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Change with Digital Technologies in Education: An ongoing collection of reviews of change models and theories

Edited by Niki Davis, Distinguished Professor of e-Learning and Director of the University of Canterbury College of Education e-Learning Lab, Aotearoa New Zealand


This is developing into a book to support the University of Canterbury course with the same title 'Change with digital technologies in education' (coded EDEM630).It also aims to be an OER resource written with the students in that course and others who may be interested in this topic, including the expert authors who are summarised with luck!

The construction began in 2009 and it moved to WikiEducator in February 2011. It remains a work in progress.

More recent developments that could be added include:

  • NZ Ministry of Education eLearning Planning Framework
  • Smart Partnerships in EduSummit TGW1 and related JCAL paper (Leahy, Davis et al, TBA**)
  • Gibson (2015) Game changers for transforming learning environments
  • OERu planned developments


Originating author and editor Niki Davis

To follow. ... under construction  .. more citations and references to be added. Also proofing!

My journey as editor and lead author in this book has been over several decades. Perhaps it started in the UK when I became the first lecturer in Information Technology in the UK (appointed by Professors Ted Wragg and Richard Pring in the University of Exeter College of Education).  Information Technology is now widely known in European-related education as Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) and it is continuing to stimulate massive changes that we all experience daily. Dutton (**) clarifies for us how ICT is changing our world(s) and the fact that we are all 'actors' in that change. In North American-related education the one word 'technology' tends to be used instead of ICT. ICT is key to 21st century skills and recognised as part of literacy in all levels of education and training (Davis and Fletcher, 2010). In addition ICT is a cross-curicular theme in many educaitonal systems and a required knowledge and skill for most teachers and trainers, where the TPACK framework (Mishra and Kohler, (see http://punya.educ.msu.edu/research/tpck/) adds the layer of Technology to Pedagogic Content Knowedge (Schulman, see for example [[1]]).

At the core of this book is my ecological framework (Davis, 2008; 2010; 2018) that is used to draw together and make sense of the multiple and complex theories, models, case studies and other research on change with digital technologies in education and training.

The initial construction of a section of this book is an assessed first assignment in my postgraduate course, which was first taught when I was Professor and Director of Iowa State University Center for Technology in Learning and Teaching. Through this collaborative authoring process in WikiEducator and further scholarly work we will collaboratively produce ongoing draft of this book. Contributors and others are encouraged continue to edit this book further.


Davis, N.E. (2008). How may teacher learning be promoted for educational renewal with IT? In J. Voogt & G. Knezek (Eds.). International handbook of information technology primary and secondary education. (507-520) Amsterdam: Springer.

Davis N.E. (2010). Global interdisciplinary research into the diffusion of IT innovations in education. In A. McDougall, (ed.), Researching IT in Education: Theory, Practice and Future Directions. (142-149) London: Routledge.

Davis N.E. (2018). Digital technologies and change in education: The Arena Framework. [New York, NY: Routledgehttps://www.routledge.com/Digital-Technologies-and-Change-in-Education-The-Arena-Framework/Davis/p/book/9781138195820 New York, NY: Routledge].

Roles and assessment

Niki Davis lead author, editor, lead learner and assessor.

This book is being collaboratively authored in conjunction with a required assessment in the editor's University of Canterbury postgraduate course EDEM630 Change with Digital Technologies in Education.

EDEM630 Assignment 1 in 2011: Each student to author one section on a (1) theory and/or model or (2) a study with clear evidence of change with digital technologies in education or training. Each section must avoid plagiarism and include citations to relevant quality literature, plus the full reference for each citation in a reference section at the end of each section.

Additional editorial assistance and updating is welcome now and in future. Readers who wish to add another section are also welcome to do so, providing that it fits with the theoretical review and does not break copyright etc.

Here is the list of students (alphabetical order of first name as in 2011 and earlier) and the section topics that have been chosen:

  • Adam – Sherry & Gibson – teacher adoption
  • Jacqui - Gorski (2008). "that technological progress is necessarily synonymous with social, cultural and humanistic progress"
  • Joyce - Ely (1999) - essential conditions
  • Kerry - Bolstad, R. (n.d.): Professional development in support of the online teacher
  • Maree - Hall and Hord (1987): Concerns Based Adoption Model (CBAM) of innovation
  • Nathan – Prensky on digital natives
  • Nicky - the UTAUT model (Venkatesh 2000) - Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technoloty Model related to the educational arena.
  • Nigel - Zhao et al (2002), theory "what conditions influence teacher's technology use"
  • Pauline - Somekh (2008)
  • Peter - Cowie et all (2008) "that providing laptops for teachers will help improve student achievement and teaching practice"
  • Pinelopi - Gilbert (2007). Knowledge, the disciplines and learning in the digital age
  • Sarah - Rogers (2003) Characteristics of innovations …
  • Shelley - Gee (2007); Gros (2008); Jackson (2009) - gaming as a model in education and its benefits
  • Sonja - Fullan (1993); Fullan and Stiegelbauer (1982) - The Change Agent
  • Sue - Zhao and Frank (3003) is one of the best examples of using an appropriate methodology for ecological theory.
  • Terina - Greenwood, Te Aika & Davis (2010) - the virtual marae, an indigenous perspective

Getting started in WikiEducator and OER

To get your WikiEducator login simply use the option Get Registered option on the Main Page (top right). You'll need your email handy - it's free!

To get started as an author in WikiEducator I found the following tutorials handy: http://wikieducator.org/Wikieducator_rich_text_editor_tutorials/

To get more advanced help such as on adding images and making a book I found that the WikiEducator HELP is best, not least because it tutors us on best practice for OER - Open Educational Resources - and that is part of my goal for us is writing our text book together.

Theories and models

Under construction: Thanks, Niki (editor)

Ely (1990): Essential conditions for change with digital technology in education - Joyce 2009

Section originated by Joyce Gikandi as part of EDEM630 in 2009

In recent years, application of research development diffusion (RDD) paradigm has led to creation of instructional technologies that are pedagogically sound and technically advanced (e.g. Rogers, 2003). Therefore, the greatest challenge today is not developing effective technologies; rather, it is developing effective products that people want to use (Daniel and John, 1997). That is, the current instructional technology strategies should examine solutions in the light of the needs of the adopters.

In the view of Ely (1990) when writing on the diffusion and implementation of educational technology, the characteristics of an innovation are not the only factors influencing its adoption; rather, environmental factors have a major role in promoting change (Ely as cited in Ellsworth, 2000). In his model: “conditions of change”, Ely provides the most comprehensive classical change model. As detailed below, Donald Ely identified eight conditions of change, which he validated, across various educational and cultural settings:

  1. Dissatisfaction with the status quo: Since the change itself is uncomfortable, for change to be voluntarily embraced, the participants must be uncomfortable with the status quo. Ely describes possible causes of dissatisfaction as either internal or external. For instance, frustration with outdated textbooks for the teacher and the learners or external such as pressure from state level seeking better performance.
  2. The people implementing the innovation must possess necessary knowledge and skills to do the job. It is important to realize that people willingness to change in itself cannot bring change if they don’t have the knowledge and skills to bring about change.
  3. For change to occur, the necessary resources must be available. Resources refer to all tools and other relevant materials that are accessible to assist learners to acquire learning objectives.(Elys, 1990a as cited in Ellsworth). Absences of necessary resources greatly impede learning. It is essential that the resources are equitably available to all learners and teachers.
  4. Time availability. The implementers must have adequate time to learn, adapt, integrate as well as reflect on what they are doing. Ely asserted that adequate time is a vital component in the total process of educational change. Thus, it is desirable that the employer frees up time or compensates  the educator for the time they invest to understand and adapt innovations.
  5. Rewards and incentives be availed to participants. Depending on whether the innovation itself has relative advantage that is relevant to a particular participant, the reward may be intrinsic or extrinsic. That is, it should be visible as a result of or cause of innovation use.
  6. Participation is expected and encouraged. That is, there should be shared decision making, communication among the participants and representation in case individual participation is impossible. This would ensure that everyone has an opportunity to contribute towards the adoption and impart the sense of ownership. Similarly, leaders should communicate explicitly that individual’s participation is expected.
  7. Unqualified go- ahead and vocal support for the innovation by key players and other stakeholders. This entails the importance of commitment by those involved especially the leaders. The leaders should demonstrate visible evidence of long-term support to the intended adopters. This will not only encourage change but also it will ensure sustainability of change.
  8. Evidence of leadership. In addition to leaders playing their role as described in sixth and seventh condition, leaders should provide affective support throughout the change process especially during the times of discouragement or when failure occurs. This is a key factor in sustaining and institutionalizing change.

Others researchers (e.g. Tessmer, 1990; Davis, 2008) reinforce these conditions by emphasizing on the social aspect of implementing a product within a context of its use. In their studies, they recommend incorporating environmental analysis procedure in the process of implementing instructional technology to ensure that a product is actually used, correctly used and continually used.


Daniel, W. S. and John D. F. (1997). Diffusion Theory and Instructional Technology. Journal of Instructional Science and Technology, 2 (1),

Davis, N.E. (2008). How may teacher education be promoted for educational renewal with IT. Models and theories of IT diffusion .International handbook of Information technology in primary and secondary education. New York: Springer. edits required here **

Ely, D. (1990). The diffusion and implementation of educational technology in developing nations: Cross-cultural comparisons of Indonesia, Chile and Peru. Instructional Developments, 1(1), 9-12.

Ellsworth J.B (2000). Surveying change: A Survey Of Educational Change Models. New York: ERIC clearing house of information and technology.

Rogers, E.M. (2003). Diffusion of innovations. Fifth edition. New York: Free Press.

Tessmer, M. (1990). Environmental analysis: A neglected stage of instructional design. Educational Technology Research and Development, 38, 55-64.

Facer & Sandford (2010): Future scenarios as a mechanism for change

Section open



Davis, N.E. (2008). How may teacher education be promoted for educational renewal with IT. Models and theories of IT diffusion. In **... International handbook of Information technology in primary and secondary education. New York: Springer. edits required here **

Facer, K. & Sandford, R. (2010). The next 25 years? Future scanarios and future directions for education and technology. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 26, 74-93.

Fullan (1993); Fullan and Stiegelbauer (1982): The Change Agent- Sonja 2009

Section first created by Sonja Bailey in 2009 and edited by Niki Davis

Description of Theory

The focus is on Fullan and Stiegelbauer's 'New Meaning of Educational Change', published in 1982. Ellesworth summarises this book in Chapter 5 pp. 81 - 109 in a chapter called "The Change Agent". A change agent is defined by Cobb (2001) as someone who possesses the skills, desire and motivation necessary to make schools more equitable (p.91) This model focuses on the 'human participants taking part in the change process' and discusses how different 'stakeholders' act as change agents within an educational context. The stakeholders are broken down into 6 groups. Each group is addressed by how they relate to educational change, 'as agents either for or against a particular effort' (Ellsworth p.82):

  1. The teacher
  2. The principal
  3. The student
  4. The district administrator
  5. The consultant
  6. The community (includes the parents)

Within the context of this model, each of the stakeholders are discussed in relation to educational change. The teacher figures first and is regarded as the most important change agent, as no matter what other requirements may be place upon them it is 'the teacher who is in the classroom day after day with the students', (p. 84) therefore if the teacher can see no reason to change and implement new strategies, they will not do so, and then educational change will not occur. When teachers are faced with any new initiative it can overload a teacher, increasing other problems they may be facing, where in other cases it could actually provide a solution. Fullan and Stiegelbauer outline 6 major issues/ questions, that teachers should consider when making any decision on whether to implement any new initiative. Examples include, 'Does it address an important need', 'Is the innovation supported?', 'Will there be assistance in the form of PD?' (Ellesworth p. 85).
Change itself is also a process that needs to happen over time, and any concerns raised by the six stakeholders need to be addressed along the way. Fullan (1993) feels that for teachers to become change agents they must have a ‘moral purpose' in order to make a difference within a school. (p.12) Cobb takes the same idea but uses the term ‘idealistic value system.(Ellesworth p.103) As teachers we need to become life long learners, if we are to continue to stimulate our students to be continuous learners, but this also means having access to the right tools as well as training and professional development. Collaboration is one of the key elements of teachers becoming change agents as ‘personal and group mastery thrives on each other in learning organisations'. (Fullan p. 14)

There is also an important role that the Principal must play, as they are often the go-between between among many of the 'stakeholders' and must manage any change so that everyone remains informed, and feels that progression is matched to their needs, whether it be the teachers, the community etc. 10 major guidelines are outlined to help any principal take on a 'change agents role'. It is the principal who must first have a vision and then sets the climate for any change in a school, (Ellsworth p. 105) and ultimately makes any final decisions about whether an initiative will go ahead.

The District Administrator is an American term, and I likened it to perhaps our Ministry of Education (although this could also be the government as a stakeholder) and the various roles within it (e.g. curriculum reforms and assessment at NZQA) It is up to them to 'co-ordinate multiple innovations simultaneously' and it must be stressed that if they can do this, any change that may occur will last longer and be perceived by the other stakeholders as better. The government is crucial in its role of support of schools, and providing necessary funding to implement any change is paramount.

Students are the recipients of any educational change, so it is interesting to see them discussed as a 'stakeholder', but the authors noted that they often can 'exert considerable negative influence to reject changes they perceive as undesirable'.

When thinking about the role of the community, or more specifically the parents, they find ‘meaning in activities related to their own children' (Ellesworth p.99) and if the needs of their child are not met, they are the ones most likely to move their child to another school, ultimately deciding whether a change is accepted or rejected. Therefore sharing information about changes that are occurring in a school, with the wider community helps to foster a positive learning environment where collaboration works and everyone feels informed.

There are  three other educational change models that can be linked to this one, Rogers (1995) Diffusion of Innovations, Ely (1990) conditions of change, and the Concerns based Adoption Model (Hall et al 1987). These models all interrelate if new innovations are to be adopted and if change is to proceed and be long lasting.

Fullan's insights into the behaviour of differnt groups supports Niki Davis' ecological framework, which recoignises that evolutionary changes of behaviour are key to understanding cahnge with digital technologies in education and training. Although the classroom teacher is the 'keystone species' who has most sway over the learning ecology for students in his or her care, Fullan's theoretical perspective helps us understand how the the restricted teachers can be in cahing thier behaviour given the inflence of other groups in the school ecosystem. 

Implications for Practice

The introduction of digital technologies into education has bought about large scale changes with respect to how we teach and assess students. Teachers are currently the stakeholder who is recognised as the 'change agent' who is expected to lead the way and implement ICT in education. For example a teacher wants to introduce the use of e-portfolios into their teaching programme. They consult with the teacher-educator who provides the necessary professional development and support, the teacher may then work collaboratively with other members of their department, and they may see the value of their use. The students as stakeholders, may embrace the use of the e-portfolios, and suggest to other staff/teachers the benefit of its use to their learning. The parents as a stakeholder may see what the student is doing at home and encourage the use of technology further, and let other parents know of the schools innovations. The teacher may now find that there is a pressure to change in other areas of technological use, for example a paper based assessment of this task may no longer be applicable. The Principal may see the positive spin offs of the use of ICT, encouraged by community feedback and arrange for further training and increases the number of computers in the school by providing necessary funding. It is important to note that without the Principals input leadership and support, any lasting change may not occur. (Patru p. 164) This example shows that when there is a willingness of different stakeholders to embrace change there can become a ‘building of coalitions with each of the change agents, from both within their group, i.e. the teachers, and across other groups. The challenge was to take a new initiative and move forward with it, and see how its use progresses. (Ellsworth p.105)

In schools one of the vital change agents in regards to technology is that of the ICT co-ordinator. It is their role to arrange for professional development, and provide strong and effective leadership within their school (Lai et al p.540). This study found that many of our school ICT co-ordinators are bogged down in the technical issues related to ICT use in a school, i.e. getting printers to work etc. So are the people who are our high adopters able to provide the support necessary in schools? In a survey the participants were asked ‘whether ICT is already making major improvements to the quality of curriculum delivery' and found that non users generally don't see technology as having a positive impact, and it wont be until these teachers get the necessary PD and training, that change can begin to occur. So if the ICT leaders in a school are tied up with technological rather than educational issues, on top of a heavy teaching load will all teachers get a chance to find out how technology can help them in the classroom? Are ICT co-ordinators leading the way as change agents in our schools?

The successful integration of any new technology involves more than just the buying of computers. It is the access to professional development, access to ICT rooms, equipment and software within a school, as well changes to curriculum delivery, plus the involvement and shared vision of the various stakeholders and how these all connect that will determine whether change in the use of ICT can and will occur.


Cobb, J.B. (2001). Graduates of professional development school programs: Perceptions of the teacher as change agent. Teacher Education Quarterly, 28(4), 89.
Davis, N.E. (2008). How may teacher learning be promoted for educational renewal with IT? In Voogt, J., & Knezek, G. (Eds.). International handbook of information technology primary and secondary education. (507-520) Amsterdam: Springer.
Ellsworth, J.B. (1999). Surviving Change: A Survey of Educational Change Models. Syracuse, N.Y. : ERIC Clearinghouse on Information & Technology, Syracuse University

Fullan, M. (1993). Why Teachers Must Become Change Agents. Educational Leadership, 50(6), 12-17.

Fullan, M. & Stiegelbauer,  (1982). New Meaning of Educational Change. **
Lai, K., Trewern, A., & Pratt, K. (2002). Computer Coordinators as Change Agents: Some New Zealand Observations. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 10(4), 539-51.

UNESCO (2003) Information and communication Technologies in Teacher Education: A Planning Guide. Paris: UNESCO (p.153 - 165) Retrived August 15, 2009 from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0012/001295/129533e.pdf

Gee (2007); Gros (2008); Jackson (2009) - gaming as a model in education and its benefits - Shelley

Section led by Shelley

Video Games and Education

‘Digital Natives cry out for new approaches to education with a better fit.’ (Prensky, 2001, P 1) How often do you hear people complaining that the youth of today are not like in our day? Well they are right. Prensky describes our new generation of learners that we endeavour to teach, as being radically different from us in that they think and process information fundamentally differently from us. These students’ brains function in a much different way to ‘digital immigrants’( us as their teachers). This is because during their formative years they have been exposed to and have been totally immersed in the world of technology. ‘ Digital Natives accustomed to the twitch-speed, multitasking, random-access, graphics-first, active, connected, fun, fantasy, quick-payoff world of their video games, MTV, and Internet are bored by most of today’s education, well meaning as it may be..’ (Ibid, p 5.).

Video gaming is an inherent part of today’s society. The majority of our students have access to a computer or gaming console of some sort, (keeping in mind there are inequities in society across the spectrum).

The links between Davis's ecological framework (Davis 2008;2011) are many and wide ranging. The home school connections, vital connections between the wider society, businesses and the 'real world'. By looking closely at what makes video games so appealing and engaging to learners and integrating these skills into the school ecosystem will we too achieve the high levels of motivation and engagement achieved by video games?   In order to do this the teacher has to acknowledge and understand the benefits. Video gaming in education is an example of an 'ecosystem that impacts multiple ecologies.' (Davis, 2009 p 146) . Much discussion is had across the generations with regards to the fact that video, computer and online games have become pervasive in our everyday lives. They play an important role in business, industry, education and even military training.

Research has discovered there has been a rise in the student population’s 'fluid intelligence' (the type of cognition involved in inductive learning, adaptability in problem solving and new contexts) ( p93) However the quality of delivery of traditional education is declining... It is promoted that the pace of societal transformation that has resulted from technology, information and globalisation has a large part to play in the increase in fluid intelligence. Lawson, L., Larry L. (2010, p 93)

The promotion of problem solving abilities and use of thinking skills in today’s curriculum is reinforced through utilising the tools of video gaming. The use of ‘just in time’ information and skills seems to motivate the users to build upon their past understanding as they strive for mastery. Computer games provide students with a meaningful context that helps them become motivated to engage in the learning activities and opportunities to learn by ‘doing.’ This in turn promotes knowledge integration and thinking skills, and forms a community of practice for sharing knowledge and promoting collaborations. There is also an increasing awareness of the ability for video games to promote the development of 'meta- level’ reflection on strategies for learning.

