The teacher – our focal perspective

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The theory that I find most helpful to interpret and predict the change of an individual’s behaviour with digital technologies over time is based on Concerns Based Adoption Model (CBAM proposed by Hall and Hord, 19**), that was simplified and applied to digital technologies in education by Sherry and Gibson and called the Learning/Adoption Trajectory (LAT).

CBAM serves to highlight that the current concern(s) of each individual are the first clue to guide predictions on how that teacher will adopt a particular innovation such as an item of software into their practice and fit it into the ecology managed for a class of learners. These concerns change with time as the teacher moves from needing information about the innovation considered for adoption (or rejection) to exploring how to manage the innovation within the ecology designed for learners. CBAM (see an overview of the National Academies in the USA) has four main stages that can inform individuals and those aiming to support them: ** Sherry and Gibson’s Learning/Adoption Trajectory (LAT) (2000; 2002) rephrase these four stages for the adoption and found one more for teachers who become leaders in the final stage that support and often ‘evangelise’ on the benefits that digital technologies can bring to learning ecologies: (a) teacher as learner, (b) teacher as adopter, (c) teacher as co-learner, (d) teacher as reaffirmer or rejecter, and (e) teacher as leader. (Sherry & Gibson, 2002)

This is our first and focal perspective because the teacher is the ‘keystone species’ for every learner’s ecology (not the learner unless he or she is self-taught), because teachers are the people who design and maintain the most important aspects of educational ecologies. Having said this, the fit of each specific digital technology with the concerns of individual teachers as they move through the stages of adoption is the other side of the equation and a different theory is used that characterises successful innovations in the next section. Then following sections on the change agent, the organisation and the system illustrate theories that are relevant to those perspectives.

Resources on CBAM and LAT, a selection:

  1. The Concerns-Based Adoption Model (CBAM): A Model for Change in Individuals
  2. Barry Sweeny (2003). The CBAM: A Model of the People Development Process Retrieved from
  3. NSDC (2008). What concerns do you have? Aimed at US school principals to read and use.
  4. Sherry, L., & Gibson, D. (2002). The path to teacher leadership in educational technology. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education [Online serial], 2(2). Available:
  5. Sherry, L., Billig, S., Tavalin, F., & Gibson, D. (2000). New insights in technology adoption in schools. T.H.E. Journal, 27(7), 43-46.