Light blue background with an illustration of a group of diverse people gathered and interacting with technology.

SAMR and TPACK: Two Models to Help With Integrating Technology Into Your Courses

Authors: Dr. Tyson Kendon, PhD, and Lorelei Anselmo

This resource showcases how two technology models, SAMR and TPACK, can be used to intentionally integrate technology into your courses to support your students’ success and enhance their learning experience.


When integrating technology into your courses, consider the following:

Digital literacy

Consider your and your students' knowledge of, comfort with, and access to different learning technologies.

Class size

Reflect on the number of students in your course and how best to integrate technology into student-centred activities and assessments.

Student feedback

Ask for anonymous feedback periodically from your students in order to ensure the technologies are supporting students to meet their learning outcomes.

Evaluating Learning Technology

Both TPACK and SAMR can be helpful as reflective tools to consider technology's role in your teaching. There are several potential impacts to consider when evaluating a tool to integrate into your teaching. 

A Rubric for Selecting Active Learning Technologies, by Bush, Cormier and Anthony (2022), can be used to help consider those impacts in a systematic way and may make it easier to decide if a particular technology is a feasible and helpful addition to your teaching tools.

Substitution, Augmentation, Modification and Redefinition (SAMR) Model

The SAMR Model is a four-level taxonomy that describes how technology impacts teaching and learning. The SAMR model can be used to design, implement, and evaluate learning experiences (Arantes, 2022).

Figure 1: The four levels of the SAMR Model each build on the use of technology of the previous levels and divided into those changes where technology enhances teaching and those changes where technology transforms teaching.

“Explanation of the SAMR Model” by Lefflerd is licensed under CC-BY-SA-4.0 

SAMR Model - Four Levels

The SAMR model illustrates how technology can be integrated into a task with the intention to modify learning by transforming from the lower levels to enhancing at the upper levels (Hamilton et. al, 2016).

Using the SAMR model does not require reaching the top level for every task. Each level has its own purpose and deciding which level to achieve depends on the learning outcome of the task and the reasons for integrating the technology.

Bates (2019) describes the differences in SAMR levels in this way:

In this level one form of technology is substituted for another with no functional change.

Example: A video recording of a classroom lecture on water quality is made available for downloading by students. Students are assessed on the content of the lecture by written exams at the end of the course.

In this level, the technology substitution changes the function of the task.

Example: The video lecture is embedded in a Learning Management System (LMS), and edited into four sections, with online multiple-choice questions at the end of each section for students to answer.

In this level, technology integration results in a significant redesign of the task.

Example: The instructor provides video recordings of water being tested. The instructor asks students to analyze each of the recordings in terms of the principles taught in the course, in the form of essay-type questions that are assessed.

In this level, technology is used to create a new task that would not be possible without the technology.

Example: The instructor provides readings and online guidance through the LMS. Students are asked to use their phones to record how they selected samples of water for testing quality and integrate their findings and analysis in the form of an e-portfolio of their work.

In the first two levels, substitution and augmentation, video is used to enhance the method of teaching and learning but it is only where the video is used in the final two stages, modification and redefinition, that learning is transformed.

A central question to ask when using the SAMR model is; at what level can the learning outcome be achieved while providing learners with a valuable student experience?


  • Promotes digital literacy throughout the four levels of the model.
  • Provides the instructor with opportunities to learn and experiment with new technologies, which may enhance their teaching practice.
  • Allows the instructor to scaffold their assignment from being instructor-led to slowly removing supports, so students can practice and learn on their own.

Guiding question: How can the SAMR model be used to enhance the learner experience?

  • Technological: Be mindful to make an appropriate choice of devices and tools. Be prepared to ensure the design is compatible with different devices and to provide support to students, if required .
  • Pedagogical: Be sure to incorporate the technology into the graded assignments and assessments for your course. This ensures full learner awareness of the technological requirements and the learning benefits to students.
  • Equitable: Be aware that not all students have access to the same technological devices. Inquire about your students’ technology access to ensure that there are no barriers to student success.

Guiding question: How accessible and easy to use is the technology or technological tool for the instructor and for the students to learn?