Games are powerful contexts for learning because they make it possible to develop the situated understandings, effective social practices, powerful identity, shared values, and ways of thinking of important communities of practice. (Gros 2007, p 30)

Since ‘video games’ blasted on to the scene capturing the interest of our youth in the ‘70’s –with games like “Pong” “Pac Man’ and so on researchers have investigated the impact on children and adolescents. The initial research was predominately aimed at the psychological effects of gaming on youth. It wasn’t until the late 70’s that research about the possible educational benefits of gaming started to emerge; ‘Telegames Teach More Than You Think,” by G.H.Ball was published in1978. A smattering of researchers picked up on this idea (Lowery and Knirk (1982 –83); Gagon (1985);Greenfield (1985); and Dorval and Pepin (1986) and all came to the same conclusion: experience and skill have a cumulative effect during the game for the player Ball went out on a limb to claim that video games had intellectual benefits and could help with acquiring number and literacy skills. (Aguilera and Mendiz 2003, p 6).

Throughout the 1980’s various researchers claimed benefits with using video games in learning for students with special needs included in the research by Greenfield in 1985.

By this time the explosion in video games available was immense with the Nintendo gaming console (Gameboy) adding a new element – portability. Throughout the late eighties and nineties society tended to down cry video games and the negative effects of gaming on youth and society so these were widely researched. Society was extremely reluctant to see how time spent gaming could be worthwhile. Research was often focused on the hours spent gaming, trying to find linked between rising violence amongst children and adolescents and gaming. Video games were seen as addictive and massive ‘time wasters.’ Gender studies also started to emerge around the mid to late nineties as people became aware that it seemed to be the boys that were more drawn to gaming. http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/2/hi/uk_news/education/1879019.stm Pioneering research by Estallo (1994) stated that, ‘video game players usually have a higher intellectual level than non-players belonging to the same peer group.’(Cited in Aguilera and Mendiz 2003, p 9). Other researchers backed up Estallo’s claims and educationalists could not ignore this emerging trend any longer.

Businesses were quicker to see the positive implications of gaming than educationalists. Researchers realised the potential to create real situations for students so they could learn in a simulated environment and the gaming businesses grasped this quickly thus leading to the massive popularity and market for ‘sims,’(simulated games).

Educational researchers started to realise the benefits of not only intellectual stimulation and growth in thinking skills but that also they may be able to harness the tools that games use to motivate and engage their participants, time after time, and for long periods, whereas in the classroom they were having difficulty engaging some of the very same students for short periods.

As early as 1980 researchers were trying to encourage educationalists to support student learning through using video games in instruction. However historically computers were and often still are, used as tools for supporting practice for factual recall with programmes such as ‘Number Munchers,’ ‘Reader Rabbit’ and even recent online initiatives such as www.spellingcity.com. This type of reinforcement has its place but they are not building the ‘meta’ thinking and making the connections we are looking for in our New Zealand curriculum for our future citizens. Many of the simulation and strategy games do just this. The Ministry of Education in New Zealand commissioned the University of Waikato to write a literature review covering e-Learning and implications for New Zealand Schools which was written by Noeline Wright of Waikato University. This was published in 2010 and emphasised the opportunities that exist in utilising video gaming in education. • Virtual worlds and gaming have potential in compulsory education. They are already used widely in medicine and aviation and other tertiary learning environments, and are increasingly being used in business as part of research and development, as well as employee induction. (Ibid 2010 p 17).

Facets Researchers Recommend that Educationalist Adopt into Classroom practice

Researchers singled out the some of the factors that make video games powerful tools for learning. They singled out certain aspects of gaming that we as educators need to be able to harness and incorporate into our instruction/teaching if we are to remain vital and dynamic. Gee (2007, p 4) explores the idea that ‘the mind is a simulator, but one that builds simulations to purposefully prepare for specific actions and achieve specific goals’. This is why video games are embraced. Games that include components that set goals engage the learner. They scaffold the gamer to build competence. The key however is that the learning is ‘just in time.’ The learner does not have to learn a lot of knowledge that may seem irrelevant or out of context. The learner gets the opportunity to perform and when there is a knowledge gap they learn what they need to know to solve the problem. Highly motivational goal oriented collaborative learning that is scaffolded. Another key feature researchers have heralded as being highly effective is the instant feedback learners receive. In the classroom setting no matter how efficient the teacher is, the instantaneous, one on one feedback provided by a game is unsurpassed.

It is proposed (Gee 2007, p 6) that video games manage assessment better (than teachers) as they constantly assess player performance and provide feedback instantly to the player. The idea of 'moding' games is a new concept that reinforces learning as the players have input into the direction the simulation or game will take which increases player buy in or ownership hence motivation and engagement. The learners can move at their own pace The key instruction strategies of scaffolding, feed back and feed forward, goal setting are all familiar strategies that games use that have been incorporated into a teachers toolbox today, Gee (2007, p 7 ) states; ‘the player is guided and supported by the knowledge built into the virtual soldiers. This offloads some of the cognitive burden from the learner, placing smart tools that can do more than the learner is currently capable of doing by him or herself. It allows the player to begin to act, with some degree of effectiveness, before being really competent – performance before competence.’ Competence is gained through the techniques previously discussed as being sound educational practice; trial, error, feedback and reflection. The learner is scaffolded every step of the way. We learn through observation, but we learn even more by doing – ‘Many of the experiences that individuals gain from observational learning are refined through enactive learning, ‘(Bandura, 1986; Carroll & Bandura, 1985 as cited in Lewis 2009, p 17 ). We hear this often as "practice makes perfect". First the behaviour is observed; then it is enacted. ‘Playing to learn’ a popular ‘Playcentre movement’ philosophy can be easily transferred for gamers. The following link shares the views of several expert in the realm of utilising video games in education , including Gee; http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6117726917684965691#

The United States meta-analysis on online learning (Means et al., 2009), identified three ways in which learning experiences occur with e-Learning tools/affordances: • Expository instruction—where digital devices transmit knowledge, much as f2f lectures do. • Active learning—where learners build knowledge through the inquiry-based manipulation of digital artifacts such as online drills, simulations, games, or microworlds. • Interactive learning—where learners build knowledge through inquiry-based collaborative interaction with other learners and where teachers can become co-learners and act as facilitators (p. 3). (as cited in Wright, 2010, p 23) These are all strategies that can be utilised in the classroom to greater effect. Reflection on learning intentions is an integral part of today’s model lesson and this is reinforced by the researchers when investigating video gaming. The role of the teacher or ‘instructor’ when incorporating video games into the class room is seen as one that guides reflection and enables the learner to dwell and reflect upon their learning – metacognition – thinking about thinking.

Learners need opportunities to debrief and reflect, and the amount of time spent on reflection should equal the amount of time engaging in the game or simulation (Heinich et al, 1996; Thiagarajan 1998 as cited in Squire 2003,p 5).

I agree with that reflection is definitely important but the amount of time being the same as that engaged in the game or simulation? I cannot see an educator being able to sustain the interest of the student to be able to reflect on their gaming for that long. Gamers play in their own time, often for hours at a time and are constantly being reflective without a teacher to discuss it with them, they discuss it with other gamers. Our students have changed radically. Today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach. (Gee, 2001, p 1).

The hours spent gaming at home are increasingly being recognised as learning opportunities. Parenting courses are now encouraging Parents to sit along- side their children and learn about the games and spend time together gaming. Lewin, Mavers and Somekh surmised that: schools were generally failing to draw upon these transformative experiences of knowledge building in the home. Rather than technologies having any impact on transforming knowledge in the majority of schools, the traditional structures of curriculum and pedagogy were colonizing technologies and directing students’ energies in school to doing ‘more of the same more efficiently’. (2003, p. 45 as cited in Wright 2010 p 27).

Theoretical links

Senge promotes 'greater connection between the notion of the ‘learning organization’ and the ‘learning society’, and paid attention to the political and social impact of organizational activity.' The size and tenacity of the gaming community has spread its sphere of influence so widely now that businesses have recognised the potential in harnessing the power of gaming. Educators are only just beginning to get past the stereotypical response to gaming to see its benefits. The ecology of gaming has far reaching implications. Gamers can be interacting with community members across the world. The sphere of influence is beyond the classroom ecology the ecology of the 'global biosphere' (Davis, 2010) has created a learning medium that is arguably having far more influence that any other medium has up until now had on our youth - both positively and negatively.

Jackson (2009) investigated the use of gaming technology for education purposes with her tertiary students. She believed the benefits of using these strategies were that it enabled her to replicate the concept of teaching to the Zone of Proximal Development as promoted by Vygotsky. . In gaming, students “learn to set and manage short-term and long-term goals” (Jackson, 2009, p. 292), and also learn by doing, problem-solve and construct their own understandings as they go. Jackson went on to explain that “videogames rely on constructivism, the idea that learners build their own knowledge structures” (p. 292). At the same time, gamers are risk-takers; they can make multiple attempts to improve, building knowledge and competence as they go. Feedback is often instantaneous. It may be humorous or deadly, but encourages the learner to persist. We all know that in the traditional classroom setting feedback from teachers, although it is heralded as being a vital ingredient for success, is not always received in a timely fashion and is often a personal judgment. In gamin if a gamer makes a mistake are not an issue as they are are seen as learning opportunities, allowing gamers to engage to a deeper level (Gee, 2003; Prenksy, 2001b as cited in Wright 2010, p 30).

As educators we encourage our learners to learn from their mistakes and to take risks, this is a natural component of gaming. Squire (2008) ststes that Surveys of gamers show that they have an increased appetite for risk, a greater comfort with failure, a stronger desire for social affiliations, a preference for challenges, a capacity for independent problem solving, and a desire to be involved in meaningful work when compared with nongamers. (p. 658) Jackson concluded from her study with tertiary students that If someone guides you every step of the way when you are in unfamiliar territory, you will not remember your path. The information enters short-term memory but then leaves before being transferred to long-term memory. On the other hand, when you have to figure it out yourself, similar to videogames, you engage in the deeper processing that commits the information to long-term, or at least longer-term, memory. (Jackson, 2009, p. 295) Jackson, (in her efforts to replicate the strategies used in the gaming environment), wanted to encourage her students to take risks and to learn from their mistakes. Therefore after sharing feedback with her students she allowed them multiple attempts (as a game does) from several different angles to solve a problem. She discovered the students learnt more this way as they had the opportunity to apply skill and adjust their ideas over several attempt –as a gamer does in the gaming situation. Transference of skills is often an issue for teachers. They are attempting to teach a skill in one setting and expecting their students to transfer this into other settings which is not always happening. The game based teaching did allow for this to occur new learning needs to be caught several times, from lots of angles before a new skill is added to the mix. Jackson used the students responses during the course, course evaluations and observations to make her conclusions. Essentially, she concluded that the game-based teaching “outscored direct instruction” (p. 300). It also combined problem-solving, learning about technology, and learning by doing with regular opportunities for evaluation and reflection.

The role of teachers is changing, teachers play an important role in the process of encouraging collaboration, guiding reflection and offering extension activities and helping learners to develop new ideas. Often in education today when it comes to working with digital natives, we need to step back and let the learner become the teacher, with ourselves as educators and amongst peers. Peer tutoring has powerful learning benefits.

Why then, if many of the suggested techniques are beginning to become standard strategies for teaching are we still struggling to get the level of engagement and motivation that video games achieve? The highly visual and auditory world in which the learner/gamer is immersed into as a virtual character also elicits strong emotions. (Squire2003. p 6) Virtual worlds are not new, travelling story tellers, fantasy novels, television have all successfully engaged audiences and participants, but none so fully as video gaming. This is difficult to replicate in the classroom. The emotional response, progress at ones own pace in a highly visual, auditory environment is difficult to compete with. So why compete? Why not embrace instead?

Societal Impacts ‘Games are powerful contexts for learning because they make it possible to create virtual worlds, and because acting in such worlds makes it possible to develop the situated understandings, effective social practices, powerful identity, shared values, and ways of thinking of important communities of practice.’ (Shaffer, Squire, Halverson, & Gee, 2005, p 7). The original isolating ‘telegames’ have come a long way. Huge communities surround MMORPG (Massive, multiplayer online role playing games) such as ‘World of Warcraft (12 million players)’, ‘Runescape’ and ‘Guild Wars’ are played by millions of people around the world. A major concern of educators and parents alike is the social aspect of gaming. Video gamers are perceived to be more isolated and spend less time socialising. Upon exploring this idea I asked fourteen gamers (twelve male and two female, aged 15 – 24 years) to give me five words that described why they like to ‘game’. The resulting ‘wordle’ surprised me;

Social was the second most prevalent response. Gamers are a huge community. These online communities integrate and share, communicate, reflect and cooperate all around a common goal. Their cultural, experiential and social differences are not a barrier but a resource. The world is increasingly a smaller place as games from all over the world interact in online communities, via gaming.

Video games may offer this generation of learners the opportunity to utilise the skills they are already developing (at a rapid pace in their leisure time), in their education and work place. Gee (2007, p 11) states;'...video games , though a part of popular culture, are, like literacy and computers, sites where we can study and exercise the human mind in ways that give us deeper insights into human thinking and learning, as well as new ways to engage learners in deep and engaged learning...good video games are not a trivial phenomena.... Games are powerful contexts for learning because they make it possible to develop the situated understandings, effective social practices, powerful identity, shared values, and ways of thinking of important communities of practice.'

In many settings this can save money for the employer or trainer as costly mistakes (both in monetary terms and even human life in military and medical simulation settings), can be avoided as the trainee learns. Market research is carried out to establish cohorts and the make up of these communities and the results are surprising. The stereotypical ‘geeky’ gamer no longer exists. Sure there will be individuals amongst them who still fit the mould but these results from the ISFE Consumer Survey (2010, p 7) state; Using this data we estimate there are 95.2 million adult Video Gamers across all 18 countries covered by the Gamer Survey 􀁸 Gaming is most popular among the young, however almost 30% of 30-­49 year olds play video games 􀁸 31% of males and 20% of females are Gamers; it is therefore not the male only preserve that it is often portrayed in the press. A ‘committed’ gamer group only made up 7% of this group but the prevalence of gaming in society and the accessibility for our students cannot be overlooked.

Amongst societies other concerns about video games are the violent games that are available and how these influence youth, inactivity, and the relationship between gaming and obesity and addiction to gaming. All of these are valid concerns for parents and educators. However there has been copious research on all three.

Overwhelmingly there is more research for than against the usefulness of games for improving student motivation in learning. Although many studies acknowledge the potential of games, not all games are effective and educational. There is much research on effects of playing violent games:

‘Those playing violent games were more hostile, less forgiving and believed violence to be normal compared to those who played nonviolent games. Players of "prosocial" games got into fewer fights in school and were more helpful to other students.’ (American Psychological Association, 2008: page??)

The issue of inactivity or obesity related to gaming has done an about turn of late as consoles and games are coming onto the market that involves the player physically starting with the ‘Eye Toy’ and the ‘Wii fit’ and with the recent competitor Kinect entering the market.

Developers are also working on making games that involve all senses and including movement as an essential component of their games. Research also shows the thinking by the consumer around this has also changed; ‘Time Spent on Leisure and Entertainment  The broadening of the gaming audience is reflected in the fact that Gamers are now a group who have many diverse interests;; they are as likely to be playing sport or reading books as gaming  The dominant pastimes remain watching TV, socialising and spending time on the internet The Benefits of Video Gaming and Other Media  Despite the 2010 sample covering a broader group of Gamers, they believe that games are the best of the 3 media for keeping you mentally and physically fit

More Gamers now agree that games:

  • keep you mentally fit (50% + 8%)
  • allow you to spend time with the family (35% + 6%)
  • keep you physically fit (18% + 7%)’ (Ibid p 7).

In Conclusion

Love’em or hate’em video games are here to stay; they are not trivial phenomena. The American military has experienced huge success by utilising gaming as a recruitment tool, ‘America’s Army’ (Lugo 2006), albeit fraught with ethical dilemmas’ for many. The airline industry and health system along with engineers to name but a few have also utilised the simulated type gaming based experiences in their training. For educators it is difficult to have the time to investigate and familiarise themselves with a commercial game, establish how it could be relevant to the curriculum and how to best use it with learners to get the best results. This coupled with hardware and wiring systems for internet access are indeed barriers to utilising video games in education but are by no means reasons for not pursuing their use with vigour. The kindergarten child who said, ‘www.hungry.com’ and the high school student who said he ‘powers down’ when he goes to school because he is so bored are classic examples of the generation of digital natives who are our students. The widespread influence of gaming from the 'global biosphere' (Davis, 2011) needs to be utilised in the 'ecology of the classroom' (ibid) to closer align learning for our students.

The value gained for learners through high quality games for their ‘meta’ skills and ablity to transfer learning is invaluable. Howard Rhiengold, author of Smart Mobs, says “ I make a basic distinction (one that I think is widening) between education and schooling: people especially young people, continue to learn – and to adopt new media – but institutions, and those who run them are much slower to change their ways,’ All of this paints the picture of an educational system that is out of touch with the way its students learn.’(As cited in Richardson, p 7). The opportunities and challenges inspired by integrating video gaming into education are inspiring and exciting. Managing the practical implications may prove more difficult, but not overwhelming. The benefits being discussed by researchers and the way industries and businesses have grasped the concept will eventually flow over in to education. The ability for educationalists to enhance educational values, learning, skills, motivation and engagement without spoiling the ‘fun’ element is the challenge. . ' If you want to take all the fun out of it, get a bunch of educators involved." Squire (2008) noted:

It’s just dumb (and lazy) of educators – not to mention ineffective – to presume that (despite their traditions) the Digital Immigrant way is the only way to teach, and that the Digital Natives‟ “language” is not as capable as their own of encompassing any and every idea.

So if Digital Immigrant educators really want to reach Digital Natives – i.e. many of their students – they will have to change. It’s high time for them to stop their grousing, and as the Nike motto of the Digital Native generation says, “Just do it!” They will succeed in the long run – and their successes will come that much sooner if their administrators support them.’ (Prensky 2001, p 6). In short as educationalists if we don’t grasp this opportunity with both hands, not only do we miss out on the opportunity to engage and motivate our learners and guide their learning to a higher degree we will most likely pay the price with disenchanted and disengaged learners; Prensky (as cited in Wright 2010 p 27) uses a quote from a student that encompasses the issue of traditional education not keeping up; so is it that the Digital Natives can't pay attention, or that they choose not to? Often from the Natives' point of view their Digital Immigrant instructors make their education not worth paying attention to, compared to everything else they experience - "Every time I go to school I have to power down," complains one student - and then [instructors] blame them for not paying attention! And, more and more, the Digital Natives won't take it.

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Gilbert, Jane (2005, 2007): Education in the Knowledge Society - Pinelopi

Section led by Pinelopi Zaka

In her theory, Gilbert (2005, 2007) challenges some of the basic mental models on knowledge that underpinned educational systems for thousands of years. She discusses on the need to re-conceptualize these ideas, in order for ICT to revolutionize education for the Knowledge Age.

The problem

In today’s Knowledge Age, ICT is already transforming many aspects of our society and is considered as a means for educational reform (Dutton, 2004; Davis, 2008). ICT diffusion at schools not only can enhance instruction, but it should also be used as a way “to help develop new kinds of curriculum and pedagogy that will both respond to and shape the 21st-century world” (Bolstad et al., 2006, p.25).

However, although millions of dollars are invested in equipping schools and classrooms with ICT, computers are often “oversold and underused” (Cuban, 2001, p. 179). The widespread use of technology across schools continues to support traditional practices, therefore not leading to substantial changes in teaching and learning, (Dutton, 2004; Gilbert, 2005, 2007; Zhao & Frank, 2003). In spite of the disruptive character of ICT, technology in education is implemented as a sustaining innovation aiming to supplement, rather change, the existing teaching practices (Christensen, Horn & Johnson, 2008). Consequently, although we are moving towards the Knowledge Society, education is still linked to the Industrial Age, preparing students for the world of the past, not the future (Gilbert, 2005, 2007).

