Understanding Technology Integration: A Brief Examination of SAMR, TIM, and TPACK

In the article Technology, Models, and 21st – Century Learning: How Models, Standards, and Theories Make Learning Powerful by Dr. David Marcovitz and Natalie Janiszewski, M.Ed. (2015), the reader is introduced to several models used to improve educators’ integration of technology. The integrative technology models discussed include several widely-used models, which are: SAMR, TPACK, Technology Integration Matrix or TIM, TPACK, and Bloom’s Taxonomy, and trudacot.

The readers are provided with ways to combine all five models to create a meaningful and effective learning environment. The various sections of the article outlined how to extend the models in order to improve its effectiveness. For example, the authors discussed how to move from a tool-centered approach which focuses mainly on the technology applications to a purpose-centered approach, which is centered on higher-order thinking.

In the article Integrating Technology into Instructional Practice, authors Eric Sheninger and Weston Kieschnick (2018) discussed how educators can purposefully integrate technology in order to achieve optimal results. The article focused in only three models: SAMR, TPACK, and TIM; however, the piece did include the Rigor/Relevance Framework, which is an action-oriented continuum for teachers to develop instruction, assessment and learning goals both with and without the use of technology (Sheninger & Kieschnick, 2018).

One of the most notable models for technology integration, the SAMR model developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura, examines how technology is integrated from a hierarchical perspective and how it enhances learning. SAMR stands for Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition and includes simple substitution or modification at the lower levels of integration and transformative integration at the higher levels (Sheninger & Kieschnick, 2018).

The model is divided into “above the line” and “below the line” applications and the goal is for teachers to aspire to and learners to achieve above the line use of technology (Sheninger & Kieschnick, 2018). Educators suggest that SAMR focuses too much on technology and integration is often to simply save teachers’ time. However, when combined with a model of learning SAMR can students use technology in more meaningful ways. The SAMR framework, is essentially focuses on levels of use of educational technology and is a great model for determining when, how, and why technology should be integrated.

The Technology Integration Matrix or TIM incorporates five levels of technology integration with five characteristics of the learning environment. Developed at the Center for Instructional Technology at the University of South Florida and adapted by the Arizona K12 Center in 2012, TIM does not focus solely on technology tools, but also on how a powerful learning environment can be influenced by meaningful technology (Marcovitz; Janiszewski, 2015).

Each level of integration illustrates what technology use looks like rudimentary level, up to the most transformative technology usage level. The vertical axis of TIM focuses on five characteristics of the learning environment which include: active, collaborative, constructive, authentic, and goal-oriented (Marcovitz; Janiszewski, 2015).

The basis of the horizontal axis is based on the progression with the technology described by Sandholtz, Ringstaff, and Dwyer (1997) which include:


These five stages provide insight on integration of technology as well as provide a pathway for growth. Below is a snapshot of the TIMS five stages.

Entry refers to the initial use of technology tools to deliver content to students. This is teacher-directed/focused.

Adoption refers to teachers having the ability to direct students in the use of technology tools. This is also teacher-directed/focused.

Adaptation refers to teachers acting as facilitators to help students find ways to use technology independently. This is moving towards the student-directed approach.

Infusion occurs when students and teacher are comfortable with the integration of technology to the point that the teacher can define a learning objective and students are able to choose the appropriate technology tools to achieve it.

Transformation occurs when the teacher encourages innovative use of technology tools and uses technology tools to enable higher-order learning activities not possible without the technology.

Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge or TPACK framework outlines the interconnectedness to three primary forms of knowledge:


Extended from Shulman’s concept of Pedagogical Content Knowledge, TPACK views technology knowledge is mastered once content and pedagogical knowledge has been mastered (Marcovitz & Janiszewski, 2015). TPACK is achieved when all three domains successfully come together. Furthermore, the successful integration of technology using TPACK is understood based on the context of the content and the pedagogy being used.

Both articles were written to help educators evaluate the use technology and determine how to integrate them in to the instructional environment – both the teaching and learning. It appears that the goal of both articles was to describe how technology can be used to improve teaching and learning and not used just for the sake of it. Each article started with an introduction to the frameworks/models used to integrate technology followed by examples.

