformation, it is missing what I see all too often and that is a level above Replacement (in RAT) or below Substitution (in SAMR) that would indicate bad substitution or poor replacement.

I see educators using the latest, greatest thing that is just not that. They employ fads and gimmicks – something that might wow the people for a flash in time, but that is actually detracting from the task at hand and inevitably the learning.  An example of this might be using a handwriting app on the iPad.  Sure it is replacement, but it is BAD REPLACEMENT.  Handwriting should be done with a pencil (a real one) or pen and paper.  The texture, the cost, the simplicity of using traditional methods makes this the best solution.  Why are we trying to use technology in this case?

Therefore, I might argue that we use a combination of the models with the necessary add-on and call it the RARP or P-RAR model.  The same definitions apply for the top three sections.  The new addition – POOR SUBSTITUTION — speaks for itself:

PRAR or RARP model

P-RAR or RARP model

One will notice the colors in the model have meaning now as well.

RED means don’t do it.

YELLOW is cautionary, which should indicate that an employer of technology should ask themselves if their course of action is the best way to go.

LIGHT-GREEN is for go.  Do it.  It will enhance learning and the learner.

DARK-GREEN is for go as well — only with enthusiasm.

I will be coming back to this model with more ideas and revisions as time goes on.  For now, write your thoughts about the P-RAR model in the comments.


Posted by on September 30, 2015 in Technology


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