ICT can support pedagogical change, but technology implementation buy itself cannot lead to educational reform (Bolstad et al., 2006). Jonassen et al. (2003) underline that there is a big difference between learning from technology and learning with technology, arguing that students learn from thinking, rather than from ICT. However, teachers often focus on the use of ICT as an end in itself and “merely introducing technology to the educational process is not enough” (Mishra & Koehler, 2006, p.1018).

Apparently, more computers in the classroom will not provide an efficient solution for education to address the needs of today’s society (Christensen et al., 2008). Gilbert (2005, 2007) suggests that the reason that ICT has not yet brought radical changes in teaching and learning lays in educational stakeholders’ inability to deeply understand the basic ideas of the Knowledge Society, where contemporary education is positioned. Therefore, she argues that although we are living in the Knowledge Age, educational stakeholders continue to have an Industrial Age view on knowledge which underpins the use of technology in the classroom and consequently fewer changes in teaching and learning are be observed.

The solution

The position that Gilbert supports is that

"If ICTS are to play a useful role in helping us to re-develop our schools for the Knowledge Age, we need to re-examine some of our old ideas about knowledge. In particular, we need to re-examine the place and purpose of the traditional disciplinary knowledge that is the basis of the current school curriculum" (2007, p.116).

Gilberts’ view (2005, 2007) on the need to reconceptualise our traditional ideas of knowledge has been discussed by many authors in the past, such as educational researcher Seymour Sarason (2004) whose work focused primarily on educational reform. Sarason (2004) illustrated that peoples’ superficial conceptions on learning consist of the major limiting factor for educational change. He had also predicted that, in modern societies, innovations based on traditional concepts of learning would fail. In addition, Andreotti and Souza (2008) encourage educators to reflect on the role of education in today’s and past societies, its implications on equity, as well as its relation to knowledge in the global society. Anderson (2008) states that in the Knowledge Society

“We need to know much more about knowledge: how best to define it, how to utilize students’ prior knowledge in the learning process, how to manage knowledge in organizational environments, how to let it guide the construction of assessments, and so on” (p.20).

Finally, Hargreaves (2003) discusses about the new role of education and teaching and the need to re-conceptualize knowledge and learning in the Knowledge Society. Similarly to Gilbert (2005, 2007) he argues that teachers need to understand the concepts of the Knowledge Society in order to be able to prepare students for the Knowledge Age.

Industrial Age education systems

Aiming to develop a deeper understanding on the inappropriateness of Industrial Age education systems for today’s Knowledge Society, Gilbert (2005, 2007) explains its underpinnings. She illustrates that the basis of Industrial Age education lay a) on Plato’s academic curriculum, where the traditional disciplines are ends in themselves and b) on the production line concept which was developed to address the need for mass education and the need to sort people according to their probable future employment.

In Industrial Age education systems, students are placed in classes with pre-set curriculum. The courses are taught from specialists in each area and tasks are chunked into smaller pieces, in order to be easily managed from learners. Students are guided to learn the basics, while they are prevented from thinking between the tasks and seeing knowledge as a whole. Of course, assessment is used to examine if students meet the standards, while the quality of learning lies on the traditional academic curriculum. For Industrial Age education knowledge is ‘stuff’ that is acquired individually. Learning involves accumulating more and more knowledge in learners’ minds, while the role of traditional disciplinary knowledge included in the academic curriculum is undisputable. In this context, the use of ICT focuses primary on the retrieval and presentation of information, placing students in a position of passive spectators in the classroom.

Gilbert (2005, 2007) explains that, although this one-size-fits-all approach addresses the need for equal education and the high demand for human resources, it actually reduces equity, as it widens the gap between high and low achieving students. In New Zealand in particular, where students come from a variety of cultural backgrounds (Māori, Pasifika, European, Asian), there are large disparities between achieving and underachieving students, often targeting Māori and Pasifika learners. In addition, “Māori educators have argued for many years that our education system’s Eurocentric one-size-fits-all approach does not connect with many Maori students. It does not allow them to be Māori and be educated” (Gilbert, 2005, p.62). Current demographic predictions illustrate that over the next 50 years Māori and Pasifika will be the dominant cultures in New Zealand. Therefore “if we do not find ways to address the causes of underachievement in our system, there will be a decline in our overall rates of participation in tertiary education and a drop in our average levels of educational attainment” (Gilbert, 2005, p.62-63).

Furthermore, as societies move from the Industrial towards the Knowledge Age, changes in the economic landscape result in less low skill jobs, which limits work opportunities for underachieving students. As Bolstad (2006) states

“In the past, those who left school early could easily find work in occupations that did not require high levels of education or qualifications. However, in the new ‘knowledge economy’, it is believed to be crucial to have a well-educated (and creative/innovative) population, who can transform knowledge and ideas into marketable commodities.” (p.110).

In New Zealand, the role of education is crucial in supporting the government’s focus on re-building the economy to become a member of the Knowledge Society (Gilbert, 2005, 2007). “The message is clear: New Zealand is moving towards a digital future, and schools are expected to play a major role in shaping and supporting this future.” (Bolstad et al., 2006, p.1).

Moving towards the Knowledge Society

Gilbert (2005, 2007) contends that as we live in the Knowledge Society and not the Industrial Age, such mental models are no longer efficient and we need to re-shape our old ideas of knowledge, in order to transform education with ICT. In Knowledge Societies knowledge is highly connected to economic growth. “Knowledge is now innovation, innovation is quality, and quality control is knowledge management” (Gilbert, 2007, p.118). Based on Castells’ (as cited in Gilbert, 2007) and Lyotard’s (as cited in Gilbert, 2007) theory on learning in the post-Industrial Age, Gilbert explains that knowledge is now a process, rather than ‘stuff’, acting more as a verb, rather than a noun; it is generated collaboratively and cannot be classified into disciplines. Knowledge is replaceable and develops as and when needed. Learning involves knowledge generation, not accumulation and occurs in authentic contexts. Finally, learners are not tabula rasa, but their minds are resources that can generate new knowledge through collaboration.

Furthermore, Gilbert (2005, 2007) argues that the knowledge and skills traditionally developed in higher education consist of the minimum prerequisites that everyone needs to have in today’s Knowledge Society. Therefore, as ideas on student ability change, the production line model can no longer be the basis of education. However, Gilbert (2005, 2007) does not contend that traditional disciplinary knowledge has no place in Knowledge Age education; rather, she argues that the disciplines are still important, but in a different from the past way. The difference is that for the Industrial Age, disciplinary knowledge is an end in itself, while for the Knowledge Society the disciplines can be used as resources from where new knowledge can be generated. “We need to see the traditional disciplines, not as ends in themselves, but as resources for pursuing performativity” (2007, p.120). Consequently, the focus of education moves beyond what students know and concentrates on what they can do with their knowledge.

This view on the new role of disciplinary knowledge links to Bloom’s revised taxonomy (Krathwohl, 2002), where lower level skills (remembering, understanding and applying) can help learners move at the higher levels and develop high order thinking skills (analyzing, evaluating and creating). Therefore, similarly to lower level skills’ usefulness in developing higher order thinking skills, traditional disciplines provide a basis for the students to move beyond knowledge acquisition and generate new knowledge.

The role of ICT in the Knowledge Society

Gilbert (2005, 2007) envisions the implementation of ICT to transform education for the Knowledge Society and underlines the need to reconsider what schools should prepare students for, what they should teach and why. She finally summarizes some initial suggestions to begin a discussion on necessary reconsiderations regarding the use of ICT in the Knowledge Society, using the literature to support some of her arguments (e.g. Bereiter, 2002 and Kress, 2003, cited in Gilbert, 2007). These suggestions include:

  • ICT use to generate new knowledge, rather than to find, present or master existing knowledge.
  • Learners as active producers, rather than passive consumers of knowledge.
  • Development of multi-modal literacy, rather than use of print text only.
  • Encouragement of systems-level understanding, rather than learning the basic facts of a discipline.
  • Exploration of relationships between the disciplines, rather than using disciplines as independent from one another.
  • Use of traditional disciplines as resources to generate new knowledge, rather than as ends in themselves.
  • Enabling students to apply knowledge from an early age, rather than persisting on long apprenticeships in the disciplines.
  • Interdisciplinary use of knowledge for different purposes, rather than maintaining the old hierarchies of knowledge.
  • Development of higher order and critical thinking skills for all students, rather than using disciplinary knowledge mastering as a criterion to enter higher education.


Although Gilbert (2005, 2007) questions the effectiveness of traditional practices of ICT implementation in the classroom, she acknowledges that ICT can play a very important role in revolutionizing teaching and learning for the Knowledge Age. She does not see the use of ICT as a panacea, but attributes its effectiveness on the way technology is implemented in the classroom and the mental models of knowledge that educational stakeholders support.

The history of questioning traditional viewpoints on knowledge goes back many years in New Zealand (Openshaw, 2007). However, Gilbert’s critique (2005, 2007) on Industrial Age ideas of knowledge and her argument on the need for educational reform is timely, given the massive changes in the information and economic landscape of contemporary societies over the last years. As societies move towards the Knowledge Age, the contradictions between Industrial Age mental models and Knowledge Society needs become more apparent and increase dissatisfaction with the status quo, which is an important characteristic that can lead to educational change (Ely, 1990). Therefore, Gilbert’s (2005, 2007) timely attempt to underline these differences can help educational stakeholders realize the need for educational reform, in contrast to past attempts, where education was positioned within an Industrial Age context and any suggestions to change the scope of education would seem irrelevant to the needs of society of that time.

Through her theory, Gilbert (2005, 2007) acknowledges that education is not an independent system, intact from changes within the society. Her view that transformations in our society demand educational change as well, illustrates that education is nested within an ecosystem where multiple sections interact and influence one another. This ecological perspective is also supported by Davis (2008) who asserts that the rapid socio-economic changes of the last years are influencing many sectors of our society, including education. Davis (2008) argues that the classroom ecosystem is influenced by many factors, including political, commercial, professional and bureaucratic organizations that can stimulate or retard educational change with ICT.

Gilbert (2005, 2007) discusses on the characteristics of Industrial Age education systems, without condemning the concurrent mental models, but by explaining the reasons of their irrelevance to contemporary Knowledge Societies. Finally, she underlines that technology implementation is not an end in itself and initiates a discussion on the changes we need to make in our mental models, in order to prepare students for the Knowledge Society and transform teaching and learning with effective use of ICT. Her suggestions aim to simulate discussion and inform teachers and other educational stakeholders who have a large impact on teaching practice, such as school leaders and teacher trainers.

The importance of teachers’ role in change with ICT and the need for education that is relevant to concurrent society needs is acknowledged by Gilbert (2005, 2007). Similarly, Davis (2008) contends that

“Educators share the moral goal of supporting all the students to achieve their potential while working within our societies that are changing rapidly with technological and economic forces. In these circumstances, teacher learning with IT for educational renewal has an increasingly significant influence on society” (p.517).

The role of teacher training and professional development in simulating discussion on these issues is very important. Of course, this means that teacher education programmes should also reflect on their ideas on knowledge and learning, in order to effectively train teachers who need to undertake a new role in the Knowledge Age education. This requires simultaneous renewal with ICT in both K-12 and teacher education, making the process of change even more challenging (Davis, 2008).

However, although the teachers’ role as agents of change is widely acknowledged (Davis, 2008; Sherry et al., 2000), educators (either in K-12 or teacher education) are not the only ones who need to reconsider their mental models on knowledge, in order to achieve educational renewal with ICT. Classrooms and educational institutions are positioned within an ecological framework, where political, professional, bureaucratic and commercial factors influence the nature of transformation with the implementation of ICT (Davis, 2008). Therefore, the re-conceptualization of knowledge mental models and the discussion on the new role of education that Gilbert (2005, 2007) and other authors suggest (e.g. Anderson, 2008; Andreotti & Souza, 2008; Hargreaves, 2003), can be seen as addressing to an even larger audience, taking an ecological perspective. This means that, apart from teachers and educational stakeholders, it is the whole school ecology, including all these organizations that interact with education that need to reconsider their ideas of knowledge and reflect on the new role of education, in order to simulate change with ICT and support teachers, who “are the keystone species in the educational ecologies of the twenty-first century world” (Davis, 2008, p. 517).


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Gorski (2008): "that technological progress is necessarily synonymous with social, cultural and humanistic progress" - Jacqui

Section originated by Jacqui Land


Paul Gorski (2008) applies McLaren’s (1995) theoretical framework of critical multicultural education to ICT. This framework draws on critical theory and critical pedagogy that centers on equity and social justice concerns (Gorski, 2008: 350). In his work Gorski (2008) advocates for us all to be active in promoting re-conceptualisation of digital equity and to publicly critique the notion that technological progress is necessarily synonymous with social, cultural and humanistic progress. (Gorski, 2008: 361).

Conceptualizing Digital Equity

The term digital divide has been used since the mid-1990’s and describes the disparities in access to computers and the Internet based on race, socioeconomic status, gender, and other social and cultural identifiers (Light, 2001). There has been much discussion over what is meant by “access” including work by Gorski, 2003; Makinen, 2006; McKenzie, 2007; Valadez & Duran, 2007; Warschauer, 2002, however, simplistic notions of technology “access” have been rejected and the digital divide is now situated and analysed within larger analyses of racism, sexism, classism, linguicism, ableism, and imperialism (Gorski, 2008: 352).

Makinen (2006) argued, bridging technical gaps - gaps in simple physical access to technologies - is insufficient if we fail to address the gaps in opportunity actually to use the technologies in ways that empower people to participate more fully and equitably in society (Gorski, 2008: 352). In response to this contributing scholars and activists have come up with three primary goals, which reflect the sorts of concerns that critical multicultural education focuses on (a) to challenge the notion that computers and the Internet are or can be the “great equalizers” of the United States or the world; (b) to uncover the ways in which these technologies, due to an unequal distribution of hardware, software, infrastructure, digital literacy, and other necessary forms of capital, are contributing to existing inequities; and (c) to expand the digital divide concept of “access” beyond physical access to include social, cultural, and political access to these technologies and the resulting potentials for social and economical benefits (Gorski, 2008: 352).

Digital Inequities

When the issue of equality has been investigated, it has been shown that the diffusion of innovations often widens the socioeconomic gap between the higher- and lower-socioeconomic status segments in the system. This tendency for the diffusion of innovations to increase socioeconomic inequality can occur in any system, but it has been especially noted in developing nations (Rogers, 2003). Rogers (2003) goes on to note that the social structure in developing nations is a powerful determinant of individuals’ access to technological innovations. He suggests that developmental agencies tend to provide assistance especially to their more innovative, wealthier, more highly educated, information-seeking clients, which in turn leads to a lower degree of equality in the consequences of technological innovations. The change agents also need to be culturally aware. A specific mistake was made by missionaries among the Yir Yoront (An Australian Aboriginal Tribe) was their choice of people to whom they introduced the innovation. Unaware of the cultural emphasis on respect for elderly males, the change agents indiscriminately gave steel axes to women, children and young men. (Rogers, 2003). Rogers (2003), however, also found that the diffusion of innovations does not necessarily have to widen the socioeconomic gaps in a social system. He found some reason for optimism from two field experiments that were carried out in developing nations. These experiments were carried out by Mody (1976) in India and Roling and colleagues (1976) in Kenya. They designed and evaluated diffusion approaches that narrowed, rather than widened, socioeconomic gaps. Their approaches sought, with some success, to overcome the inequality bias of the usual diffusion program. They introduced appropriate innovations to lower-socioeconomic clients through a special development program. These studies suggest that if communication strategies are used effectively in narrowing the socioeconomic benefits gap, then the socioeconomic structure is no longer a major barrier to the diffusion of innovations to the most disadvantaged segment of the population. Thus it may be possible to bring about greater equality through appropriate diffusion strategies (Roger, 2003).

The digital divide is the gap that exists between individuals advantaged by the Internet and those individuals relatively disadvantaged by the Internet (Rogers, 2003). The numbers of Internet users per thousand population in various areas in 2001, when there were about 450 million Internet users worldwide, were:
North America 479 per 1,000
Western Europe 218 per 1,000
Latin America 21 per 1,000
Asia 17 per 1,000
Middle East / Africa 7 per 1,000
Worlwide 52 per 1,000 (Rogers, 2003).

A report by ITU World Telecommunications in 2010, stated that the number of Internet users doubled between 2005 and 2010 and that in 2010 the number of Internet users would surpass the 2 billion mark of which 1.2 billion will be in developing countries. The number of Internet users per 100 inhabitants in 2010 were given as:
Africa 9.6 per 100
Arab States 24.9 per 100
CIS 46.0 per 100
Europe 65.0 per 100
The Americas 55.0 per 100
Asia & Pacific 21.9 per 100 (ITU World Telecommunications / ICT Indicators Database, 2010)

Rogers (2003) suggested that these wide gaps in Internet use result from a lack of economic resources, a lack of central-station electricity and telecommunications facilities, and government policies that discourage Internet use. He also noted that in the United States, the digital divide separates individuals of higher and lower socioeconomic status, rural versus urban Americans, older versus younger individuals, and African Americans and Hispanics versus Euro-Americans (Rogers, 2003).

This is backed up by Gorski (2008) who found in his research that there were discrepancies in the number of white adults (70%) to African Americans (57%) who had access to the Internet. He also found that 93% of households with annual incomes greater than $75,000 have home Internet access, while fewer than 49% of households with an annual income less than $30,000 have access (Fox, 2005). In New Zealand, in 2006, the figures were similar with 72% of Europeans had access to the Internet compared with 59% of Maori and 47% of Pacific peoples. In relation to income, in 2006, 89% of households with an income greater than $70,000 have Internet access compared with 60% with an annual income less than $30,000. However, these numbers had increased in 2009 to 82% of Europeans, 74% of Maori and 62% of Pacific peoples and with regard to income 96% of households with an income greater than $70,000 and 71% of households with an income of less than $30,000 had access to the Internet. (stats.govt.nz)

Rogers (2003) noted that eventually as the rate of diffusion of the Internet approaches saturation, the digital divide as we know it will disappear. The inequality in access to Internet-provided information, however, may continue as the present access-divide is replaced by a learning-divide (in which certain individuals lack the skills of computer and/or Internet use), a content-divide (in which less educated individuals may not be able to comprehend the content of Web sites created by highly educated individuals), and other types of divides. This is beginning to become evident with regard to Broadband access where in developing countries there are only 4.4 subscriptions per 100 people compared with 24.6 per 100 people in developed countries (ITU World Telecommunications / ICT Indicators Database, 2010).

Gorski (2008) also found that there were discrepancies in schools. He found 94% of public schools have Internet access, this was up from 3% in 1994 and 77% in 2000. These figures also varied depending on the percentage of students of colour a school had. A review of data on student-to-computer ratios revealed the same trend. Schools with fewer than 6% students of colour have an average of 1 instructional computer with Internet access for every 3 students, whereas, schools with more than 50% students of colour have 1 computer for every 4.1 students (NCES. 2000). Data from New Zealand (ICT in School’s Report, 2009) estimated that 93% of Primary, 92% of Secondary and 88% of Maori Medium School Principals believed at least half of their school’s teachers have access to the Internet at home. 57% of Primary and 68% of Secondary Principals thought 50% of their students have access to the Internet at home compared with 30% of Maori Medium Principals. A review of the student-to-computer ratios in New Zealand revealed that there
was a ratio of 1:4 in Primary and 1:3 in Secondary in 2009. These have steadily risen as the following data shows: In 1995, the ratio was 1:18 in Primary and 1:10 in Secondary; In 1999, the ratio, was 1:11 in Primary and 1:6 in Secondary and finally, in 2005 the ratios were 1:5 in Primary and 1:4 in Secondary. The data from these surveys found that the number of students per computer remained fairly stable across the different deciles (ICT in School’s report, 2009).