There was much overlap between the information within the two articles which primarily discussed the same three main models: SAMR, TPACK, and TIM. However, Marcovitz and Janiszewki (2015), described how to purposely and effectively combine the models. For example, the authors discussed the creation of the Padagogy Wheel which is the combination of SAMR and Bloom’s Taxonomy in efforts to create higher-order learning. Furthermore, in Technology, Models, and 21st – Century Learning: How Models, Standards, and Theories Make Learning Powerful by Dr. David Marcovitz and Natalie Janiszewski, M.Ed. (2015), the authors focused on combining five models, which could be a bit overwhelming especially for a novice educator such as myself.

In contrast, Integrating Technology into Instructional Practice provided a more detailed and simplistic analysis of the three models. Additionally, I appreciated how the authors also provided examples of applications and graphics that would appeal to the reader. The final section of the article discussed five steps to integrating technology that is rigorous and relevant for the learners. This portion of the article was extremely useful because it provided a quick blueprint on what educators should know about technology and its impact on the learning environment and real-world application. Overall, both articles were well written and provided enough information and resources about the three models and helped me understand which model would be best once I become the facilitator.

Based on the readings and additional research, I believe that TIM would be most suitable for the adult learning environment where I am the facilitator. I appreciate how TIM is not a “one size fits all” approach. Instead, the facilitator can use the matrix in a way that supports learners at all stages or entry points without compromising the goal to increase higher-order thinking. Furthermore, it can be easily combined with other technology integration models, if necessary, in order to achieve optimal results for both the teacher and learner.

The matrix supports differentiation and will allow me to integrate technology beginning with teacher-directed activities to student-directed activities. In other words, technology integration slowly goes from teacher-facilitated to student-directed while encouraging learners to become more responsible for their learning during each of the five levels (Jonassen, Howland, Moore; Marra, R., 2003). For example, I could initially facilitated instruction using an overhead projector, PowerPoint or video (Entry level of integration) which is a comfortable starting point for an adult learning environment-especially those returning to school after an extended period away.

However, the goal is to move from lower or conventional levels of integration to complex or higher-order level thinking. I want to be able to put my students in the driver’s seat, and TIM allows me to gradually get them there. So once a learner has reached the transformative level they have the option to use different or unconventional technology tools based on what works for them.

TIM integration is easy to follow. Furthermore, there are additional resources available to assist educators with preparing to use and navigating TIM. These resources include the Technology Integration Matrix Lesson Observation Tool (TIM-O) which is a tool that can be used for formative feedback, peer coaching, or professional development (TIM evaluation tools, 2018).

There is also the Lesson Plan Review Tool (TIM-LP) which was designed to guide the school principals, curriculum specialists/master teachers and direct facilitators through the process of evaluating the level of technology integration and its effectiveness within a particular lesson plan (TIM evaluation tools, 2018). Having access to these additional tools is what makes TIM for distinctive and appealing to my teaching philosophy. As a new educator, I appreciate how TIM provides descriptors for how student and teacher activities should take place or consist of. Furthermore, it breaks down the complexity of each levels which will allow me to facilitate in a manner that is effective for me and the learner.

TIM encourages both the teacher and student take ownership of the learning. During my time in this program, I have realized that adult learners thrive when they have some ownership of their learning. Furthermore, TIM would allow me to integrate both conventional and complex technology tools which will be useful for a diverse adult learning environment. This will ensure that my learners will have access to technology based on their entry level and exposure to more complex tools to prepare them for future usage (in order to achieve that higher-order thinking).

There are no rules for integrating technology. However, the most effective teachers understand when, how, and why technology is being used, does not use it to save time or simplify their lessons and integrates technology in order to achieve optimal levels of higher-ordered learning.


Jonassen, D., Howland J., Moore, J., & Marra, R. (2003). Learning to solve problems with technology: A constructivist perspective (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill Prentice Hall.
Marcovitz, D. M., Janiszewski, N. (2015). Technology, models, and 21st – century learning: how models, standards, and theories make learning powerful. Retrieved from https://udc.blackboard.com/sessions/D683640F52B5810C156C82AA187FB186/a6d1db7ccf5a4bac8dafbb580e41d854/ModelsofTechIntegration.pdf
Sheninger, E.C., Kieschnick, W. (2018). Integrating technology into instructional practice: using the rigor/relevance framework as the primary tool for success blended learning. Retrieved from http://leadered.com/pdf/
TIM evaluations tools. (2018). Retrieved from http://www.apastyle.org/learn/faqs/web-page-no-author.aspx

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