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Diffusion of Innovations: A Useful Model for Understanding and Managing the Technology Uplift for Teaching and Learning in Organisations.

Casey, Leo (2013) Diffusion of Innovations: A Useful Model for Understanding and Managing the Technology Uplift for Teaching and Learning in Organisations. In: EdTech 2013 The 14th Educational Technology Conference of the Irish Learning Technology Association (ILTA), May 30th and 31st, 2013, Cork. (Submitted)

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At national and institutional level and across all sectors of education there is considerable capital investment in the technical infrastructure for learning. The task of broadband enablement in schools, and the provision of wireless connectivity and adequate learning management systems for our colleges and universities, is well underway. The engineers have done their bit! However, relative to these advances there seems little by way of dramatic upheaval in teaching and learning practices in many organisations. Pockets of good practice – yes; but large-scale reforms and improvements are still some way off. One reason may be the absence or paucity of frameworks for understanding the processes whereby individuals and organisations respond to technology innovation. ‘Diffusion of Innovations’ provides an explanation of how innovations are adopted by a particular target group. An ‘innovation’ is a new behaviour, process or technology or combination of these. Everett Rogers first devised the approach in the 1980s and since then it has been applied to many fields including technology and education. A key insight from Rogers was his focus on the idea of changes in practice that arise as a result of innovation. His approach was to provide insights on how these changes are communicated within a group or organisation. This notion of ‘diffusion’ is particularly apt for a school or college context. An investigation of teacher responses to the opportunities afforded by broadband connectivity is used to illustrate the potential of this approach. Interviews were conducted with teachers in an inner-city Dublin school as part of the evaluation of an exemplar project on school support. Diffusion of innovations provided a framework to describe processes whereby individuals (in this case teachers) make decisions, reinvent innovations to suit their needs and shape their approach based on where they are at and what they would like to achieve. Five qualities influence diffusion and thereby influence innovation: relative advantage, compatibility with existing values and practices, simplicity and ease of use, trial-ability and observable results. Each of these was found in the analysis of teacher interviews. The implications of this research extend beyond the school setting and provide valuable insights on how organisations in all education settings can structure professional development and support to facilitate meaningful uplift in teaching and learning practices as a result of technical enhancement.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects / Types of education > E-Learning
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > ZA Information resources > ZA4150 Computer Network Resources > The Internet > World Wide Web
T Technology > TK Electrical engineering. Electronics. Nuclear engineering > Telecommunications > The Internet > World Wide Web
Divisions: Centre For Research and Innovation in Learning and Teaching Publications
Depositing User: Timothy Lawless
Date Deposited: 28 Mar 2014 09:07
Last Modified: 21 May 2018 09:45

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