Coaching for the SAMR Model

Many of you may be familiar with the SAMR model for integrating technology into instruction. If you haven’t, SAMR is simply a continuum for assessing the depth of how technology is used. SAMR stands for: Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition. To explore those ideas a bit more, check out the SAMR in 120 Seconds video below.

SAMR makes a lot of sense to me as a way to assess how technology is used in a lesson. One of the issues I’ve had with SAMR though is how it relates to coaching. Simply assessing the way technology is used and reporting that to a teacher feels evaluative to me. As I thought about this through the lens of the coach, I wondered how we could shift the SAMR identifiers into coaching questions that would help teachers reflect on the use of technology in their classrooms and engage them in thinking about their next steps.

I worked with my colleague Kathy Bonyun (@literacychick) to develop these differentiate SAMR coaching questions. We used these questions in a digital leadership training we gave in our district, and the questions have since been refined by our district’s digital learning team.

Check them out, and let me know your thoughts. Do any of the questions seem out of place? What would you add? Have you used SAMR as a model for coaching? Share in the comments.

Questions to Shift Your Focus Using the SAMR Model

Technology Implementation Level No Technology Integration Observed S








Characteristics/ Look For’s No indicators observed Work can be completed without the use of technology. Work requires technology to be completed. Work requires students to effectively search for and collect online resources that they share with the teacher and other students. Student work requires technology use so that students can complete tasks previously not available (would have
Coaching Questions to move teacher to the next level Have you considered using (______) to have students write/take notes/read? What would be different?
How could use of your (_____) enhance this lesson?
What forms of technology would engage your students?
Instead of _____, how might you use __________?
Which technology tools might make this task more streamlined?
What might be new technologies that could enhance your lesson?
Have you considered students discussing on blogs or discussion boards? What would be the benefit? What help would you need?
Collecting student data can be time-consuming. Kahoot, Infuse Learning, or Socrative can collect student data. When could you use something like that?
Have you considered making comments on student work digitally?
How could students collaborate digitally?
What are ways that students could integrate multiple media in presentations?
How could you further leverage the use of technology to have students write for real audiences?
Aside from writing, how would your students respond to communicating what they’ve learned through podcasts or video casts?
How could students present to audiences via the web? Could you use Screencasting, Skype, etc?

How would this project change if  students worked in teams to produce a video to demonstrate their research on _____?

What’s next for you?
How can I best support you in pioneering innovation at our school?
What are new technologies that you believe will impact student learning?

**Resources for PLC

Questions for teachers at any level:
Did you hear how your colleague, ______, has ______? What are your thoughts about that?
How would you feel about partnering with our digital learning facilitator/instructional coach/media specialist?
In what ways do you see technology engaging students? How could we possibly utilize that for learning?
Tell me how you felt about your lesson.
How did the use of technology aid students in reaching the learning targets?

6 thoughts on “Coaching for the SAMR Model

  1. Tom

    Hi Kenny,

    That is a great chart. I like how your questions focus on moving teachers to the next level. I’ll definitely be using this.

    Thank you,

  2. Mindy Gold

    Hi Kenny. I found your blog through the #educoach blog challenge. I have used and taught with the SAMR model in a number of instances. I was intrigued by the idea of asking questions to help teachers move to a different level. I wonder what questions would also help teachers focus on distinct learning goals as they move across the SAMR continuum. Something like, “How might modifying the task help you better achieve the learning goal of …?”

  3. Barb Bengtson

    I appreciate the coaching questions–it is often easier to recognize where we are than how to get to the next level! You provide a great guide to support growth. Thank you!

  4. Brett

    I’ve heard a lot about SAMR, but your chart brings it to a whole new level, especially for those of us coaching out there. Thanks for this terrific resource.

  5. Bill Stepien

    Great table design – I especially like the ‘coaching questions’ at the end…

    I’m not sure if you’ve experienced the same things, but when using the SAMR model, I often feel that the difference between ‘A’ and ‘M’ feels like splitting hairs. Have you seen the RAT model? It tries to streamline SAMR a bit. It’s explained in various places, but here’s a thoughtful blog post on it.

    Keep up the good work!


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