Support and Encouragement to Pursue Technology Interests

Racialized and gendered socialisations teach us that certain people are not supposed to be interested in, or even capable of, technology-related educational and professional pursuits (Cassell & Jenkins, 1998). In 2005 Pinkard noted that “By High School, girls are considerably less likely than boys to take computer science courses”. This statement is backed up by an analysis of students entered for Computing and Information Technology Standards for NCEA (New Zealand Qualifications Authority, 2010) In 2010 the percentage of European girls entered was 24.3% compared to 32.8% boys. A similar trend was noted amongst Asian entrants which had 8.7% males and 5.0% females. This is, however, not the case amongst Maori and Pacifica where the percentage of girls was higher than the percentage of boys. Maori girls was 9.1% compared to 8.3% boys and Pacifica girls were 6.2% compared to 5.7% boys. These trends have occurred in each year since 2005. However, since 2005 the percentage of entrants of European decent has steadily decreased from 35.9% males in 2005 to 32.8% in 2010 and 29.2% of females in 2005 to 24.3% in 2010. The numbers for Maori and Pasifica have increased in this time. Maori: 6.7% males and 8.0% females in 2005 to 8.3% males and 9.1% females in 2010. Pasifica: 3.5% Males and 4.2% females in 2005 to 5.7% males and 6.2% females in 2010.

It was also noted by Solomon & Allen, 2003 that “...whereas teachers working with predominantly students of colour tend to use computer and Internet technology for word processing, skills and drills, and other lower-order thinking activities, their colleagues in schools with predominantly White students tend to use these technologies to encourage critical analysis, construction of ideas and concepts, and inquiry.
Research also indicates that African American and Latina(o) people are much more likely than their White counterparts to view or use computer and Internet technologies for entertainment purposes, and that this trend begins in childhood (L.Jackson et al., 2007). White people, on the other hand, are more likely than people of colour to use these technologies to seek financial or health information (Spooner & Rainie, 2000; Saunders, 2002).

With regard to using the Internet for communication Females are ahead of Males. With 88% of Males and 92% of Females using the Internet to send or receive e-mails. Females are also more likely to use the Internet for social networking than Males with 50% of Females and 42% of Males. With regard to ethnicity Europeans are more likely to use the Internet for sending and receiving e-mails than Maori or Pacific peoples with 92% European, 80% Maori and 83% Pacific peoples. This however changes when you look at Social Networking with Europeans 44%, Maori 52% and Pacific peoples 51% (Statistics New Zealand, 2009).
The data between 2006 and 2009 showed little difference regarding e-mails and the data was pretty consistent at around 90% regardless of age over 20. The under 20% had the lowest percentage use of using the Internet for e-mails at 86%. There was no data regarding social networking in 2006, but in 2010 the data showed the heaviest users to be the under 25’s with the percentages slowly decreasing as you get older.
This data is also supported by the work of Greenwood, Harata Te Aika, & Davies, (2011) who talk about creating a virtual marae. The Marae has served as an open access library of histories, genealogical connections, philosophical and social values, and a site for discussion about current events. Carvings, weavings and other decorative elements within the meeting house recorded the multiplicity of records, stories and debates that were important for the well-being and development of the people. The development of digital technologies, particularly the web, text messaging and digital recording and editing, is presenting the opportunities of a virtual marae, and is creating meeting houses in cyberspace where Maori can meet, greet, acknowledge and support each other, where they can learn according to their own perceived needs rather than according to the choices of an educational system, and where they can debate and inform contemporary issues (Greenwood, Harata Te Aika, & Davies, 2011).

In 2009, in New Zealand 44% Males, 35% Females, 36% European, 47% Maori, 45% Pacific peoples download or listen to Music (Statistics New Zealand, 2009). This supports the findings of L. Jackson et al., (2007) that found that African American and Latina(o) people are much more likely than their White counterparts to view or use computer and Internet technologies for entertainment purposes. While in 2009, 30% Males, 39% Females, 36% European, 28% Maori, 26% Pacific peoples (Statistics New Zealand, 2009) accessed the Internet for Health or health services, and 64% Males, 65% Females, 68% European, 55% Maori, 46% Pacific peoples (Statistics New Zealand, 2009) accessed Internet banking which supports the findings of Spooner & Rainie (2000 and Saunders (2002).

Affirming and nonhostile IT and Cyber-Cultures

In 1999 the Economic Development Administration (EDA) uncovered a variety of sociopolitical barriers to improving the technology infrastructure of Native American communities. Among these barriers was federal policy that fails to consider the severity of technology gaps faced by Native peoples (EDA, 1999). The invisibility of Native communities is not new, nor is it unique to issues of digital equity - this, again, represents the ways in which such inequities are replicated, rather than mitigated, by the digital revolution. (Gorski, 2008). Nothing is more hostile, nothing breeds a culture of greater distrust - than being rendered invisible. But this is what the cultures surrounding computer and Internet technologies have done to already-disenfranchised groups in the United States. (Gorski, 2008). Resta, Christal and Roy (2004) identify new technologies as having the potential to support and sustain native cultures and also the potential to accelerate its erosion. Davis, (2008) outlines an ecological framework that identifies the teacher as the ‘keystone species’ in the evolution of educational ecologies. Her ecological perspective clarifies reasons for the reduction of the impact of digital technologies when the teaching and learning ecology does not fit with the ecologies with which it must interact. This includes the school ecology, the wider examination system and the home. On the other hand for indigenous people, digital technologies offer communicative and educational opportunities beyond those of school (Greenwood, Harata Te Aika, & Davies, 2011).

Affirming and nonhostile content

We also need to think critically about the content of computer software. Research shows that even when disenfranchised groups do gain physical access to these technologies, they often struggle to find affirming and non-hostile content (Gorski, 2008). Inequities in the gaming world are particularly critical because most children are introduced to computer technology through video games (Cooper, 2006).
In New Zealand, in 2009 24% Males, 15% Females, 17% European, 24% Maori, 26% Pacific peoples, 40% 15-19 year olds play or download computer or video games. (Statistics New Zealand, 2009).
Like socioeconomically disadvantaged people, speakers of languages other than English who find their way online are unlikely to find culturally relevant resources there (Resta & McLaughlin, 2003). In 2010 there were estimated to be 536.6 million users of the Internet who spoke English, 444.9 million users who spoke Chinese and 153.3 million users who spoke Spanish (Source: Internet World Stats - www.internetworldstats.com/stats7.htm). However, the percentage of web content by language was 68.4% in English, 3.9% in Chinese and 2.4% in Spanish, this was based on 313 billion web pages (Global Reach, 2004 - http://global-reach.biz/globstats/refs.php3). This shows a clear dominance of the English language on the Internet. Cultural preservation and development through the creation of digital content in local languages is a major challenge confronting many countries across the globe (Resta & Laferriere, 2008). The use of open educational resources (e.g open courseware initiatives (MIT, UNESCO), Creative Commons (some rights reserved), and open source software (Open Office, GIMP, Tux Paint, Nvu) for individual and community empowerment is the employed strategy. For instance, Native Americans have engaged in digital repatriation of sacred or important artifacts that reside in national or regional museums. Indigenous communities are now able to use technology to develop educational resources and materials that reflect the language, culture, history, and resident knowledge of indigenous communities to support culturally responsive teaching and learning in schools serving native children (Resta et al., 2004). Examples from New Zealand can be found in the work by Greenwood, Harata Te Aika, & Davies, (2011). They examined three cases where groups have utilised and ‘colonised’, a range of particular technologies in order to build capacity for their tribal groups and wider community. In this way they have used technologies as tools to overcome some of the financial, social and political deprivation caused by historic and continuing colonisation (Greenwood, Harata Te Aika, & Davies, 2011). They also offer the proposition that in terms of indigenous development within Aotearoa New Zealand, digital technology creates less of a divide than an opportunity to repair some of the devastating landslides created by colonisation. In conclusion to their work they found that digital technology has become a significant tool in the renaissance of Maori language. They also found that productive pathways were opened up because of the drive of a handful of people who had the vision to see the potential of the media and who strategised to use them for the advancement of their people

Our Challenges

Gorski (2008) left us with eight challenges:
Challenge One: We must never write about, speak about, or encourage philosophical intersections of multicultural education and technology without acknowledging digital inequities. For example, we must acknowledge that innovative uses of technology for multicultural education are innovative only for the people who have access to them-access in the broadest sense.
Challenge Two: We must refuse to advocate for the growing role of computers and the Internet in education until all teachers, regardless of the composition of the students they serve, are trained to integrate these technologies in progressive and pedagogically sound ways.
Challenge Three: We must discuss digital inequities, not as individual phenomena, but as symptoms of larger systemic inequities. And we must challenge strategies for “closing” or “bridging” the digital divide that fail to consider digital inequities in this broader context.
Challenge Four: We must advocate cost limits on computers, educational software, Internet access, and adaptive technologies.
Challenge Five: We must encourage school systems to place instructional technology specialists in every school. And we must insist that these specialists be trained educators, not merely hardware technicians or IT professionals.
Challenge Six: We must refuse to publicize popular Web portals such as Yahoo! until they provide more non-English and limited-literacy content.
Challenge Seven: We must critique publicly the notion that technological progress necessarily is synonymous with social, cultural, and humanistic progress-what Smith (1994) and M. Jackson (2007) refer to as “technological determinism”. And we must produce more and deeper scholarship on the relationships between technological progress and globalization, corporatization, imperialism, and other means of concentrating power and privilege.
Challenge Eight: Finally, and most importantly, as with any work that we call multicultural education, we must push ourselves, ever vigilantly, to transcend celebrating the joys of diversity, beyond learning about this or that culture, and to ask ourselves, How can we use these technologies to further the cause of equity and social justice in schools and society? Anything less can scarcely be called authentic multicultural eduction.

In Conclusion:

This chapter is based on the work of Paul Gorski (2008) who applies McLaren’s (1995) theoretical framework of critical multicultural education to ICT. As multicultural educators we must develop and implement educational technology practices that are unilaterally equitable for all students. To do this we must begin with an educational foundation that is grounded in the multicultural, and not, as is more often the case, with blind desire for technological advancement (Gorski, 2000). When introducing new technologies we need to think more carefully and critically about what can be done and then make decisions about what should be done such that positive learning experiences for all students are maximized, while minimizing, if not altogether eliminating, negative learning experiences, especially those that alienate certain groups of students for want of access to necessary tools and resources (Gorski, 2000; Sleeter, 1996).


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Hall and Hord (1987): Concerns Based Adoption Model (CBAM) of innovation - Maree

Section by Maree Crosby


The Concerns-Based Adoption Model (CBAM) is a conceptual framework of change, first proposed by Gene Hall, Dick Wallace, and Bill Dossett in 1973 (Hall & Hord, 1987). The CBAM model has its origins in concerns theory which was developed in the late 1960s from research performed by Frances Fuller and her colleagues at the University of Texas at Austin (Hall & Hord, 1987). Concerns theory focuses on the concerns or problems that teachers have at different stages of their teaching careers, and how these concerns change in a somewhat predictable pattern over time (Fuller, Bown, & Peck 1967). Fuller grouped these concerns into four areas: unrelated, self, task, and impact concerns (Hall & Hord, 1987). The CBAM model follows on from Fuller’s progression of concerns when considering most innovations and the change process in general, and describes the concerns relating to these concepts in more detail with its Stages of Concern dimension. The other two dimensions of the CBAM model are the Levels of Use an individual might have in relation to an innovation, and the Innovation Configurations, which allows users to develop a checklist of how an innovation may be used (Hall & Hord, 1987).

Underlying Assumptions

Hall and Hord (1987) acknowledge that there are several assumptions about change and innovation that form the foundations of the CBAM model. They are (pp. 8-11):

  1. Understanding the point of view of the participants in the change process is critical. It is only by understanding the concerns and questions of the teachers involved in a change process that change facilitators can ensure their interventions are relevant to the teachers’ needs.
  2. Change is a process, not an event. Hall and colleagues viewed change as a process that occurred over time, with phases and steps that could be anticipated.
  3. It is possible to anticipate much that will occur during a change process. Hall and colleagues believe that change processes follow a generally predictable pattern of development and as such, many parts of that process can be prearranged and facilitated by ‘change facilitators’.
  4. Innovations come in all sizes and shapes. The term ‘innovation’ in this context can mean products, such as textbooks or equipment, as well as techniques or procedures. Innovations are not necessarily large or dramatically different from the status quo.
  5. Innovation and implementation are two sides of the change process coin. Developing and delivering an innovation is only one part of the change process. To ensure an innovation is used, change facilitators must also address the steps and procedures necessary to implement the innovation.
  6. To change something, someone has to change first. According to Hall and Hord (1987) “The ultimate effectiveness of an innovation depends on whether teachers and others change to incorporate the new practice” (p.10). Before planning a change process for an entire school, it is important to consider each staff member’s level of use (or non-use) of the innovation.
  7. Everyone can be a change facilitator. While responsibility for facilitating change may be assigned to one person (such as a principal or ICT lead teacher), in the most successful schools it is a responsibility that each staff member shares.

Stages of Concern

Hall and Hord (1987) describe the Stages of Concern as seven categories of concern about an innovation which an individual may progress through during the change process. These stages are (p. 60):
0 AWARENESS – The individual demonstrates little concern about or involvement with the innovation.
1 INFORMATIONAL – The individual shows a general awareness of the innovation and interest in learning more about it. The person seems unworried about him/herself in relation to the innovation. They are interested in aspects of the innovation such as the general characteristics, effects, and requirements for use.
2 PERSONAL – The individual focuses on how the innovation will affect them at a personal level. Their concerns may relate to their own time limitations or the changes they will be expected to make. They might also be concerned with how their use of the innovation will be viewed by persons in authority such as the principal.
3 MANAGEMENT – The individual is concerned with the processes and tasks associated with the innovation. Issues related to organisation, management, and efficiency are utmost in the mind of the individual.
4 CONSEQUENCE – At this stage individuals are concerned with how the innovation will impact their students. They might consider how relevant the innovation is, what effect it will have on student outcomes, and how changes could be made to improve those outcomes.
5 COLLABORATION – The individual is concerned with how to coordinate and cooperate with colleagues and others regarding the use of the innovation.
6 REFOCUSING – At this stage, the individual focuses on exploring the benefits of the innovation on a wider group. The person will be evaluating the innovation and considering improvements that may be made or future directions that could be more successful.

An example of this in relation to digital technologies could be if a school were looking to implement the Mathletics programme. This is a web-based programme of mathematics work for children aged 5-18 years. If the change facilitator were to assess the concerns of teachers at the beginning of the implementation, teachers might say things like “What is Mathletics?” (Stage 1) or “I’m finding it hard to fit Mathletics time into my teaching programme” (Stage 2). After a year or so of working with the programme, teachers’ concerns might include statements such as “What effect is Mathletics having on recall of basic facts?” (Stage 4).

Stages of Concern about an innovation can be assessed in variety of ways, including using a Stages of Concern Questionnaire. Facilitators can then use this information to inform the direction of future interventions, or to check the progress of the change. It can also be used to explain why the change is not complete and what is needed next (Hall & Hord, 1987). Hall and colleagues are careful to point out that progress through the stages may not be linear, nor unidirectional. They further note that a teacher may have concerns at several stages at any one time, and some of their concerns may be more intense than others. Anderson (1997) points out that not all teachers move into Stages 4-6, and that once early concerns have been addressed, the teachers’ focus may change to other matters requiring their attention.

Levels of Use

While the Stages of Concern focus on the feelings of individuals, the second dimension of the CBAM identifies and describes the behaviours that may be exhibited by individuals in relation to an innovation. There are eight levels which have been defined and described by Hall and Hord (1987). They are (p.84):

0 NONUSE – Defined as “a state in which the user has little or no knowledge of the innovation, no involvement with the innovation, and is doing nothing toward becoming involved.” (Hall & Hord, 1987, p.84)
I ORIENTATION – The user is beginning to gather information about the innovation and/or is exploring how it might be used. They have not yet made a commitment to use the innovation.
II PREPARATION – The user is preparing his/her area for the innovation and planning for its first use.
III MECHANICAL USE – The user has a short-term focus (day to day, or hour to hour) of the use of the innovation as they begin to use it for the first time. They often lack fluidity in their use of their innovation as they are still attempting to master the tasks required when using it. The user makes many changes in their use in order to improve their efficiency.
IVA ROUTINE – The user knows the routines and the longer-term sequence of the innovation’s use. They know where they are going with its use and have no plans to change.
IVB REFINEMENT – The user varies the use of the innovation, within the classroom, to get greater impact of the innovation for the students. For example, users might attend a workshop in order to enhance their teaching skills with the innovation.
V INTEGRATION – The user works with other users in making changes to improve the effectiveness of innovation with all their students.
VI RENEWAL – The user re-evaluates the quality of use of the innovation and seeks to make major modifications to the innovation or its use, possibly by adding new or different components with the purpose of improving the effects of the innovation.

When considering how Levels of Use could work with digital technologies we can again consider the earlier example of a school implementing the Mathletics programme. Early on in the change process a teacher might be planning ways of using Mathletics in their regular Maths time (Level II). After a year or so, that teacher may have established daily routines for Mathletics use and have plans for cycling through the available practice options (Level IVA). If the data showed many teachers at Level III, a change facilitator could plan a professional development session to help teachers move into Routine use (Level IVA).

As with the Stages of Concern, a teacher may not necessarily move through all Levels of Use with every innovation. Anderson (1997) notes that teachers may go through Orientation with many innovations but will not implement all of them. Additionally, teachers may not move past the Routine use of an innovation as other demands cause their focus of attention to shift.

Innovation Configuration 

The third and final dimension of the CBAM is the Innovation Configuration. Champion (2003) notes:

The Innovation Configuration has not received as much attention as some of the [University of Texas in Austin R & D] center’s other tools: the Stages of Concern questionnaire and interview tool and the Levels of Use tool, used in teacher observations to gauge how well teachers are implementing a new classroom protocol. (p. 69)

However, the Innovation Configuration is a way of formally identifying the components or essential parts of the innovation, and further identifying the possible variations of how each component is used within a classroom. The goal of the Innovation Configuration is to address issues such as the best way to use a particular innovation component, or comparing the practices of teachers in different classrooms (Hall & Hord, 1987). Once the components and variations have been identified, it is possible to develop an Innovation Configuration Components Checklist in order to analyse how teachers are using the innovation in the classroom. Examples of this dimension are often related to programmes or techniques rather than single products: for example, Hall and Hord (1987) give examples of a mathematics programme, and a team teaching technique, while Champion (2003) gives an example of increasing reading comprehension. In relation to digital technologies, this would have application when the innovation is a technique such as integrating ICT tools into classroom programmes or improving literacy through blogging. Again, looking at our earlier example of implementing the Mathletics programme, the Innovation Configuration could establish which ways of using Mathletics were most beneficial. If the school target was to improve speed of basic facts recall, the IC could establish that frequent use of the Live Mathletics component, a timed practice of basic facts, was expected.

CBAM and Davis’ (2008) Ecological Framework

If we consider CBAM in terms of Davis’ (2008) Ecological Framework, the teacher would be at the centre of the framework, nested within the classroom, and the school. This is evident from the first assumption which states that “the point of view of the participants in the change process is critical” (Hall & Hord, 1987, p. 8). The change facilitators, most likely a principal, lead teachers, and/or IT co-ordinator, would sit within the school layer and would have professional, or possibly bureaucratic, influences on the teacher by seeking to enable the teacher to use the new innovation effectively. Change facilitators who have an understanding of the framework would have a greater appreciation for the restrictions that teachers may face, which would impact the Stages of Concern aspect of CBAM. This would also allow facilitators to better plan interventions to increase the efficiency of the innovation being introduced.

