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Middle Level Example of SAMR

Page history last edited by Ed Barry 11 years, 2 months ago

Enhancement to Transformation:

An Ecosystem Example

Middle School



Substitution Tech acts as a direct tool substitute, with no functional change (Enhancement)


Students study various ecosystems through the use of computer simulations and by watching videos from various Internet sites on topics ranging from the Food Chain to the Water Cycle.  Students, working in pairs, selected their “favorite” ecosystem and, after doing Internet research, made a PowerPoint presentation to class.


Augmentation Tech acts as a direct tool substitute, with functional improvement (Enhancement)


After doing initial research on the Internet, students learned more about important concepts by working with several teacher-made “smart board” lessons. They manipulated symbols on the “smart board” to show how the Water Cycle, the Carbon Oxygen Cycle and Food Chains functioned. They collected images from magazines and scanned them into folders on their computers.  The images were used in a Photo Story presentation to demonstrate their understanding of the important concepts in the unit.


Modification Tech allows for significant task redesign (Transformation) 


After an initial introduction to the major concepts in the study of ecosystems by their teacher, students identified “back yard” ecosystems and through these mini ecosystems studied the important concepts in the functioning of a balanced ecosystem.  Working in teams, they recorded events and changes with digital cameras and camcorders using time-lapse when possible and feasible.  They used digital probes to record fluctuations in temperature, moisture and light. They blog daily about the functioning of their system and recorded important information in a class wiki that their teacher set up so they could compare and contrast the changes in their ecosystems. For their final presentation they used a variety of technological tools including making digital stories, Glogster posters, and using “Scratch” authoring language to demonstrate what they had learned by creating interactive games, stories, animations or music.


RedefinitionTech allows for the creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable (Transformation)


In this project students from communities that border the Lamoille River collaborate in a joint study to better understand how the river ecosystem has in the past and will in the future influence and impact their lives. Each participating school is made up of six to eight teams each in a collaborative study with students from the other schools.  Student select topics that interest them, including recreation, history, pollution, commerce, etc., and view these through the lens of their impact on the river ecosystem, past, present and future.


Student teams join forces with employees of the Departments of Fish and Wildlife & Natural Resources, the Vermont River Conservancy and scientists from a nearby college to identify and collect data on issues of importance to the present health of the river ecosystem. Teams meet weekly via the Learning Network of Vermont video conferencing system with their experts and their lead teacher who is one of the teachers from the participating schools. Students communicate and collaborate using a Wiki.  Individual teams meet regularly using Skype. Survey Monkey is used collect and record data about community members’ use of the river as well as their attitudes about the care and health of it. Information is stored in a database where it can be analyzed and studied.


Students use digital probes, digital cameras and camcorders or other digital devices to collect data. They upload their images to Flickr and movies to YouTube so they can be shared with the public. In some communities, students set up a Voice Thread and invite community participation in collecting data and/or sharing their knowledge of specific issues related to the health of the river ecosystem. In other communities, students start a Ning social network on the river and invite community members to join in the conversations regarding the health of the river.

To assist in their research, the teams plot different points on the river using use GPS technology and enter it into Google Maps/Earth for visualization purposes.


Using a digital story format, students prepare presentations and recommendations to appropriate the Department of Natural Resources, state-wide committees as well as the appropriate House and Senate Legislative Committees who’s job it is to be stewards of the river.


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