  • Critical thinking skills: The SAMR model provides opportunities for students to engage in deeper critical thinking skills as they “move up the ladder” to higher levels of learning with technology.
  • Technological skills: Using the SAMR model allows students the freedom to experiment with technological tools that enhance their learning.
  • Self-regulated skills: Integrating the SAMR model into your course gives students the space to develop self-regulated skills as the higher SAMR levels require learners to reimagine a task using technology.

Guiding question: How can the learning experience be improved by integrating technology? What is it about that specific technology or tool that will enhance student learning?

Ask yourself these questions before integrating technology into your courses:

  • Is there a functional improvement in the assignment or assessment from using technology?
  • What is the purpose of integrating technology?
  • Which level of the SAMR model would you like to reach?

Case studies

SAMR and Bloom’s Taxonomy: Assembling the Puzzle

See case study

8 Examples of Transforming Lessons Through the SAMR Cycle (With classroom examples)

See case study

SAMR Model Examples

See case study

Technology, Pedagogy, and Content Knowledge (TPACK) Model

TPACK (Mishra & Koehler, 2006) is a model for thinking about teaching knowledge and how the different types of knowledge a teacher has about the content they are teaching, the ways they teach the content, and the tools they use to support how they teach. TPACK focuses on the overlaps and interactions between these three types of knowledge to highlight seven different types of knowledge about teaching.

Within the broad dashed circle of Contexts, TPACK is made up of three circles representing Pedagogical Knowledge (PK), Technological Knowledge (TK), and Content Knowledge (CK). These three circles have four overlapping areas, representing Technological Pedagogical Knowledge (TPK), Technological, Content Knowledge (TCK), Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) and Technological Pedagogical and Content Knowledge (TPACK).

Figure 2: TPACK describes teachers’ knowledge about content, pedagogy and technology and the overlaps between these types of knowledge that are necessary for teaching in any context.

Reproduced by permission of the publisher, ©2012 by


The TPACK model defines seven types of knowledge that contribute to teaching knowledge.

Describes the knowledge about the topic being taught and associated knowledge.

Example: For a lesson about complementary colours, this might include mini-lectures with examples, quick sketching practice, and gallery walks.

Describes the knowledge about teaching and techniques to help students learn

Example: For a lesson about complementary colours, this might include mini-lectures with examples, quick sketching practice and gallery walks.

Describes the knowledge about the technology being used to teach.

Example: For a lesson about complementary colours, this might include the media being used to draw with. This might also include the tools for the gallery walk either in person (tools for quickly posting up work) or online (an image gallery or discussion forum).

Describes the knowledge about teaching techniques specific to the content.

Example: For a lesson about complementary colours, this might include illustrations to include in a mini-lecture to overcome students’ misconceptions or things to include in the sketching practice to help students understand different aspects of putting colours together.

Describes the knowledge about how to teach with the necessary tools.

Example: For a lesson about complementary colours, this might include the best way to use the media to see the complementary effect and the best way to organize the sketch practice, so that it is simple for students to share their work in the gallery walk.

Describes the knowledge about how the tools work with the content.

Example: For a lesson about complementary colours, this might include how different media shows complementary colours differently and how different tools you could use for the gallery walk will display art differently.

Describes the knowledge about the tools and techniques you use to teach the content.

Example: For a lesson about complementary colours, this includes the practical details of how you share the mini-lecture and examples, how students work on the sketching practice, how the material is gathered for the gallery walk, how the walk is done and how students reflect on what they learned afterwards.

This video provides a quick, 2 minute introduction to the concepts of TPACK.

All TPACK knowledge types are influenced by many contexts, including training, institution, discipline, and community, all of which change how a teacher views and acts on their knowledge (Ling et al, 2014). For a lesson about complementary colours the contexts might include which tools are affordable or provided by the institution, the teacher’s familiarity experience with different media, the ways other teachers might teach the lesson and what other lessons that follow will need from this lesson.

TPACK illuminates the overlaps and links between these types of knowledge in light of the contexts in which you are teaching.

  • How does what you know about your content affect how you choose to teach it and vice-versa (PCK)?
  • How does what you know about your content affect the tools you use when teaching and vice-versa (TCK)?
  • How does what you know about teaching affect the tools you use when teaching and vice-versa (TPK)?
  • Finally, how do all three of these types of knowledge mesh together when you teach (TPACK)?