CBAM and Other Theories of Change

The dimension of Innovation Configuration (IC) also relates to Rogers (2003) attributes of innovations in that both theories attempt to describe an innovation – Rogers in terms of five attributes (relative advantage, compatibility, complexity, trialability, and observability) and IC in terms of its components. While Rogers’ attributes perspective could be advantageous to change facilitators when considering issues that might arise from teachers’ perspectives, the potential danger is that it defines the innovation in terms of the perspectives of the user rather than what might be the reality (Hall & Hord, 1987). That’s not to say that change facilitators couldn’t use these different theories together. Ellsworth (2001) suggests that if one is making modifications to an innovation based on Rogers’ attributes, one might also consider making an IC Component Checklist to make sure an essential component isn’t eliminated.
Sherry and Gibson (2002) felt that as a “traditional adoption model” (para. 4) one of the limitations of CBAM was that the educational system is not a separate or independent system. Rather, they describe the educational system in a more ecological manner as “teachers, within classrooms, within schools, within districts” (para. 4). However, CBAM does not necessarily dismiss the effects of classrooms, schools, or districts on the teacher. Since the Stages of Concern reflect the concerns of the teachers involved, any influences from classes, schools, etc. may be reflected in the concerns expressed. The Levels of Use may also be influenced by classroom or school situations.

Implications for Educational Practice

Change is a continual part of teaching practice. Each year, many teachers are asked to implement new innovations in one way or another, be it through new learning programmes or emerging digital technologies. Anderson (1997) argues that CBAM is “the most robust and empirically grounded theoretical model for the implementation of educational innovations” (p. 331). Having a strong understanding of theories of change could assist IT co-ordinators and teachers to appreciate where they are in the change process and where they are headed. CBAM would be of particular use to principals planning their staff development when implementing changes. If a principal knows that the majority of the staff are at a Mechanical Level of Use (III) and have high Management concerns (Stage 3), then they could plan a staff development session which focuses on successful ways of managing the new innovation, or provide staff with additional time to come to grips with using and understanding the innovation. Alternatively, if questioning reveals that teachers are still in the Personal concerns stage (2) then they could illustrate to their staff how the innovation could be introduced step-by-step in order to reduce likelihood of teachers feeling overwhelmed. By actively facilitating the change process, school leaders can help to ensure that new innovations in technology and teaching practice are implemented and maintained within their schools.


In 2010, Hall and Hord produced the third edition of an updated account of CBAM in a book called Implementing Change: Patterns, Principal and Potholes. As Maree was unable to access a copy of that publication in time for this assignment, she relied on their 1987 work: Change in Schools: Facilitating the Process.
Niki notes that Knezek and Christiansen have very simple CBAM instruments that are easy to use, rather than the very comprehensive questionnaires originally developed by Hall and Hord.


Anderson, S. E. (1997). Understanding Teacher Change: Revisiting the Concerns Based Adoption Model. Curriculum Inquiry, 27(3), 331-367.

Champion, R. (2003). Taking Measure: The Innovation Configuration. Journal of Staff Development, 24(2), 69-71.

Davis, N.E. (2008). How may teacher learning be promoted for educational renewal with IT? In J. Voogt & G. Knezek (Eds.), International handbook of information technology primary and secondary education (pp. 507-520) Amsterdam: Springer.

Ellsworth, J. (2001). A survey of educational change models. Teacher Librarian, 29(2), 22-24.

Fuller, F. F., Bown, O. H., & Peck, R. F. (1967). Creating climates for growth (Report No. 0002). Austin: The University of Texas at Austin, Research and Development Center for Teacher Education.
Hall, G. E., & Hord, S. M. (1987). Change in schools: Facilitating the process. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

Rogers, E. M. (2003). Diffusion of Innovations (5th ed.). New York: Free Press

Sherry, L., & Gibson, D. (2002). The path to teacher leadership in educational technology.Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education [Online journal], 2(2). Retrieved from http://www.citejournal.org/vol2/iss2/general/article2.cfm

Marshall, S: e-Learning Maturity Model (eMM)

Section led by Nick Ford in 2008, edited and updated by Niki Davis in 2011

The e-Learning Maturity Model (eMM) is a maturity change model. Maturity change models view change as an evolutionary and iterative process through which institutional practices and processes evolve. The eMM) provides a quality improvement framework with which educational institutions can assess and compare their e-learning capability in an endeavour to facilitate institutional e-Learning improvement across the sector.

The eMM is based upon the Capability Maturity Model (CMM Paulk et al, 1993) and SPICE (Software Process Improvement and Capability determination, El Emam et al, 1998, SPICE 2002). The CMM and SPICE models are used in the field of software engineering for improving software development capability. The eMM has been successfully piloted and refined in eleven New Zealand tertiary institutions (seven universities and four polytechnics). Subsequently this research has expanded internationally (Marshall, 2010; 2011).

eMM is one of a number of benchmarking tools that have been created for insitutions and others include the MIT'90s framework, which origiated in the Massachusets Institute of Technology in the 1990s (Wikipedia 2011) and was later adapted for UK schools by BECTA:

Benchmarking is a management tool that has been applied in many areas of business but it is only in 2005-06 that there has been immense growth in its application specifically to university use of educational technology, initially in New Zealand (Marshall, 2005), then in Europe including the UK under the auspices of the Higher Education Academy[1] and most recently spreading to the US.

(Wikipedia 2011)

The eMM theoretical model

The eMM divides the e-Learning capability of an institution into five major process categories each of which is broken down into a number of practices. Each practice is assessed in the context of five dimensions.

eMM process categories are:

  1. Learning - processes that directly impact on pedagogical aspects of e-Learning
  2. Development - processes surrounding the creation and maintenance of e-learning resources
  3. Support - processes surrounding the oversight and management of e-learning
  4. Evaluation - processes surrounding the evaluation and quality control of e-learning through its entire lifecycle
  5. Organisation - processes associated with institutional planning and management

--> maybe insert later if permission given: Image in Marshall, S, 2006c, eMM Version Two Process Assessment Workbook, Wellington: Victoria University of Wellington

eMM dimensions are:

  1. Delivery is concerned with the creation and delivery of process outcomes. In other words to what extent is a specific process seen to operate within an institution.
  2. Planning assesses to what extent institutional plans and objectives are used in conduct the work of the process.
  3. Definition covers the use of institutionally defined and documented standards, guidelines, templates and policies during the process implementation.
  4. Management is concerned with how the institution manages the process implementation and ensures the quality of the outcomes.
  5. Optimisation captures the extent an institution is using formal approaches to improve the capability measured in other dimensions.


--> maybe insert later if permission given: Image from Marshall, S, 2006c, eMM Version Two Process Assessment Workbook, Wellington: Victoria University of Wellington


The practices are intended to be generic so that they can reflect the use of different pedagogies, technologies and organisational cultures and are classified as being either essential (listed as bold type) or useful (listed as plain type).

eMM Assessment

When conducting an eMM assessment each practice is rated for performance from 'not adequate' to 'fully adequate' The ratings at each dimension are done on the basis of the evidence collected from the institution and are a combination of whether or not the practice is performed, how well it appears to be functioning, and how prevalent it appears to be.

--> maybe insert later if permission given: Image from Marshall, S, 2006c, eMM Version Two Process Assessment Workbook, Wellington: Victoria University of Wellington

The Results of an eMM assessment

The final result of an eMM assessment is illustrated below showing a comparison of e-Learning capability between four different New Zealand ITPs, which include polytechnics.

--> maybe insert later if permission given: Image from Marshall, S, 2006c, eMM Version Two Process Assessment Workbook, Wellington: Victoria University of Wellington

Research findings and implications of eMM

In late 2008 10 ITPs were assessed using the eMM. The findings from this assessment, reported early 2009, found that patterns of strength and weakness were similar across the New Zealand ITP sector and comparable to eMM assessments conducted internationally. The research concluded that no institution assessed by the eMM has yet to demonstrate a model of applying e-Learning that is guaranteed to meet the needs of all of its students, staff and wider stakeholders.

Implications for practice arising from the eMM assessment are:

  • Moving to use technology to support learning requires systematic change and improvement
  • Systematic change to incorporate technology into learning requires clarity of purpose and leadership
  • Effective e-learning requires professional development and support
  • Pedagogy needs to be the focus, not technology
  • Students need to be informed what e-learning means for them
  • Existing systems and procedures are not flexible enough nor integrated sufficiently with existing institutional systems to ensure high quality sustainable e-learning

With educational technology maturing, e-Learning is increasingly recognised as becoming a more integral feature of tertiary education, contributing to a networked, flexible education system. Stakeholders in the tertiary education sector have identified a need for evidenced-based knowledge on e-Learning to inform their activities. Building this knowledge using a tool such as the eMM could help ensure that e-Learning activities are undertaken in a co-ordinated, informed, sustainable, scalable and high-quality way.


Marshall, S. (2006b). eMM Version Two Process Guide. Wellington: Victoria University of Wellington.

Marshall, S (2006c). eMM Version Two Process Assessment Workbook. Wellington: Victoria University of Wellington.

Marshall, S. (2010). Change, technology and higher education: are universities capable of organisational change?ALT-J, Research in Learning Technology, 18(3), 179-192.

Marshall, S. et al (2011). E-Learning Maturity Model web site. Retrieved May 21, 2011 from http://www.utdc.vuw.ac.nz/research/emm/

Marshall, S. & Mitchell, G. (2002). An E-Learning Maturity Model?, Proceedings of the 19th Annual Conference of the Australian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education. Australian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education. Retrieved August 1,2009, from http://www.unitec.ac.nz/ascilite/proceedings/papers/173.pdf

Neuhauser, C. (2004). A Maturity Model: Does it Provide a Path for Online Course Design?, Journal of Interactive Online Learning, 3(1). Retrieved July 10, 2009, from http://www.ncolr.org/jiol/issues/PDF/3.1.3.pdf

SPICE. (2002). Software Process Assessment version 1.00. Retrieved July 23, 2009, from http://www-sqi.cit.gu.edu/spice/

Wikipedia. (2009). Benchmarking e-learning. Retrived May 28, 2011 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benchmarking_e-learning

Rogers (2003): Diffusion of innovations with respect to digital technologies - Sarah

Section led by Sarah Tiplady

This section aims to present advice on how educational institutions can use Rogers’ (2003) model of Diffusion of Innovation to encourage and explain the use of digital technologies.

Everett Rogers first published his theory of Diffusion of Innovation in 1962 to build upon previous ideas and to explain diffusion of innovation. Diffusion of innovation has two parts to it. Firstly in regards to diffusion, Rogers (2003) specified four elements in the process: innovation, communication channels, time, and the social system. Then in regards to an innovation his model specifies five characteristics, they are relative advantage, compatibility, complexity, trialability, and observability. Additionally, an innovation has to be relatively advantageous, simple to use and in line with the existing values or needs of potential adopters. Furthermore an innovation that can be experimented with on a limited basis and is visible to others is more likely to be adopted.

In this section I looked at Rogers’ model of diffusion of innovation in relation to the use and uptake of digital technologies in educational institutions. I looked at a study by Liao (2005) which sought to explain the adoption of a web-based course management system by college students using Rogers' (2003) model of the diffusion of innovation and to assess the impact of the adoption on interaction between students, instructors, and course materials. Another study examined was the work of Borman, (2004) which is about the extent to which a teacher’s implementation of an innovation depends on the teacher’s access and response to social capital. This can also be linked to Davis’ (2011) ecological perspective on the school’s ecosystem. A further study was by Carina Granberg (2005) who investigates the extent to which teachers adopted a computer technology innovation and the role of collaboration in the adoption process. This can be linked to Borman and Davis in the social and ecosystem areas of diffusion of innovations. The final article reviewed, by Rogoza, (2007) examined factors related to the diffusion of the Wimba Live Classroom technology which is an online learning platform, using Rogers’ (2003) framework for diffusion of innovation.  

Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovations Theory, a brief overview

Four Main Elements in the Diffusions of Innovations

Innovation: Rogers’ described an innovation thus: “An innovation is an idea, practise, or project that is perceived as new by an individual or other unit of adoption” (Rogers, 2003, p12). For example an innovation in teaching and learning is the use of Online Learning Management Systems for delivering some or all of a course.

Communication: For Rogers (2003) communication is “a process in which participants create and share information with one another in order to reach a mutual understanding” (p.5). This communication occurs through ‘channels’ between sources which are the way the message gets to the receiver. An example in the educational technology area could be an individual teacher showing another teacher how they are using an ipad for teaching and learning. Time: Rogers stated that "The innovation-decision period is the length of time required to pass through the innovation-decision process” (Rogers: 2003:21). This means that time is an important element as it is the length of time taken to complete the five stages. Therefore in an educational setting this would be the time it takes for the innovation to be confirmed, in the case of using a social networking site for communication instead of email.

Social System: The last element in the diffusion process is the social system, Rogers’ (2003) states that the social system is “a set of interrelated units engaged in joint problem solving to achieve a common goal” (p.23). As diffusion takes place in the social system of a structure or institution so it is affected by that social system. So in the case of diffusion of an innovation such as a new computer based spelling program for use a primary school it would be the teachers, support staff, management and pupils who would be implementing it.

Five Stages in the Innovation Decision Process

Knowledge: at this stage the person becomes aware of an innovation and has some idea of how it functions. For example a primary school teacher hears about the use of email and may have some friends or colleagues that have used it or use it as a form of communication.

Persuasion: Next the person forms a favorable or unfavorable attitude toward the innovation. The above individual has heard about email and thinks it is a great idea for communicating quickly with others.

Decision: After that the person engages in activities that lead to a choice to adopt or reject the innovation. The individual making a decision about email decides to set up a web based email account.

Implementation: Now the person puts an innovation into use. The individual who is deciding whether or not to use email starts to use it to communicate with family, friends and colleagues.

Confirmation: Finally the person evaluates the results of an innovation-decision which have already been made.

Attributes of Innovations and the Rate of Adoption

Relative Advantage: Rogers’ (2003) defined relative advantage as “the degree to which an innovation is perceived as being better than the idea it supercedes” (p.229). In the case of a school adopting a social networking site as a means of communication this may be seen as an advantage as they can send and receive messages instantly in a discussion form if necessary. For example instead of setting up a meeting between parents via email, the social network site of the school could manage this and everyone could arrange the time and venue to suit online instead of one person contacting each person individually to arrange.

Compatibility: Rogers’ stated that compatibility is “the degree to which an innovation is conceived as consistent with the existing values, past experiences and needs of potential adopters”(p. 15). In the above example the school social networking site would be adopted faster if the people adopting the innovation already belonged to a social networking site as they would have experience with one, have a value for it and see a need. It could also be the case that they could use the same social network site and add a group.

Complexity: The next attribute of innovations and their rate of adoption is complexity. Rogers (2003) defined complexity as “the degree to which an innovation is perceived as relatively difficult to understand and use.” (p.15) Complexity is negatively correlated with the rate of adoption, the opposite to all the other attributes of innovations and the rate of adoption. The reverse of complexity is ‘simplicity’; this is used in some studies of the diffusion of innovations. An example of complexity for a school would be, when adopting an innovation such as a social networking site as a means of communication, the adopters may find the site very easy to use with a simple interface. This would mean that the adoption rate would be faster in this case.

Trialability: According to Rogers’ (2003) “trialability is the degree to which an innovation may be experimented with on a limited basis.” (p.16). Trialability is positively correlated with the rate of adoption. The more an innovation is tried, the faster adoption is. Therefore when adopting an innovation such as a social networking site as a means of communication, the adopters who are able to ‘give it a go’ before adopting it fully are likely to adopt the new innovation more quickly than those who have not had a chance to trial the technology.

Observability: The final attribute of innovations according to Rogers is observability. Observability is “the degree to which the results of an innovation are observable to others” (p16). Consequently the adoption of the use of social networking site as a means of communication in a school would be quicker if people saw their peers using it and it working well for them.

Adopter Categories

Innovators: Innovators are individuals willing to try out new ideas, they are “venturesome” (Rogers, 2003:282). And so they are also prepared to cope with unprofitable or unsuccessful innovations and as such a certain level of uncertainty about the innovation. In regards to the social aspect of this theory, innovators may not be respected by all members of their community. In a teaching and learning environment an innovator is the individual who brings their own excitement about an innovation to his or her practise. For example such individuals may use expensive equipment such as iphones with their students to enable a different experience in their learning.

Early Adopters: Socially early adopters are more integrated; this allows them to become change agents (Rogers, 2003). They are more likely to hold leadership positions in the social system and as such others may come to them to get advice or information about the innovation. This may be a teacher in a management role who has started to deliver some of their curriculum by online learning.

Early Majority: The early majority according to Rogers (2003) adopts an innovation just before the average member of their community. The early majority think and consider an innovation extensively before adopting it. In a high school this could be the teachers who adopt an innovation such as using an interactive whiteboard in their classrooms before they are requested to by management, they have thought about it and discussed it with their peers and have decided to adopt this innovation because they believe it is the right thing to do.

Late Majority: The late majority takes up an innovation after the average member of a social system, they tend to be sceptical and cautious and require uncertainties to be removed before adopting the innovation (Rogers, 2003). To reduce the uncertainty of the innovation, social networks of peers should persuade the late majority to accept it. Then “the late majority feel that it is safe to adopt” (Rogers, 2003:284). Therefore in the case of the late majority using a presentation software program they will need to be encouraged to do so and perhaps mentored by their peers.

Laggards: Finally the laggards are the last to adopt innovations within a social system (Rogers, 2003). They may be isolated and not participate in social networks within a social system. They use experience as their point of reference and they may be suspicious of innovation and change agents. In a school these individuals may be the teachers who do not use their email accounts for communication when everyone else is. They may not start to use email until they absolutely have to.

Research on digital technologies in education that applyied Rogers (2003)

Liao ( 2005) used Rogers' diffusion of innovation model was used to examine the adoption and contribution of a web-based course management system at a college campus. He surveyed 196 students and found that Rogers' model successfully explained the adoption of the innovation. The adoption of the innovation also led to increased interaction between students, instructors, and course materials. The increased amount of interaction, in turn, significantly contributed to student learning. Complexity (in this study it was referred to as simplicity) was the most robust predictor of the adoption, which was measured as the frequency of usage. In other words, the user-friendly nature of the course management system encourages respondents to use the technology often. This finding suggests that it is important for an educational technology innovation to have user-friendly designs for it to be used by students. Complex educational technologies will be much less likely to be adopted by students at educational institutes. In addition to simplicity, relative advantage, compatibility, and student motivation were also significant predictors of the adoption. Rogers' model was also used to assess the impact of technological attributes on interaction between students, instructors, and course materials (Liao 2005:15). It was found that, while all of the four factors in the model successfully predict interaction, the combined measure of relative advantage and compatibility was the strongest predictor of interaction. Complexity was also a strong predictor of interaction. This finding may imply that features of the technology are important to help increase the interaction between students, instructors, and course materials. The increased interaction, in turn, significantly contributes to student learning.

Borman (2004) considered Rogers theory of Diffusion of Innovation with regards to Social Capital theory. Social capital is a sociological concept which refers to connections within and between social networks. Borman studied to what extent a teacher’s implementation of an innovation depends on the teacher’s access and response to social capital. She asserted that to quantify and understand how social structure within schools affects diffusion, one needs to apply the theory of social capital, in this case used as the potential to access resources through social relations. This theory of social capital addresses how individuals draw on membership in a common organization to gain access to expertise and exact conformity to influence each others’ implementation on the social processes that affect the implementation of computers within a school. This study found that change agents may be able to draw on social capital to facilitate the implementation of innovations. For example, change agents may designate professional development time for teachers in a primary school to interact and share their expertise. Or change agents may cultivate new expertise by supporting individuals new to an innovation to explore innovations and then share their knowledge (Borman: 2004). Within the social system, Rogers’ theory describes agents of change and opinion leaders as important to the process of change.

