An ecological perspective on change with digital technologies in education

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Professor Niki Davis
Author of this introduction to the course.
Thinking about change with digital technologies in education
He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery.

—Harold Wilson[1]

Digital technologies that currently pervade education are likely to increase the pace of change in association with other factors. Many theories and case studies can be used to inform such change and decrease unexpected and unwelcome impacts, but it has been hard for change agents and others to select the most appropriate theories and to apply more than one at a time.

This introduction brings a range of these theories together by applying ecology as an overarching perspective, which I began about a decade ago (Davis, 2008[2]; 2009[3]).

The purpose of this introduction is to provide a high-level overview of the components of a change ecosystem. Each component will be studied in more detail for the duration of the course. In this course you will study multiple layers of change with Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in education, starting with a personal instance of adopting and ICT innovation, moving through organizational perspectives, into system-wide ecological perspectives of change with ICT in education locally and globally.

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In this introductory unit we will:
  • Introduce the metaphor of an arena to classify the components of a change ecosystem
  • Distinguish between internal and external ecologies
  • Introduce the main ecologies that will be studied during this course.

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Microblog activity
  • Can you think of any examples of technology induced change in education from your own experience as an educator of learner?
  • Why was an important change?

Share your thoughts by posting your ICT change example on Identica Icon.png, twitter or WEnotes and remember to include the "#OERuCDTE" in your post. Tell is why you think the change was important Feel free to post more than one contribution. For example:

  • The overhead projector because the teacher could face the learner rather than writing with back to the class #OERuCDTE.

Note: If you want to say more than the 140 character limit of a microblog post, feel free to use the [URL for open forum tbd open forum] or your personal course blog.


  2. Davis, N. 2008. How may teacher learning be promoted for educational renewal with it. In Voogt, J and Knezek, G (eds.), International Handbook of Information Technology in Primary and Secondary Education, 507–520. Springer.
  3. Missing reference for 2009 publication