Easier Than A Ruler: How We Are Climbing The SAMR Ladder

By David Kwan

Yesterday, Cara Senger shared the following pics on Twitter and exclaimed, "the "show your work" option in @goformative is working out great for transformations! #easierthanaruler."

We got especially excited when we saw that hashtag because it suggests that in some cases, our digital draw tool actually gives students an "edge" in showing their thinking (no pun intended). It also encourages our efforts to provide a tool that doesn't just act as a substitute for what is already possible without tech, but creates new possibilities.

There's actually a scale for how much a tech tool changes the way students learn in a classroom and the possibilities it creates. It's called the SAMR model and can be thought of as a ladder, from tech acting as a direct tool substitute for traditional learning experiences to redefining them. Here it's compared to different coffee orders and while they are not exactly the same, we think  it helps convey the model:


Teachers who are using the live responses they gather with Formative to make meaningful changes to future learning activities are realizing our tool's potential for modification (significant task redesign). And while making it easier for students to draw transformations in math class doesn't exactly lead to redefinition (where new learning tasks are possible), it's continuing to motivate us to provide tools that can.

Cara's students used our straight-line draw tool! What other drawing tools can we provide to help your students express their thinking? What tools can we provide to help you explore new learning tasks with your students? Feel free to comment below, message us over the site, or tweet to us at @goformative.