Granberg (2005) wrote about a group of teacher trainers who participated in a project to try out and implement digital individual development planning (adopting a reflective online journal) in a teacher education faculty at a Swedish university. The article presents a discussion of the circumstances in which digital individual development promotes reflective dialogue. Furthermore, it portrays the change process and the participants as change agents. According to Rogers’ theory, it is of great importance that change agents – in this case the project participants – engage in communication with their colleagues about the innovation. Portfolios and online reflective journals have been the subject of informal conversations in smaller groups during coffee breaks and in teacher teams’ planning courses. But this study found that they were no effective discussions. This study defined the participants in this project as change agents advocating the concept of digital reflective journals initiated by the change agency, the Faculty Board. However, in this study such individuals were not effective as change agents as they did not communicate effectively with others. I found this article to be interesting in the discussion of diffusion of innovation and the obstacles to spreading the use of new technology between Rogers’ adoption categories were overcome in this case through a common interest, based on a shared pedagogical understanding. But I do not think that it effectively promoted Rogers Diffusion of Innovation theory as the change agents were not effective. Perhaps this is because I believe the individuals chosen for the study were not change agents nor opinion leaders but adoptees of the innovation.

Another way of looking at technological innovation in education settings is Davis’ (2011) ecological model. In this model the arena has four dimensions which are political, bureaucratic, commercial and professional. The classroom is at the centre and the teacher has many constraints on them. They often cannot decide independently what they do, because all teachers work with others and, in some cases, may be competing with others or have to do the same as others such as those who  are in their team or syndicate. Davis states that the “teacher is the key individual in education…” Using ecological theory she explains why it is the teacher who has most  influence on each class' ecology and so each teacher is key to implementing change with digital technologies for a class and her or his behaviour can be influenced by related ecologies, including that of the school. In this ecological model there are additional factors which affect the diffusion of an innovation. Davis (2011) asserts that “leadership support and professional development will also facilitate adoption.” (p. 143) In the case of a primary school this explains why it is important for the management team to be supportive and promote an IT innovation with strategies such as the purchase of interactive whiteboards and professional development for staff.

Rogoza (2007) examined factors related to the diffusion of the Wimba Live Classroom technology (an online learning platform) using Rogers’ (2003) framework for diffusion of innovation. Rogoza stated that the implementation of Live Classroom may have been more effective with the use of Rogers’ (1995) diffusion theory as a framework. Innovators who bring in new technologies may gravitate to those they know will participate willingly in the initiative. However, these early adopters may not have the interpersonal networks or the acknowledged position of expertise in the social system to support effective communication for the diffusion process. Rogoza concluded that is important to distinguish early adopters who can facilitate the diffusion process from those who would not be as effective. I believe that this is a similar issue to the one that faced Granberg however she did not recognise or acknowledge it.  


Borman, K. (2004). Social Capital and the Diffusion of Innovations within Organizations: The Case of Computer Technology in Schools. Sociology of Education, 77(2), 148-171 doi:10.2307/j100369

Davis, N. (2008). How may teacher learning be promoted for educational renewal with IT? Models and theories of IT diffusion. In J. Voogt and G. Knezek (eds), International handbook of information technology in primary and secondary education (pp.507-519).Amsterdam: Springer.

Davis N.E. (2011). Global interdisciplinary research into the diffusion of IT innovations in education. In A. McDougall, (ed.), Researching IT in Education: Theory, Practice and Future Directions. (142-149) London: Routledge.

Demir, K. (2003) Rogers’ Theory of the Diffusion of Innovations and Online Course Registration. The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, **, 386-392

Frank, K. A. & Zhao, Y. (2009) Factors Affecting Technology Uses in Schools: An Ecological Perspective. American Educational Research Journal, 40(4), 807.

Granberg, C. (2009) Implementing digital individual development planning in teacher education: the challenges of communication in relation to the development of ICT-supported methods. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 8(2),123–13.

Liao, H. (2005). Communication Technology, Student Learning, and Diffusion of Innovation. College Quarterly, 8(2).

Rogers, E.M. (2003). Diffusion of Innovations (5th ed.). New York: Free Press.

Rogoza, C. (2007). Wimba Live Classroom: A Case Study of Diffusion of Innovation. Distance Learning, 4(4), 48.

Zhao, Y., Pugh, K., Sheldon, S. & Byers, J. (2002). Conditions for Classroom Technology Innovations. Teachers College Record, 104, 484–515.

Sherry, Gibson et al., (2000): Integrated Technology Adoption and Diffusion model - Adam

Section ld by Adam Hollingworth to review with a summary of this model

In recent years significant research has been conducted in relation to the adoption and implementation of information communication technologies. According to Zhang, Guo and Chen (2008, p.306) it has become one of the most active research areas in the management information system discipline. Sherry, Billing, Tavalin and Gibson (2000a) believed existing studies in this area were too linear and “did not adequately describe the systemic process in which technological, individual, organisational and pedagogical factors interact throughout the life span of an instructional technology” (p.2044). Two dominant studies on the adoption process at this time were;

  • (i) Rogers (1995) Theory of Innovation Diffusion Model: This model, described as one of the most well known in the area of diffusion (Yates, 2001), defined diffusion as the process by which an innovation is adopted by members of a certain community (Yates, 2001, p. 1). It identified four factors that influence adoption of an innovation; a) the innovation itself, b) the communication channels used to spread information about the innovation, c) time, and d) the nature of the society to whom it is introduced (Rogers, 2003).
  • (ii) Hall and Hord (1987) Concerns Based Adoption Model: This model provided a conceptual framework that described, explained, and predicted probable teacher concerns and behaviours throughout the school change process. It was suggested that as innovations are implemented, individuals progress through a typical set of concerns that are progressive and to some extent sequential; and progress in one innovation does not always transfer to the newest innovation (Slough, 1999)

Sherry, et al., (2000a) felt that these models did not adequately describe the systemic processes that occurred when new innovations were adopted. In particular Sherry and Gibson (2002) reported that the traditional models failed to deal with the complex interrelationships among many of the key actors and parts of the system (p. 180). They felt these traditional models attempted to see education as a single social system, and they failed to recognise external factors and the presence of change facilitators within a distributed, networked community.

The Integrated Technology Adoption and Diffusion model provides an alternative, non linear view of technology adoption based on the findings of a five-year project with teachers in Colorado in the United States. Using research conducted over a district wide technology training program, a professional growth model was developed providing evidence that teacher’s progress through a series of stages as they develop expertise with the Internet and the World Wide Web. A further study extended the original proposal to include a fifth stage and has become known as the Integration Technology Adoption and Diffusion Model. It suggests that technology implementation involves a cyclic process in which teachers evolve through five stages; (i) learners, (ii) adopters, (iii) co-learners/co-explorers, (iv) affirmer or rejecters, and finally (v) leaders. Successful adoption requires teachers to follow a path through all five stages, from learner to leader as shown in Table 1.

Stage 1. Teacher as Learner: In this information-gathering stage, teachers learn the knowledge and skills necessary for performing instructional tasks using technology.
Stage 2. Teacher as Adopter: In this stage, teachers progress through stages of personal and task management concern as they experiment with the technology, begin to try it out in their classrooms, and share their experiences with their peers.
Stage 3. Teacher as Co-Learner: In this stage, teachers focus on developing a clear relationship between technology and the curriculum, rather than concentrating on task management aspects.
Stage 4. Teacher as Reaffirmer/ Rejecter: In this stage, teachers develop a greater awareness of intermediate learning outcomes (i.e. increased time on tasks and greater student engagement) and begin to create new ways to observe and assess impact on student products and performances, and to disseminate exemplary student work to a larger audience.
Stage 5. Teacher as Leader: In this stage, experienced teachers expand their roles to become action researchers who carefully observe their practice, collect data, share the improvements in practice with peers, and teach new members. Their skills become portable.
Table1: Sahin's version Learning Adoption Trajectory (2005, p. 74) (adapted from Sherry et al., 2000)

In the first two stages teachers learn about knowledge and skills necessary for performing instructional tasks using technology, begin to try out these in their classrooms and share experiences with their peers. As they become confident teachers focus moves to developing a clear relationship between technology and the curriculum. During these early stages research has shown that involving teachers in the decision making process and making the technology integration project meaningful to them is likely to lead to greater success (Lei & Morrow, 2010). Adoption at this stage is also likely to occur if the innovation is seen as to addressing teachers personal concerns (Davis, 2008, p. 513) or like the International Society for Technology in Education has shown, addresses dissatisfaction with the status quo (Davis, 2008, p. 514). Teachers then decide whether to accept or reject the new implementation. Those who accept, begin to develop a greater awareness of intermediate learning outcomes and begin to create new ways to observe and assess the impact on students products and performances (Sherry, Billig, Tavalin, & Gibson, 2000b, p. 47). In the final stage “experienced teachers expanded their roles to become active researchers who carefully observed their own practice, collected data, shared their improvements in practice with their peers, and taught new members of their virtual learning community” (Sherry & Gibson, 2002, p. 182). It is suggest that analysis of the leadership stage requires a move away from linear models to the use of more dynamic models (Sherry, et. al., 2000a, p. 2047). Hagenson (2001) found that faculties sometimes skipped stages if they were extremely innovative, further indicating the non-linear, one dimensional, process proposed by the earlier models (as cited in Sherry & Gibson, 2002, p. 183). The five stages are summarised in appendix one.

In addition to proposing possible stages of development the Integrated Technology Adoption and Diffusion model reports professional development strategies required to successfully support each stage. The strategies include factors such as time for training, technical support, administrative support, and incentives. An examination of the proposed strategies makes it is clear that a systemic approach to implementation is required. Recent studies report benefits of taking a systemic approach to research on diffusion of information technology is beneficial (Davis, 2008, 2010; Frank & Zhao, 2003; Sherry & Gibson, 2002). Sherry and Gibson (2002), for example, believed successfully moving teacher along the path from learner to leader requires an understanding of how resources flow within an educational system. Such an understanding provides new insights about the processes and supports needed for the diffusion of technology expertise throughout a school, district, or larger educational system (p. 185). They recommend three critical processes for change to occur and for such change to be sustained. Firstly convergence of resources, secondly mutual benefits to those who are affected by the changes taking place; and finally continuous, extensive free flow of resources and expertise throughout the system to fuel its sustainability (p. 186). An understanding of how these three factors are related is clearly complex. Davis (2010) ecosystem perspective provides similar recognition of the complex nature of diffusion of IT in education. To appreciate how a teacher moves through the phases of Learning Adoption Trajectory requires an understanding and appreciation of how the ecologies that exist interact. Davis (2008) has challenged researchers to fully appreciate the complexities involved in an ecosystem approach when developing their methodologies. Sherry (1997) summarises that;

“Information technology interventions cannot be separated from their ecological contexts, or from the educational activities that they enhance. Moreover, technology-based projects that aim to bring about major change in all of the interconnected ecological systems, including classroom accommodations, school modifications, centralized policies, visions of learning, and beliefs and attitude-based behaviours, must aim not at individual participants, but must continue to address the entire ecological environment, including classroom teachers, school administrators, parents and the community, and the policy making bodies” Sherry (1997)

The Integrated Technology Adoption and Diffusion model provides a valuable framework and guidance as to stages of adoption for information technology but is too limited when considering factors involved at a global or ecosystem level.


Davis, N. (2008). How may teacher learning be promoted for educational renewal with IT? In J. Voogt & G. Knezek (Eds.), International handbook of information technology in primary and secondary education (Vol. 20, pp. 507-519). Boston, MA: Springer US.

Davis, N. (2010). Global interdisiplinary research into the diffusion of information technology innovations in education? In A. McDougall (Ed.), Researching IT in education: theory, practice and future directions (pp. 142-149). London: Routledge: Tertiary Context.

Frank, K. A., & Zhao, Y. (2003). Factors affecting technology uses in schools: an ecological perspective. American Educational Research Journal, 40(4), 807-840.

Hall, G. E., & Hord, S. M. (1987). Change in Schools: Facilitating the Process. SUNY Series in Educational Leadership. State University of New York - Albany, NY: Suny Press.

Lei, J., & Morrow, B. (2010). Teachers’ adoption of technology innovation into pedagogical practices. Education and Information Technologies, 15(3), 143-153. doi: 10.1007/s10639-009-9101-4

Rogers, E. M. (2003). Diffusion of innovations (5 ed.). New York: Free Press.

Sahin, I. (2005). Understading faculty adoption of technlogy using the learning/adoption trajectory model: A qualitative case study. Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, 4(1), 75-84.

Sherry, L. (1997). An Integrated Technology Adoption and Diffusion Model Retrieved 10 April, 2010, from http://home.comcast.net/~lorraine.sherry/publications/aect98.html

Sherry, L., Billig, S., Tavalin, F., & Gibson, D. (2000a). New insights on technology adoption in communities of learners. Paper presented at the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education Conference, San Diego, California, United States of America.

Sherry, L., Billig, S., Tavalin, F., & Gibson, D. (2000b). New Insights on Technology Adoption in schools. T.H.E Journal, 27(7), 5.

Sherry, L., & Gibson, D. (2002). The path to teacher leadership in educational technology. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 2(2), 178-203.

Slough, S. W. (1999). Some Concerns About the Concerns-Based Adoption Model (CBAM) and Technology. Paper presented at the Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 1999. http://www.editlib.org/p/8094

Yates, B. L. (2001). Applying diffusion theory: adoption of media literacy programs in schools. Paper presented at the Instructional and Developmental Communication Division International Communication Association Conference, Washington, DC, USA. http://www.westga.edu/~byates/applying.htm

Zhang, N., Guo, X., & Chen, G. (2008). IDT-TAM Integrated Model for IT Adoption. Tsinghua Science & Technology, 13(3), 306-311.

Somekh (2008): Factors Affecting Teachers' Pedagogical Adoption of ICT - Pauline

Section initiated by Pauline

There is a large body of evidence showing how the integration of ICT into education can enhance the learning of students (Somekh 2008). The development of ICT polices and the implementation of these in terms of hardware, software and training programmes has been established world wide. There have been numerous published studies that show successful ICT implementation in many different countries. There are also numerous studies where this has not been successful. “Most policy makers, corporate executives, practioners and parents assume that wiring schools, buying hardware and software and distributing the equipment throughout will lead to abundant classroom use by teachers and students and improve teaching and learning”. (Cuban, Kirkpatrick, & Peck, 2001, as cited in Sherry, 2002) However this is not how technology adoption and integration occurs. A large number of researchers have looked at the factors inhibiting this adoption and the failure of ICT integration which has been assumed to start at the classroom level.

What does the research say? Despite a large body of evidence showing the benefits of ICT to teaching and learning, many studies indicate the failure is due to teachers who are seen as not wanting to integrate ICT for a variety of reasons. In 2000 a substantial review of the research findings from the last twenty years was conducted by Mumatz (2000). Looking at previous research she identified several factors which she refers to as “inhibitors” to the adoption of ICT by teachers. These include the lack of: knowledge of ICT, on-site support, ICT specialists, time, access to computers, and previous experience with ICT. She reviewed previous research which pointed to some teachers’ resistance or avoidance to use this technology eg. resistance to organizational change and outside intervention, time management, lack of support from management and teachers’ own perception. Mumatz (2000) also looked at factors that encouraged teachers to use technology. Teachers who were already confident users of technology were keen to use ICT in their classes. Other studies showed teachers’ motivation and desire to develop teaching and learning were important, as was the support they received. Collegiality and collaboration were also factors that encouraged teachers to use technology.

Somekh's Socio-Cultural Viewpoint

Somekh (2008) believes that looking at the adoption of ICT should be looked at from a socio-cultural perspective. This theory implies that the activities, processes and changes that occur in the classroom cannot be looked at in isolation. They are constrained or influenced by many other aspects: the school, national policies, the students and their community. This is also the view of Davis (2008) in her ecological model. While teachers’ use and adoption of ICT is important in the classroom context, so is the context of the wider society in which they live. Somekh (2008) writes of teachers “their use of ICT for teaching and learning depends on the inter-locking cultural, social and organisational contexts in which they live and work.” This idea is also illustrated in the ecological framework as discussed by Davis 2008 with her ecological model. However, Somekh(2008) argues that there are more complex issues that prevent the adoption of ICT in classrooms and the development of changes in pedagogy. These include the “legislative frameworks and organisational structures of schooling.” These frameworks and structures put constraints on teachers and validate and perpetuate the existing pedagogy. Somekh refers to McLuhan (1964, p. 379) who states, “Continued in their present pattern of fragmented unrelation, our school curricula will insure a citizenry unable to understand the cybernated world in which they live.”

However, many teachers around the world are rapidly adopting ICT and integrating it into their teaching. Somekh(2008) comments on the way both adults and students “ explore the affordances” of a new digital tool. Prensky (2000) coined the phrase “digital native” to refer to the ability of young people to adopt and develop technological skills. Just watch the way an adolescent quickly finds their way around their new cell phone without instructions from an adult, or as is being reported on a regular basis, where very young children are “playing” on iPhones and iPads. This “hands-on” activity is one which she sees as very important for the teacher learning to fit a new tool into their existing knowledge or “existing practice. “ICTs do not change pedagogic practices themselves” Watson (2001 as cited in Somekh, 2008). “Teachers are the ones who change pedagogic practices.” (Somekh 2008) The tools used by teachers and students do not in themselves change teachers’ practice or enhance students learning. It is the “latent possibility" of these new tools. As students and teachers become more familiar with the tools, they will develop new ways to fit them into their existing practice either of teaching/learning or as using them as part of their daily life.

An example of change

An example of how an ICT can be adopted and the process of integration that occurs is the introduction of IWB (interactive whiteboards) in primary schools in England in 2004. Somekh et al., (2007) conducted research over a two year period. The research was carried out during 2004-6 and looked at the way Primary school teachers adopted and adapted to the introduction of interactive white boards into their classrooms. They were able to show how successful this integration was as teachers integrated the IWB into their teaching, plus she also showed an improvement in student’s attainment, as well as a change in the pedagogical practices of the teachers involved in the study. “Many teachers adjusted their style to be more inclusive and co-operative in supporting learning” Somekh (2007). She also found that key structures helped teachers adopt the technologies in their classrooms. The IWBs were purchased for a large number of schools (21 local authorities) as part of a Government initiative which also included training for teachers on using the IWBs. There was the ability for teachers to use the IWBs in their classroom for a sustained period of time. The IWBs fitted in well to existing classroom practices and teachers developed a Community of Practice and were able to share their knowledge with Colleagues.

A Model of Pedagogical Change

Somekh (2007) developed a way to explain the stages of adoption and adaption of the technology and then the changes in the pedagogical practices called the three-stage model. The important idea is that the teacher uses the technology as a “mediating artefact” as a way of facilitating learning. “The process was one of IWBs becoming integrated with pedagogy as ‘an extension of the [teacher’s] self’ (Mcluhan 1964) and ‘mediating ‘the inteeactivity between teacher/students and student/students (Wertsch 1998; Vgotsky 1978)" Somekh (2007)

  • Stage 1: teachers fitting new technologies into established pedagogies;
  • Stage 2: teachers engaging in collaborative exploration of the new opportunities offered bythese technologies;
  • Stage 3: teachers using the IWB skilfully and intuitively in ways that extended or transformed their established pedagogic practices.

How is this research seen using other theories?

Rogers(2003) defines several intrinsic characteristics of innovations that influence an individual’s decision to adopt or reject an innovation. Relative advantage:The IWB has a large interactive touch screen linked to class computer allowing the teacher access to images, sound and now thousands of educational apps. Research showed “there was an enthusiastic response from all teachers leading to integration of ICT across the curriculum” Somekh IWB study pg 295 Compatibilty:The IWB fits in with the teacher,s current style of teaching. Somekh talks ablout the three stages of the study. In Stage 1 teachers were”fitting new technologies into established pedagogies” pg301 IWB study Complexity:”The enthusiastic take-up previously commented on as well as on-going professional support show that the innovation was seen as a technology that could be adopted by everyone. (Somekh2007) Trialability:Somekh comments on the collegiality and support given. “For the first time, rather than early adopters struggling to implement technological innovation in isolation, there was a much greater sense of everybody being in it together, sharing ideas and practices over coffee in the staffroom” This is also echoed in Stage 3 of Effective Strategies for the Stages of Learning/Adoption Sherry and Gibson(2002) In this stage,Teacher as Co-Learner, Sherry defines where teachers focus on the relationship between technology and curriculum and this is demonstrated by collegial sharing. Sherry’s stages move from Teacher as Learner, Teacher as Adopter, Teacher as Co-Learner, Teacher as Re-affirmer or Rejecter and Teacher as Leader. Observability: This was a high-profile educational initiative with IWBs operating in Primary schools in 21 counties in England. Due to the large numbers of teachers involved, the innovation was highly visible to teachers, students and the school communities.

