TIM and SAM R the ones who killed TPACK

Comparing technology integration models

While I have never used any of these before, I have studied them in detail in preparation for a potential tech integration role when I was out recruiting last year. The FDR school in Lima, Peru, for example, uses the TIM model for measuring and quantifying technology integration. Below is an exercise in comparing and contrasting three tech integration models: the Technology Integration Matrix (TIM), Technology Pedagogical and Content Knowledge (TPACK), and Dr. Puentedura’s Substitution, Augmentation, Modification and Redefinition (SAMR) model.

Which one is best?

The answer, naturally, depends largely on context. As an aspiring leader, my inclination is to think about the entire system and how might they jive with a mindset of small, incremental changes rather than another full-blown ‘initiative’. I see the TIM framework with the most potential.

I like that it can be used both as a tool for reflection and goal-setting, and as the FDR school noticed, it lends quite nicely to a quantifiable measurement. There are five different “independent characteristics of learning environments”: active, collaborative, constructive, authentic, and goal-directed. These characteristics should be nurtured even without the consideration of how tech integration is taking place. Lastly, I like how teachers working with this model might have the opportunity to decide which characteristics to focus on; teacher agency is an essential component of staff morale.

How am I doing?

As I suspected at the start of COETAIL, I have always been a strong technology integrator — mostly by my inclination to try out new technology than by design.

A example from early in my career: I was a Grade 8 Science teacher at the American School of Rio de Janeiro on my first two years out of college. As soon as I found out the units I was teaching, I started looking at ways of making them more fun. The video below is an examplke of what the Physics unit (forces and motion) became.


At my request, the school purchased a set for the computer lab (remember those?) of a game called Roller Coaster Tycoon III. The objectve of the game is to create and manage a theme park including each of the rides in it. For my Grade 8 students, the objective was to create a roller coaster (which required knowledge of friction coefficients, kinetic and potential energy) and then record a video of it being ridden in first person, like in the video above. The game actually provided specs that students could use for all calculations involving knematic equations that were part of the unit, and students had to speak to those (and other concepts) at their final assessment: a presentation to the class.

Needless to say, the unit was blast to teach and for the students. It lands in the “Redefinition” part of the SAMR model, as students are using technology to learn in a way inconveicable without this particular game. Some elements could be replicated with a marble/toothpick coaster, or something more elaborate, like the Sand Marble Rally. However, the game provided some readily available data for students to use in their learning which analog tech would not be able to deliver.

On my last year in Brazil, I began a graduate certificate in technology integration. This helped me shift my thinking from “making things more fun” to connecting technology to standards in a UbD approach.

The tech used in the unit also hits some of the transformatonal elements of the Technology Integration Matrix. The off-the-shelf game was not intended for educational uses, which probably qualifies its use in my Physics unit as unconventional, The project was collaborative, but the tech tool itself didn’t have that purpose, so I’m say N/A for “Collaborative”. It was “Constructive” because the entire process of building a roller coaster was embedded in learning directly connected to unit standards. It was authentic because it connected to a real, out-of-the-classroom activity most, if not all students, had already experienced. The long-term nature of the project required several planning skills, like setting interim deadlines. The game itself wasn’t designed to do so, but I used Moodle to keep track of student progress.

What I like about these models, in particular the Technology Integration Matrix and the SAMR model, is that they are quick references for teachers to direct their choice of tech. Start with the why, then figure out the best tech to get there. From a systems-level perspective, it allows school leaders and tech integrators to identify gaps and strengths in the overall program, and then design interventions to address them or spotlight practice that should be celebrated.

Apologies for the Tupac pun on the title.


2 thoughts on “TIM and SAM R the ones who killed TPACK

  1. Hi Luis! I love the Tupac pun on the title!

    I am also glad I read your blog post this week because I kind of forgot about the Technology Integration Model. I was introduced to this model a few years ago in a class I was taking online. Reading your post got me to go back to the website https://fcit.usf.edu/matrix/ and find all the good resources they provide. The sample lessons and videos help one see how each step on the matrix would look in the classroom. The website is a great place to start when looking for tech integration ideas!

    When I read your blog posts, I can see that you are further along than I am in my journey to rich technology integration, but I appreciate your posts because I can learn a lot from you. Thanks for reminding me of the TIM framework and helping me find that resource again. Super helpful!

  2. Hi Luiz!

    Your title definitely got my attention, even though I didn’t make the connection with Tupac’s murder (!) but a colleague, and Google, filled me in. As a Teacher-Librarian, I am well aware that a poor title will make material invisible to the audience, but your blog post title is cleverly catchy! (I am here, aren’t I?). And I am pleased it did the job, as your great infographic on  “Comparing technology integration models” has been really helpful to me: you managed to give a short informative summary for each of the 3 technology frameworks while comparing them in terms of use and results.

    I started going through Matt Harris’ International EdTech Blog’s long list of the better-known Educational Technology standards and frameworks: it is very interesting but quite overwhelming.
    I was very impressed to read about how involved you were with educational technology right from the early stages of your teacher’s career.  I bet those students loved gaming and programming for their physics’ class. I see that you keep evolving in that journey, and this is inspiring too. Being at a different level, still needing to upgrade my game (but not good at gaming!), it is very helpful to read your simple and articulate explanations on successfully integrating technology in schools. Thanks!


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