Tech Framework Alphabet Soup: TPACK, SAMR, and TIM explained!

Technology is best taught within the context of the core curriculum. The natural use of authentic technology within the classroom setting, just like the way we use paper and pencil without any second thoughts, is always what we should be striving for.

– Kim Cofino (We are all technology teachers).

Introduction: For our explorations this week, we were tasked with looking at three different frameworks for technology integration. As mentioned in the post title, they all have snazzy letter combinations: TPACK, SAMR, and TIM. What are these you might ask? Let me explain.

1. TPACK = Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge.

This framework provides a model for classroom teaching that seamlessly integrates technology. Effective teaching occurs at the place where technological knowledge, content knowledge, and pedagogical knowledge intersect.


2. SAMR = Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition. 

This model explains the process through which teachers grow in their ability to use technology in the classroom. As teachers become more comfortable and adept with edtech, their use of technology becomes more transformative and creative.

3. TIM = Technology Integration Matrix. 

The Technology Integration Matrix shows how teachers might progress in their tech use along a continuum from more basic to more advanced uses. As tech use becomes more transformative in a classroom, the learning environment becomes more active, collaborative, constructive, authentic, and goal-directed.

Reflection Questions:

1. How are the different frameworks for technology integration similar to and different from each other? The frameworks are similar in that they all describe how technology could be deeply embedded and integrated into the classroom. Both SAMR and TIM describe the journey that teachers take as they deepen their understanding of successful technology integration practices. The three frameworks are different with regards to the language that they use to describe what meaningful technological integration looks like.

2. Are there other frameworks that you have used in your school? I have not used any other frameworks at my school, and in fact, I have not seen any of these frameworks discussed at my school before. Although, I don’t teach in the tech/makerspace/art department, so perhaps that’s why. But, after reading the articles assigned this week, I’m realizing that this may an area of weakness at my school. As Kim Cofino said in the article quoted above, “we are all technology teachers now.”

I do remember someone in COETAIL mentioning PICRAT though. More acronyms! Why is the field of education filled with so many acronyms? That’s a question for another day for sure.

PICRAT = passive, interactive, creative, replaces, amplifies, transforms. In this framework, teachers move along a matrix from using technology for replacement and passive purposes to more transformative and creative purposes. Which then moves students from passive receivers of information to active constructors of ideas.

3. Do you prefer one of the frameworks over the others? Why? I like the SAMR model the best. It’s easy for me to understand and the progression of skills from Substitution to Redefinition seems clear. Here’s a quick little video that I found that explains SAMR more in-depth. (Source: Youtube, or

4. What does technology integration look like in your classroom? I use technology for a lot of different purposes in a lot of different ways. Some ways that I have integrated technology into my classroom recently include:

  • Having EAL students use Chrome extensions like Google Translate, Grammarly, and Immersive Reader to help them with translanguaging.

  • Using Book Creator to write books about Social Justice Heroes.

  • Using Flipgrid to have students respond to discussion prompts and share ideas with each other.

  • Giving recorded feedback and comments to students on shared Google Docs using Mote.

  • Asking kids to share their semester goals on a Padlet.

  • Sharing videos on Edpuzzle with students to help them learn concepts like story elements.

  • Creating leveled text sets for students to read on the Newsela and GetEpic apps.

  • Using Adobe Sketch to have students create a piece of digital art to support a poem they wrote.

5. Using one (or multiple) of the frameworks, how would you evaluate your own practice of technology integration? I’d say it’s pretty decent. If I was to use the SAMR model to evaluate my practice, I would say that I use technology to both enhance and transform the learning that occurs in my classroom. There’s a decent amount of tech integration going on across the board, and tech is used in many different ways.

Could I be more purposeful about using tech for transformative purposes? Yes, absolutely. It’s a good thing I’ve got Course 5 in COETAIL coming up to think about just that:)

6. How has your practice changed over time? I’ve come a long way in the past decade or so as a teacher. When I started teaching overseas in Abu Dhabi in 2012, every classroom had a Smartboard. And that was about it in terms of tech. We used a textbook to guide most of our learning.

Now, my students are all working 1:1 with devices, and we use so many different apps and extensions and programs for so many different purposes and uses that’s it’s hard to name them all.

And, of course, being in COETAIL for the past six months has pushed me to think about tech integration in a decidedly conscious and thoughtful way.

7. How do your beliefs and practices fit into your school’s vision for learning? My school’s vision for learning is guided by five learning principles:

  1. Purpose

  2. Wonder

  3. Community

  4. Ownership

  5. Diversity

My beliefs and practices around tech integration fit nicely with my school’s vision for learning. Successful tech integration in the classroom (as outlined in TIM) provides students with increasing ownership over their learning.

I love these visuals from the TIM site to explain how learning changes when students are given opportunities for voice and choice via technology.



What do you think, dear reader? How do you use technology to give your students more ownership over their learning?