Becoming A Tech SAMuRai

Over the past year, I’ve had the amazing opportunity to speak at a variety of physical education conferences and events. It seems that everywhere I go, teachers are talking about integrating technology into their teaching. However, for a lot of the teachers who are new to the idea, getting started with tech in your teaching can be a pretty intimidating undertaking.

If you’re looking to get started with technology in your teaching, here are some teachers I recommend you connect with:

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Jarrod is THE PE Geek. His influential blog,, has inspired thousands to adopt technology into their teaching. Jarrod’s ideas and work have had a huge impact on my own teaching… and I sometimes wonder if he may actually be from the future. Either way, if you’re one of the two people who haven’t checked out his blog yet, be sure to go check it out!

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Nathan, my podcast partner, has done some amazing work with technology in his teaching. His blog,, has a whole section dedicated to the integration of technology in physical education pedagogy and is definitively worth checking out.

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Blue Jay is an incredible teacher from Canada who has used technology in a variety of ways in his PE program. Blue’s work has been featured on ParticipACTION and CBC, and he has spoken at various physical education events (including the 2013 MPETA-PHE Canada National Conference) on different ways of using technology in physical education. All that aside, Blue is a great guy… so be sure to connect with him on Twitter!

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I view Adam, Naomi, and Matt as the gurus of Google Apps for Education (GAFE) in physical education. The trio collaborate on their website, which features a bunch of “how to” videos on all things GAFE. Don’t be shy to connect with them if you’re looking to use Google Apps in your teaching!

I have no doubt that this amazing bunch of #pegeeks (i.e. physical educators who integrate technology into their teaching) will have your brain buzzing with tech ideas in no time. But where do you go from there? How can you start including technology into your teaching?

There is a way… the way of the SAMuRai (laugh all you want, I thought it was clever).

The SAMR Model

Via Dr. Ruben Puentedura, Ph.D.

The SAMR model, created by Dr. Ruben Puentedura, offers a progression for teachers looking to adopt technology in their teaching and their students’ learning. The model’s name is an acronym for Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition. Let’s take a look at each of the four levels of SAMR.

1. Substitution
At this first level, the idea is to substitute old technology with new technology. However, the new tech serves the exact same function as the old tech.

For example, if your students were to create a video of their gymnastics routine, instead of using a video camera to record their routine, they could replace that technology with a tablet (e.g. iPad or Android device).

2. Augmentation
At this level, the new technology will begin to bring a few new functionalities to the task.

For example, rather than having to plug their video camera into the teacher’s computer to upload their video, students can now share their video with their teacher via Dropbox or Google Drive.

3. Modification
Now the technology is really starting to enhance the task by redesigning certain aspects of it.

At this level, students could start using apps like Coach’s Eye to analyze their group’s gymnastics routine. By using the app’s built-in features, the students could produce an annotated video in which they highlight and discuss the different elements of their routine. The annotated video could then be used by the teacher as evidence to help better their assessment of their students’ learning.

4. Redefinition
At this level, the new technology allows for new tasks that could not have existed without it.

Students could now create gymnastics routine videos using an app like iMovie. These videos could then be uploaded and shared via YouTube with other students from around the world. By doing so, students could have their work assessed and be provided with feedback from students living on different continents than their own (similar to what Andy Vasily has accomplished in the past).

So what do you think? Could the SAMR help you get started with technology in your teaching? Are you willing to be a SAMuRai (again, I’m sorry)? Let me know what you think of the SAMR model or any experiences you’ve had with it in the comments below!

Thanks for reading and happy teaching!

Joey Feith is a physical education teacher from Canada and the founder of Be sure to never miss out on any of’s future posts by connecting with us via RSS, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Email.


Joey Feith is the founder of He currently teaches elementary physical education at St. George’s School of Montreal in Quebec, Canada.