Somekh's conclusion Somekh looked at the factors affecting the adoption of ICT with reference to Mumtaz findings. She also referred to her own research which looks at these factors, but also goes further as her longitudinal study over 2 years discovered clear evidence of change in the use of the digital technologies. Initially the changes could be mapped according to Rogers' 5 stages of innovation as well as Sherry’s Effective Strategies for the Stages of Learning Adoption. However, she comments on two changes associated with the adoptionof the IWB. There was an increase in the attainment levels of students and a change in the pedagogical practices of teachers. She attributes this to an embedding of the innovation, where the innovation “integrated with the technology becomes” an extension of the [teacher’s] self (McLuhan 1964)

Implications for practice

There are many factors that affect the adoption and embedding of a digital technolgy so that pedagogical changes, higher order thinking and higher achievment occurs. Rogers(2003)has shown the factors affecting innovation adoption. Sherry et al(2000) have described the stages that teachers go through as they move from a Teacher as Learner to a Teacher as Leader. Davis(2008) has identified the constraints surrounding the teacher as they adopt and use these digital tools in their classroom. The challenge now is for educators to make the adoption of these tools part of everyday classroom practice. Somekh has shown through her action-research project viewed through a “socio-cultural lens” (Somekh 2008) that the adoption, use and embedding of digital tools is possible and has the ability to transform teaching and learning. New technologies eg smart phones, ipads, applications (apps) and Web 2.0 tools continue to be developed. These are used by both students and teachers outside the classroom. Management and Teachers need to work together and develop strategies to access the advantages digital tools offer. Digital technologies have the potential to transform teaching and learning and help students develop the thinking skills needed for 21st century learners and leaders.

Davis Davis, N.E. (2008). How may teacher learning be promoted for educational renewal with IT? In Voogt, J., & Knezek, G. (Eds.). International handbook of information technology primary and secondary education. (507-520) Amsterdam: Springer.

Davis N.E. (2010). Global interdisciplinary research into the diffusion of IT innovations in education. In A. McDougall, (ed.), Researching IT in Education: Theory, Practice and Future Directions. (142-149) London: Routledge.

Mumtaz, S. (2000) Factors affecting teachers’ use of information and communications technology: a review of the literature’, Technolgy. Pedagogy and Education, 9:3, 319-342

Rogers, E.M (2003). Diffusion of Innovations. (5th ed.). New York, N.Y.: Free Press

Sherry, L., Gibson,D.(2002) The path to teacher leadership in educational technology. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education 2(2),178-203

Somekh, B. (2008). Factors Affecting Teachers' Pedagogical Adoption of ICT. In J. Voogt and G. KNezek (eds) International Handbook of Information Technology in Primary and Secondary Education. Volume 20(5). (449-460) Amsterdam:  Springer International Handbooks of Education. DOI: 10.1007/978-0-387-73315-9_27

Somekh, B. & Lewin, C. (2009). Interactive white boards in UK schools In Rune Krumsvik (ed) Learning in the Network Society and the Digitized School. **: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

Straub, Evan T. (2009). Understanding technology adoption: Theory and future directions for informal learning. Review of Educational Research June 2009, 79(2), 625-649.

Zhao et al (2002) What Conditions Influence Teachers Technology Use- Nigel

Section led by Nigel Barrett.

The digital world is changing quickly and the students of schools today are digital natives. To meet their needs, teachers must incorporate the technology from the student’s everyday life to their learning arena. It is difficult for teachers to adapt quickly enough with so many different factors affecting their access to technology therefore dampening their willingness to pursue a curriculum fully supported by technology. However, the teachers are the driving force so it is vital to determine ‘What conditions influence teacher’s technology use?’
Yong Zhao is currently Presidential Chair and Associate Dean for Global Education, College of Education at the University of Oregon, where he also serves as the director of the Center for Advanced Technology in Education (CATE). His current work focuses on designing 21st Century Schools in the context of globalization and the digital revolution.
Zhao (2002) categorizes three main areas when referring to the conditions influencing teachers’ use of technology:
• The teacher
• The innovation
• The context

It is vital to understand the aspects of each area referred to by Zhao.

The Teacher.

The teacher refers to teacher’s technology proficiency as being vital, as the teacher is the innovator. For the teacher to lead the initiation of an innovation, they must have first hand knowledge or experience with the technology in order to take it past the introduction stage.
If the focus is introducing I-pads across the school, then teachers need to be able to use an I-pad and be aware of it’s features, not to an expert level but past the stage of being able to turn it on.
Zhao outlines how it is essential teachers understand the enabling conditions of certain technologies plus how the compatibility between teacher pedagogical beliefs and the technology is also vital. The innovation must also be relevant to the teaching context; for example the interactive whiteboard matched well with teachers’ approaches, providing an area for sharing information, allowing child interaction and a board for clear demonstrations to name just a few features, matching with teacher’s pedagogical beliefs while demanding only a small change of teaching styles, ensuring it was adopted by educational institutes and driven by teacher demand. The teacher’s approach also influences the adoption rate as they must be willing to interact with people they normally wouldn’t and understand it takes more than one teacher to implement a new innovation.

The Innovation.

The innovation covers a wide range of technology, Zhao outlines the ‘distance’ of the innovation as being influential to it’s adoption. That is, it’s distance from school culture, available resources and the innovators current practice. Introducing electronic readers, means the school will need to begin with a huge outlay of money to while not really providing anything extraordinarily new. Whereas the use of smart phones to read QR codes around the school, can easily tap into the student’s resources, providing a neutral ground between students and teachers while using phones in an educational way, fitting in neatly with the curriculum and incorporating a futuristic component.

The Context.

The context or the arena in which the technology is being introduced is fundamental when using technology. Zhao outlines this as the technological infrastructure, human infrastructure and social support.
Human infrastructure refers to the staff support and set up in a school. A school with appointed ICT expert(s) and technical support is more likely to adopt an innovation smoothly and quickly compared to a school with minimal support in place.
Technological infrastructure is similar to the above human aspect but refers to the technology already in place, introducing laptops into a school with Wi-Fi in place would be easier and more useful for the teachers than a school without. It is important the innovations make the most of the technological infrastructure that is in place and the lack of certain resources shouldn’t be used as an excuse by the laggards on staff but probably will be!
Social support outlines the importance of peers’ support of the innovators, if the staff are supportive of the attempts of the innovator then it is more likely to be adopted.

Judith Haymore Sandholtz received her Ph.D. in Education from Stanford University with a specialization in curriculum and teacher education and a minor in sociology. Her research focuses on teacher professional development, teacher education, and school-university partnerships. Her recent work examines curricular and instructional consequences, often unintended, of standards-based reform and high stakes testing. Sandholtz believes that actually reducing technical expectations for teachers can encourage technology use in classroom instruction. She outlines the fact that simply increasing the amount of computers will not lead to likely significant changes in instructional methods. By taking the added pressure of technical expertise away, schools can actually make it easier for teachers to incorporate technology into lessons. “A common frustration for teachers who attempt to teach with technology is the amount of time spent on technical issues rather than instructional ones”. Sandholtz & Reilly (2004).
Too often teachers are concerned that they must be experts with the technology before bringing it into the classroom, which is both time consuming and unrealistic. If schools provide limited or no support, teachers are unable to focus on using the technology, as their time is spent setting equipment up or performing running repairs. Which can become overwhelming and increase the appeal of lessons without technology. Sandholtz claims teachers don’t reject technology but often become trapped in the entry or adoption stage due to technical difficulties but by reducing technical expectations, teachers will move onto the next stages. Technical support and teacher development program that includes classroom visits, hands on technology training, group discussions and participant collaboration will positively influence the use of technology by teachers. “We don’t have to be mechanics to drive a 'car". Sandholtz & Reilly (2004). As Zhao outlines, teachers need to be willing to trial innovations and need to understand that it is ok not to be experts. Donald Ely (1990) states that people must possess knowledge and skills to do the job. However this does not mean teachers need to be experts but need to be supported. Ely also states for change to occur the necessary resources must be available.
Ely also agrees with Zhao that time set aside on a regular basis is vital if teachers are going to introduce new technology and it must be on a timetabled basis to ensure new software, along with actual equipment, is constantly updated whilst giving trainers opportunities to ibuild on prior learning and teachers time to use these knowledge and skills. This comes from ‘leaders providing affective support throughout the change process’. Ely (1990)
The ISTE website(International society for technology in education, " is an anytime, anywhere online community for educators"), states that teachers must be involved in proactive leadership developing a shared vision for educational technology.
They need robust and reliable access, ongoing professional development, technical support, and connection with other teachers with online networks for ideas and to bounce ideas off other people, constant training and PD and teachers need the drive.
Rogers (2003) outlines similar conditions pinpointing the importance of compatibility ensuring the innovation matches with the existing values, past experiences and needs of potential adopters. He also outlines triability as vital. With limited budgets and time, teachers who are not innovators basically need innovations put on their doorstep. The training must be made accessible, and practical as teacher's time is too valuable to be wasted.
Davis (2008) ecological perspective agrees with ‘the conditions that influence teachers ‘ highlighted so far. Davis talks about access, resources available to change the classroom ecology and supported needed from related ecosystems. She also focuses on the importance of support and professional development. If the conditions mentioned do occur, according to Davis, the result will be “ecological forces that ‘optimise’ teacher’s ‘inclusive fitness in the school environment, helping the adoption of the innovation.

What does this suggest for schools?

'The conditions that influence teachers' ICT use are not complicated on paper. Included in the needs are an innovation that appeals to teachers and students and relates to their pedagogy, a willingness from staff, a leader, support both financially and technically and time and resources already in place that make it possible with minimal extra development. However, in reality, tight budgets, busy timetables, technology changing rapidly and proving expensive, pressure from parents and students while having to still gain the grades in traditional areas, make using ICT not as straight forward.
What has become obvious is that it takes a team effort to provide the suitable conditions for teachers to make use of ICT along with the appreciation that not everybody needs to be an expert, and that technology must not become over burdensome. When the whole school support is in place more teachers will be able to and willing to use ICT regularly in their classrooms. Stategies to promote adoption of ICT must be realistic, taking into account the needs of the students, teachers and the facilities. Introducing an innovation may be one of the easiest steps and on what is a forever changing road. An adaptable plan is necessary to ensure that the school vision remains in focus for everybody involved and to ensure the optimum conditions for teachers to use ICT within and beyond their classes.


Davis, N.E. (2010). Global interdisciplinary research into the diffusion of IT innovations in education. In A. McDougall, (ed.), Researching IT in Education: Theory, Practice and Future Directions. (142-149) London: Routledge.

Ely, D. (1990). The diffusion and implementation of educational technology in developing nations:Cross-cultural comparisons of Indonesia, Chile and Peru. Instructional Developments,'1(1),9-12.

ISTE standards ** edit Retrieved ... from http://www.iste.org/standards.aspx

John, P. (2005). The sacred and the profane: Subject sub-culture, pedagogical practice and teachers' perceptions of the classroom uses of ICT. Educational Review,57(4), 471-490.

Loveless, A. (2006). Professional development for technology and education: Barriers and enablers.Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 15(2), 139-141.

Rogers,E.M (2003). Diffusion of Innovations (5th ed). New York: Free Press

Sandholtz, J., & Reilly, B. (2004). Teachers, not technicians: Rethinking technical expectations for teachers. Teachers College Record, 106(3), 487-512.

Sherry, L. (2002). Sustainability of Innovations. Journal of Interactive Learning Research, 13

Zhao, Y. (2003). What teachers need to know about technology? Framing the question. In Y. Zhao (Ed.), What should teachers know about technology? Perspectives and practices (pp. 1-14). Greenwich, CT: Information Age.

Zhao, Y., **  (2002). Conditions for classroom technology innovations.Teachers College Record, 104(3), 482-515.

Venkatesh (2003) - Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology UTAUT Model - Nicky

Section led by Nicky ...

Many models of technology acceptance have been developed over the years, some of which have been used to examine people’s acceptance of technology. In 2003, Venkatesh et al. created the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT). Straub, (2009), suggests three conclusions about technology adoption and diffusion theories: (a) technology adoption is a complex, inherently social, developmental process; (b) individuals construct unique (but malleable) perceptions of technology that influence the adoption process; and (c) successfully facilitating a technology adoption needs to address cognitive, emotional, and contextual concerns.

Ultimately, the study on the development of the UTAUT suggested that performance expectancy, effort expectancy, and social influence for predicting behavioral intention in turn predicted usage behaviors. Gender, age, experience, and the perception of voluntariness of change were all moderating factors for intention, (Venkatesh, 2000).

The UTAUT model is used frequently to specifically study technology adoption in formal organisations. This model is fairly new and relatively untested. It has not yet been fully adapted to the educational setting, therefore it was difficult to find research in the educational arena and informal learning situations. Venkatesh et al. integrated elements from eight IT acceptance models to create their model. Gender, age, experience, and voluntariness of use were added to the model and were hypothesized to moderate the effect of four constructs 298 A. Birch and V. Irvine (performance expectancy, effort expectancy, social influence, and facilitating conditions) on intention to use and usage behavior. Behavioral intention is seen as a critical predictor of technology use (Venkatesh et al., 2003). Self-efficacy and anxiety were determined by Venkatesh et al. to be indirect determinants, and therefore unnecessary in the model. The UTAUT survey was tested by Venkatesh et al. Subsequent validation of UTAUT in a longitudinal study found it to account for 70% of the variance in usage intention, (Venkatesh et. al., 2003).

Straub, (2009) describes technology adoption as a constant uphill battle, where the average individual is doomed to a cycle of continual technology implementation. About the time an individual adopts a certain technology, a new one is developed and marketed, requiring a new adoption cycle. There is a presumption that the younger generations who grow up with computers will be more accustomed to them and adjust more easily to new systems. For example the term ‘digital natives’ for the younger people of this generation suggests just this. Venkatesh et al.’s (2003) work on the UTAUT model suggests the opposite. One inference from the data is that there might be a critical period when technology adoption ceases to become quite so easy, when cognitive flexibility toward computer systems diminishes.

Diagram/schematic of UTAUT (Niki had problems uploading a file to place the diagram here. It said there were editing restrictions placed on this page)

From the model above one of the key determinants is performance expectancy. This is the degree to which an individual believes that using the system will help him or her to attain gains in job performance. The next key determinant is effort expectancy. This is the degree of ease associated with the use of the system. Social influence is the degree to which an individual feels social pressure to use a particular information technology, based on the construct of subjective norm from the theory of reasoned action, (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980). The last key determinant in the UTAUT model is facilitating conditions. This is the degree to which an individual believes that an organisational and technical infrastructure exists to support use of the system. Significant moderating influences of experience, voluntariness, gender, and age were confirmed as integral features of UTAUT. From a theoretical perspective, UTAUT provides a refined view of how the determinants of intention and behavior evolve over time. (Venkatesh, 2003)

It should be noted that performance expectancy appears to be a determinant of intention in most situations: the strength of the relationship varies with gender and age such that it is more significant for men and younger workers. The effect of effort expectancy on intention is also moderated by gender and age such that it is more significant for women and older workers, and those effects decrease with experience. The effect of social influence on intention is reliant on all four moderators. Finally, the effect of facilitating conditions on usage was only significant when examined in conjunction with the moderating effects of age and experience—i.e., they only matter for older workers in later stages of experience. (Venkatesh, 2003)

Adaption of the UTAUT model to an educational setting

The UTAUT model was developed by Venkatesh et al. in 2003. Since then the model has been used to examine the acceptance of specific technologies within the business environment, but seldom used within education. Three studies were located that used the UTAUT model in education: one examined faculty acceptance of tablet PCs, one looked at the use of MSN/web-board, and the third study examined students’ acceptance of all administrative and instructional technology used in an undergraduate marketing class.

One other study located that utilized the UTAUT model in an educational setting was from Birch and Irvine (2009). The aim of the study was to test the use of the UTAUT model with pre-service teachers’ in order to help identify one model that can be used consistently in future research in an educational context. The researchers explore the factors that influence pre-service teachers’ acceptance of information and communication technology integration into the classroom. This study has shown that effort expectancy is a significant predictor of preservice teachers’ intentions to use ICT in their practicum teaching. It also shows that it is likely that the primary measure of effort expectancy is the technology skill level of the preservice teachers. The study showed that the UTAUT could be used in an educational setting for adoption of technology, but there were certain constraints that would need to be considered for next time i.e. voluntariness of use was not a significant moderator in this study. The majority of the preservice teachers believed that the use of ICT would be voluntary. This is a difficult area because although the curriculum document indicates that ICT skills should be integrated throughout the curriculum, teachers are not held accountable for this inclusion. It is up to the individual teacher whether they include ICT in their lessons, and this is not typically monitored by an outside individual or organization. This makes voluntariness of use a difficult construct to measure.

The UTAUT model has mainly been trailed in business settings and therefore it was hard to relate this model to the educational institution, but there are some aspects of the adaption theory that can be easily transferred. When working with technology adoption models Straub, (2009) states an educational environment shares some characteristics with a business environment and that the UTAUT model however does not look specifically at the influences of technology change on relationships with students and teacher identity. UTAUT however does suggest gender and age interactions with social pressure; women and those with less computer experience were found to have higher effort expectancies. With teaching being a mainly female dominated profession there is a need to research this further. The UTAUT model is ideal for formal organizations implementing new technologies i.e. business institutes and the efficiency of this model have been tested well in these areas. But it is still unclear if it will be applicable for more informal institutes like teaching in schools. As Straub states most adoption models deal with a top down mandated adoption and even with the UTAUT, although voluntariness was a factor measured, it was still within the scope of a work-based environment, so the acceptance of new technology could never be completely voluntary. Further investigation will be needed within the school setting into various processes that influence and regulate informal adoption of technology using this model.

In the business context, employees are introduced to a new system, and the UTAUT model is used to examine their acceptance. All employees begin with no experience with the technology. In education, if technology is used as a general term, it is difficult to measure the participants’ initial experience, as each teacher’s experience level will range from no experience to many years. The UTAUT model has been very successful in the business sector, and it should be explored further as a possibility in education.


Straub, Evan T. (2009). Understanding technology adoption: Theory and future directions for informal learning. Review of Educational Research, 79(2), 625-649.

Birch. A and Irvine. V. (2009). Preservice Teachers’ Acceptance of ICT Integration in the Classroom: Applying the UTAUT Model. Educational Media International, Vol 46, Issue 4, 2009, (295-315).

Davis, F. A. 1989. Perceived usefulness, ease of use and user acceptance of technology. MIS Quarterly 13 (3): 319-340.

Anderson, J. and Schwager, P., SME Adoption of Wireless LAN Technology: Applying the UTAUT Model. Proceedings 7th Conference of the Southern Association for Information Systems (SAIS), 39–43, 2004.

Venkatesh, V., Morris, M., Davis, G. B. and Davis, F.D., User Acceptance of Information Technology: Toward a Unified View. MIS Quarterly. 27(3), 425–478, 2003

Straub, D., Keil, M. and Brenner, W., Testing the technology acceptance model across cultures: A three country study. Information & Management. 33(1), 1–11, 1997.

Studies and examples that illustrate change theories

Under construction: please edit your section in sequence by using alphabetical order of first author.

Thanks, Niki (editor)

Bolstad and Gilbert (2006): Creating digital age learners through school ICT projects: What can the Tech Angels project tell us?