The TPACK Tension

Think of your knowledge and choices being linked by a string running through the different TPACK knowledge types. As you make choices in each area, consider how it pulls at what you know and must decide in the other areas:

  • If you need to change the content being taught in an activity, how would you change the pedagogy and technology to teach this?
  • If you bring a favourite technology to an existing activity (or have to stop using a technology), how would it change how you teach and what content you choose to include in the activity?
  • If you try a new pedagogy for an activity, how does it influence what you choose to teach and which tools you use to support it?


Include all technological knowledge

Include everything you know about the technology you teach with. Technology isn’t limited to digital, the blackboard, pens, paper, furniture, learning space — and more — all contribute to your technological knowledge. The important factors in all technology are how you are able to use the tools and which tools you prefer using.

Differentiate types of learning

Differentiate technology for learning from learning about technology. If you are teaching about a tool, knowledge about that tool is content knowledge. If you are using the tool you are teaching about to teach as well, then it has elements of both content knowledge and technological knowledge.


  • Promotes critical thinking about teaching knowledge and how to develop teaching practice.
  • Makes the role of technologies in teaching explicit and tangible.
  • Highlights different ways to expand teaching knowledge.
  1. Guiding question

    What non-pedagogical element of your teaching practice would you like to learn more about and how could it impact your teaching?

  • Mapping teaching knowledge on to TPACK requires effort and careful consideration.
  • Bias about aspects of content, pedagogy and technology can make it difficult to evaluate teaching knowledge.
  • Reflection on teaching knowledge through TPACK doesn’t provide explicit next steps in teaching development.
  1. Guiding question

    What would you have to change about what and how you teach, if you stepped into a classroom from 100 years ago? What would you have to change if you stepped into a classroom from 100 years in the future?

  • Change Management – When elements of teaching change, TPACK can help to map what impacts those changes will have. Thinking about TPACK can also help in planning to teach new things.
  • Innovation – TPACK can help instructors see places where new content, a new pedagogical technique or a new technology can fit into their teaching.
  • Accessibility –TPACK can help illuminate other changes in teaching which support students’ needs better.
  1. Guiding question

    How do your students experience how you teach? How would altering the tools you use, change how they experience your teaching and content?

Ask yourself these questions when using TPACK to think about your teaching:

  • What are the links between the content I’m teaching, the techniques I teach with and the tools I use to support that teaching?
  • What can I learn about or practice for each type of knowledge that will impact for my teaching?
  • How does my experience inform each type of knowledge in my teaching and how am I able to use that to support student learning?

Case studies

The TPACK Framework Explained (With Classroom Examples)

See case study

TPACK as a Framework to Facilitate Co-Planning, Teaching and Assessing

See case study

TPACK lesson plan [for 12th Grade English]

See case study

Related content

Using Classroom Technologies to Engage Remote and Face-to-Face Students in the Same Course

Read more »

Five Principles for Meaningful Online Assessment

Read more »


Arantes, J. (2022). The SAMR model as a framework for scaffolding online chat”: A theoretical discussion of the SAMR model as a research method during these “interesting” times. Qualitative Research Journal. (ahead-of-print) 

Bates, A.W. (2019). Teaching in a Digital Age – Second Edition. Vancouver, B.C: Tony Bates Associates Ltd. Retrieved from; (

Brouwer, van der Pol, J., & Dekker, P. J. (2013). e-Learning cookbook. TPACK in professional development in higher education. Amsterdam University Press.

Bush, K., Cormier, M. & Anthony, G. (2022). A rubric for selecting active learning technologies. EDUCAUSE Review.

Drugova, E., Zhuravleva, I., Aiusheeva, M. & Grits, D. (2021). Toward a model of learning innovation integration: TPACK-SAMR based analysis of the introduction of a digital learning environment in three Russian universities. Education and Information Technologies, 26(4), 4925–4942. 

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Harris, Phillips, M., Koehler, M. J., & Rosenberg, J. M. (2017). Editorial 33(3): TPCK/TPACK research and development: Past, present, and future directions. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology33(3).

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