Section led by Gillian in 2009


This article describes some of the initiatives introduced to implement changes brought about by the government’s drive to create a culture of digital learning in New Zealand schools and to launch them into this mode of learning for the 21st century. The examination comprises of two main areas of focus: “what are the “big ideas” that have underpinned the school ICT investment?” and; “how schools might go about turning themselves into ICT rich, “knowledge age” learning environments/ (Bolstad and Gilbert, 2006, p.2). Consideration is given to the pedagogical underpinnings. Reflection on the effectiveness of systems and approaches to the implementation of ICT in schools includes studies of New Zealand and overseas models. The application of one initiative; the Tech Angels project at Wellington Girl’s College is used to exemplify the ideas discussed and to consider what direction ICT teaching and learning may take in the future.

Research Findings:What “big ideas” underpin the current investment in school ICT?

Bolstad and Gilbert outline four major perspectives that validate the focus of ICT in schools, these being:

  • ‘Efficiency,’
  • ‘Community building/ connect to the world,’
  • ‘Digital generation’; and
  • ‘Knowledge age/ 21st century learning’ (p.3).

‘Efficiency’: ICT is perceived as being a valuable and competent source of cost efficient data management systems in the global business world; therefore, it is argued that its use will simplify administrative work, allow the sharing of resources and foster co-operation between schools and teachers. Whilst this viewpoint highlights the positives teachers can be resistant to the training required and consider ICT to reduce the time for their teaching work.

‘Community building/ connect to the world’:ICT teaching and learning professes to allow new perspectives of the world through the ability to source data and build connections via online communities, thus building new and different relationships. The drawback of this argument might be that through the expansion of the curriculum in this manner teachers have to reflect upon their pedagogical beliefs with a view to change. The question asked is whether this is a positive aspect. Davis’s (2008) bio-ecological model envisages this relationship between the students and the community as one “ecosystem” within the “global biosphere” (p.508) of education.

‘Digital generation’: This perspective endorses the belief that 21st century students are au fait with technology as part of their everyday life. Prensky (2001) refers to these learners as “digital natives” (Bolstad & Gilbert, 2006, p.5) in that they have been brought up in a world where technological tools are integrated into their home life and play. Bolstad and Gilbert (2006) comment that this is an assumption and reflects perceived ideas of this generation of learners. They consider whether these students are asking for digital learning or is this also a perception? Further to this, the pedagogical friction generated is confronting the issue of whether education is meeting the needs of today’s students or whether it is change without considering the implications for the learner and their engagement with their learning.

‘Knowledge age/ 21st century learning’: The driver of this position is based on evidence that essentially education systems have not changed since the industrial era, therefore they fail to meet the needs of today’s world. The ‘knowledge age’ requires education to be accessible as changing lifestyles, the evolving workforce and social construct is moving towards a focus on learning for life rather than the traditional belief that your education happens in the early part of your life. This vision is espoused in the Ministry of Education’s 2003 publication Digital horizons: Learning through ICT. A strategy for schools, 2002 – 2004. Bolstad and Gilbert (2008) examine this process further in their book Disciplining and drafting, or 21st century learning? Rethinking thr New Zealand senior secondary curriculum for the future, where they address the issues pertaining to past and future curricula. The expression ‘knowledge society’ conveys the attitude that knowledge is the basis of global and world economies instead of material possessions as has been the case in the industrial era. Supporters of this stance see digital technologies in education as a reflection of the development of society. In order for schools to actualise this way of being there needs to be a model of learning created that supports the construction rather than the consumption of knowledge and questions the transmission model of teaching and learning.

Change models: How can schools become ICT-rich learning environments – what works?

Bolstad and Gilbert (2006, p.10) emphasise that the transformation of the school learning environment to become “ICT-rich” does not occur simply by the acquiring of digital tools. They offer two models for professional development for teachers to support the integration of digital technologies within classroom practice. Firstly, the “stages of use and adoption” model (Knezek and Christensen, 1999) which is based on the teacher building use of the ICT tools, the gaining of confidence and competence with these through to the initiative of exploring new applications. There is no prudence given to pedagogy, reflection or individual teacher or student needs. Initiatives undertaken in New Zealand to counter-balance this include; conferences and resources that build capacity within the schools infrastructure. Secondly, the “loop’’ model is made up of four strategies that lead to change: support innovation, inspire, improve capability and provide enabling tools. An analogy is made between this cyclic or spiral process and baking a cake in that all the ingredients need to be present for transformation of a teacher or school to occur. The researchers accentuate the effects that transpire if each ingredient is not present in the mix and reiterate that this is an ongoing progression.

A similar structure of how teachers progress with the integration of ICT within their teaching practice is offered by the Learning/ Adoption Trajectory model developed by Sherry (1997). This model was extended upon by Sherry and Gibson (2002) when they added a stage that examines leadership by innovative teachers. A comparison to this stage is visible in the principles of the project and the leadership attributes the students were observed to have developed.

What other factors support and hinder school ICT development?

In this section of the investigation Bolstad and Gilbert (2006) examined the contextual factors that influence innovation within classrooms and schools. They looked firstly at the study undertaken by Zhao, Pugh, Sheldon and Byers (2002) where the belief that the ‘social aspects of a school’s culture’ helped determine the success of innovative practices with ICT. That is the value and pedagogical bases of the school were a supporting factor to success. The second study outlined innovative ICT practice in terms of ‘schema’ and described three levels of incorporation: “assimilation, transition and transformation” (Mioduser, Nachmias, Tubin & Forkosh-Baruch, 2003). They had determined that these occurred in a gradual way influenced by existing practices, interactions and assessment methods. Similarly, it was noted that the school pedagogy was an impacting factor.

Tech Angels: a case study

“Tech Angels are students who offer time to coach and support teachers in their use of ICT, mentor their peers, and attend to some computer related problems in the class or across the school. In return, the students receive specialist ICT training and technology support, both from within the school and externally from multimedia companies and training organisations.” (Bolstad & Gilbert, 2006, p.18).

This initiative began at Wellington Girl’s College in 2002. Funding was given not only for the development of the model and resources but to enable ongoing reflection and evaluation of the programme. This could also lead to further use of the model in other schools. The programme is overseen by an ICT director who not only co-ordinated the initiative but furthered the concept discussed of “reverse mentoring.” The rationale for this was twofold; firstly for the girls to support and up skill teachers in their use if ICT in the classroom and secondly to allow the girls expert training from mentors in the community in all aspects of ICT. The belief was that working with the teachers would entrench the learning for the girls.

Interpretation One: As an ICT professional development project it was suggested that the girls “digital native” (Prensky, 2001) status was a positive as they were acknowledged as current and proficient with ICT use. It was believed for this reason that they would acquire and apply the new concepts faster and more adeptly. This concept fits within the “loop model’ as promoting efficiency rather than the focus of knowledge acquisition. It is interesting to note that the teachers did not see the primary purpose as learning and professional development for themselves rather that they were supporting the students learning. This perspective equates to the transmission model of teaching of the industrial era rather than the ‘knowledge age’ stance of innovative curriculum and pedagogical changes for teachers and learners. The students saw the programme as an ongoing entity that would evolve as both teachers and learners need to keep current with the changes to technology, thus moving through the “stages of use and adoption model”

Interpretation Two: If the ICT project is viewed as a “knowledge age” shift in pedagogy and practice then the focus of the ‘loop model’ shifts from learning for efficiency of the teachers to the emancipation of learning for the students. The model becomes one where students are driving their own learning, problem solving and discovering how teaching and learning co-exists through their work with the teachers (innovate and inspire). The students described how they were learning how they learn and applying this understanding to working with the teachers in a more holistic way. The students were able to access learning from experts in the community and have a range of experiences that would not be available without this initiative or within the parameters of the conventional school curriculum. This equates to their building of confidence, capabilities and leadership skills. The teachers were unable to see this aspect of the project. The focus of the project moved from the learning and teaching of ICT skills to the teachers to the process of the experiential learning for the students. If you examine this project from the “Table of Pedagogical guidelines (Herrington and Bunker, 2002, p.308) it is noted that all of the categories outlined are fulfilled within the model used. If the table is, as outlined, used as a measure of quality for the learner then the project meets the goals set by the ICT director.

From here the school may make decisions about the future of the project based on the needs of the school, the teachers but most importantly the outcomes for the students. For example, to consider whether this pedagogy of being can be used in other areas of the curriculum and what such radical changes of curriculum delivery might mean.

Implications for practice:Adapting the Tech Angels model: Lessons for other schools ICT innovations.

The study outlines the ‘key elements’ that were factors in making this project a success. They evaluate these in terms of what these might mean for the school in the future. They question the possibilities sharing of this model of learning and teaching. Is a ‘shared vision’ for schools possible? This could be achieved by establishing a Community of Practice.

Change model : Description

The study summarised the principles that have overarched the development of the project and offered these in the form of tables that look at the importance of each principle and how it is being achieved. The principles being:

  • School culture and leadership
  • Teacher professional development
  • ICT infrastructure
  • Teacher- student interactions
  • School- community- business partnerships.

While these tables were based on the Tech Angels project, the intention is that the principles can be adapted and/or applied to other curriculum projects or used as a basis for curriculum change to bring schools teaching and learning practices into the ‘knowledge age’. This could mean a complete turnaround of the perspectives of the ‘big ideas’ with the focus on learning being 21st century learning followed by the ‘community building/connecting to the world’ viewpoint.


Bolstad, R., & Gilbert, J. (2006).Creating digital age learners through school ICT projects: What can the Tech Angels project tell us? New Zealand Council for Educational Research: Retrieved July 19, 2009 from http://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/publications/ict/6518

Bolstad, R., & Gilbert, J. (2008). Disciplining and drafting, or 21st century learning? Rethinking the New Zealand senior secondary curriculum for the future. Wellington: New Zealand Council for Educational Research.

Davis, N. (2008). How may teacher learning be promoted for educational renewal with IT? In Voogt, J., & Knezek, G. (Eds.). International handbook of information technology primary and secondary education, pp. 507-520.

Herrington, A., & Bunker, A. (2002).Quality teaching online: Putting pedagogy first. Herdsa. pp. 305-312.

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants. On the Horizon, 9(5), 1-6.

Sherry, L., & Gibson, D. (2002). The path to leadership in educational technology. Contemporary issues in technology and teacher education, 2(2), 178- 203.

Cowie et al (2008): Laptops for teachers - Peter

Section originated by Peter Munro, 2011


At the end of 2002 the government through the Ministry of Education implemented a new ICT strategy called Digital Horizons “Learning through ICT” later it become known as the “Laptops for teachers scheme” (TELA scheme). It reflected the government commitment to increasing the use of ICT in schools and the objective was to improve student achievement and teaching practice. It was supposed to do this by increasing teachers confidence and competence in ICT technologies, which would lead to more use and hopefully better teaching in the classroom. In schools that joined this scheme laptops were provided for all teachers to use as they wished. Schools, not individual teachers, joined the scheme whereby the Ministry of Education would subsidize the cost (approximately two thirds) of leasing of laptops, leaving about $7.00 to be paid either by the school or the individual teacher. This is similar to the English Computers for Teachers initiative (BECTA 2001) where the government subsidized individual teachers to purchase a computer. Studies have shown that teacher use of ICT has a positive influence on the learning environment along with improvement in student interest and motivation (Becker, 1994 & 2000).

The goal of the TELA scheme was to encourage teachers to have greater confidence and competence using ICT which they hoped would lead to an increase in use of ICT for teaching and learning, classroom management and administration. Cowie et al (2008a and b) evaluated the success of the TELA scheme over the years from 2003 – 2006. This literature review discusses their findings.

Progression in use of ICT

The assumptions made by Government and Ministry of Education are that use of the laptop by teachers out of the classroom on things like administration and management, e-mail communication, lesson preparation and planning would lead to greater confidence and competence leading to greater use in the classroom. However, as Cuban (2001) has pointed out that acquiring the technology doesn’t bring about change in itself it must be backed up with policy from the institution as well as a comprehensive support and tutoring. And even then acceptance and use by teachers depends on their willingness to change. The other influences in that change are from pupils, other teachers to school management and even community and government (Ellsworth, 2000) the classroom teacher is ultimately responsible for any change to classroom practice and no amount of hardware software and technological equipment will change that. The teacher needs to see the reason and advantages of the change before beginning the process of adopting it. As Sherry (2002) found, teachers needs to go through the stages from awareness to adoption to promotion of the new technology.

Two reports evaluated the TELA scheme, one for Secondary School ie. Teachers of Year 9-13 (Cowie et al, 2008a) and the other for Intermediate Year 7&8 Teachers (Cowie et al, 2008b). The initial reason for teacher involvement was in TELA scheme was because the whole school (Principal or Board of Trustees) decided to become involved. Teachers reasons and goals for this technology were explored by Cowie et (2008a) and Cowie et al (2008b). Teachers goals and expectations for technology use were similar to the English Computers for Teachers initiative (BECTA, 2001). When teachers were asked why they became involved the main reasons were to improve their ability to use a computer, to prepare teaching materials, and to do administration. Cowie et al (2008a) found the main reasons to be to create learning and teaching resource, to learn about ICT as a tool for teaching, and to use and improve skills. Primary teachers were the same but with greater emphasis on learning and improving ICT skills Cowie et al (2008b).

Cowie used 3 methods of data collection to evaluate the success of laptops for teachers scheme. This was done over the three years 2003-2006 and attempted to record changes in use over that time. Data collection methods used were: 1. Meetings / interviews with teachers 2. Annual questionnaire 3. Case studies, although for the Intermediate School study she only used the first 2 methods


The main findings were that teachers in general meet their goals. Over the 3 years secondary teachers goals and expectations remained the same whereas Intermediate teachers saw an increasing need for using ICT in the classroom. Teacher expectations were very much related to school policy and even national policy expectations. It seemed that if school leaders are seen to value the use of ICT, provide technology support and access, as well as promoting its use then the importance of ICT is reinforced by teachers. They had higher expectations and goals and had improved their knowledge and expertise in ICT and were more confident in the use of laptops. Improved communication and advantages in administration were noted as well as leading to more efficient use of time in these schools professional development was given, as well as support from “expert colleagues” with tips, techniques and practices. This proved especially important in teacher confidence, those schools gave teachers the opportunity to learn about and observe teaching methods, share questions and problems and explore new ideas with colleagues or lead teachers.

One important finding was that the portability of laptops was a key feature for teachers – being able to work anytime and anyplace. Laptops very much allowed teachers to take their work with them and they were used at non work places like cafes, or at home in evenings or weekends.

Notable findngs were:

  • Teachers were comfortable using laptops for a range of tasks
  • Helped collegial relations and improved communication
  • Allowed flexibility for computer use especially on administrative tasks but also for lesson preparation and planning
  • Learning resources were accessed via internet
  • Increase in laptop use for classroom teaching and greater access to internet and digital projectors was reported

However, TELA teachers knowledge and expertise in ICT varied considerably. Many teachers, especially secondary, admitted in interviews that their laptops had not really enhanced their knowledge or expertise or teaching practice. It seemed to relate to the individuals acceptance of and support with the laptops.

Rogers (2003) found that an important stage in accepting a new innovation was trialibility where in this case teachers need to have the time to try things out for themselves and the support to lead them through. Without this time or support then new innovations won’t be accepted or developed and many teachers (Cowie et al 2008a) stated they readily used computers for word processing and were reasonably comfortable e-mailing and accessing internet but nothing beyond that. Cowie et al (2008a) reported that laptops fitted in well with collaboration in schools and departments. With teachers working together over laptops to produce units of work and collaboratively developing ideas and sharing lessons. In fact work spaces were reorganized to allow for this collaborative work. Cowie et al (2008a and b) also found that use of laptops for preparation of student work increased.

In common with other studies (e.g. Cunningham et al 2004) teachers used laptops to access and share internet and other teachers resources, adapted, modified used and reused resources with different classes and in different years. Teachers found this cost effective, efficient and quite motivating. Laptops influenced whole school administration positively and was well used in New Zealand schools (Cowie et al, 2008a & b)

My experience of the TELA scheme

There is definitely a lack of expertise and technical support. Teachers are busy people and always struggling to find spare time to do the extras involved with the job. Laptops were seen by me to be a way to be efficient but in reality use was limited to what I was comfortable with. Developing and evolving to use in the classroom was slow ands dependent on professional development and tutoring. Extra time was rarely used to experiment and trial new innovations on the laptop. Complexity and frustrations were common and without sympathetic expert and technical advice it was often easy to stick with the older tried and true methods.

In conclusion

Teachers benefited from the flexibility that the use of laptops provide. They become more ICT literate and found laptops contributed to more organisation and efficiency. They were better at customizing and adapting lessons and saw students more engaged in their learning. Use of laptops has promoted educational renewal (Davis 2008) in ICT and teachers are taking ownership of new technology innovations, adopting more and more ICT practices in their lessons and teaching over time. But this brings challenges to schools and teachers integrating new pedagogical practices using ICT in their classrooms. It requires teacher and school leadership support as well as an infrastructure and access to technical support. The goals of the TELA scheme are being realized with greater and continued use of laptops in the classroom over time. Problems are however that, as Voogt and Knezek (2008) state, it is not only teachers that need to adopt the laptops and integrate it into their teaching, but also the schools and policy makers that influence the pedagogical approach and the rate of integration into educational practice.


Support with ICT is very important and Cowie et al found that teacher learning and progress was best in schools where other teachers gave support. Especially when school leadership, department heads and colleagues were giving teachers opportunities for professional learning. When colleagues were experimenting with and trialing new technology and sharing their learning acceptance and progress with ICT was best. Schools need to develop policy and practices to extend and sustain the integration of laptops and ICT into school and teacher work. Teacher confidence was best when there was a climate of general support so schools should be encouraging teachers to work together and share ideas for teaching and learning. Setting up work spaces and meeting times that foster collaboration are important. Also Cowie et al (2008) saw that where there was on site expertise and quality technical support that teachers made the most rapid gains as far a utilizing ICT in the classroom. School leadership needs to give adequate resourcing in the ICT development area or progress will be slow. It is clear from the literature that ICT and in this case the TELA scheme can enhance student learning. ICT has a positive impact on student motivation and has the potential to change both how and what students learn. However for it to be widely used and to prepare learners for the future, a more integrated and resourced approach is needed rather than just the exposure to laptops and slow evolution of using them. Progress so far has been rather ad hoc depending on how each individual school treats and emphasizes the use of laptops and technology. That support and resourcing needs to come from the policy makers – the government and the ministry of education need to be encouraging and supporting this process, creating a vision for ICT in our schoolsand related systems, including external assessments.


Becker, H. (1994). How exemplary computer-using teachers differ from other teachers: Implications for realising the potential of computers in schools. Journal of Research in Computing in Education. 26(3), 291-321.

Becker, H. (2000). Findings from the teaching, learning and computer survey: Is Larry Cuban right? Educational Policy Analysis Archives, 8(51).

BECTA. (2001). Computers for teachers: An evaluation of Phase 1: Survey of recipients.NGfL research and evaluation series. Retrieved August 13, 2009, from http://partners.becta.org.uk/index.php?section=rh&rid=13598

Cowie, B., Jones, A., Harlow, A., McGee, C., Cooper, B., Forret, M., Miller, T., & Gardiner, B. (2008a) TELA: Laptops for Teachers Evaluation—Final Report Years 9-13. Wellington, New Zealand: Ministry of Education. Retrieved August 14, 2009 from http://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/publications/ict/27370/24604

Cowie, B., Jones, A., Harlow, A. with Forret, M., McGee, C., & Miller, T. (2008b). TELA: Laptops for Teachers Evaluation—Final Report Years 7 & 8. Wellington, New Zealand: Ministry of Education. Retrieved August 14, 2009 from http://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/publications/ict/27369/3

Cuban,L. (2001). Oversold and underused: Computers in the classroom. Cambridge, MA;Harvard University Press

Cunningham, M., Kerr, K., McEune R., Smith, P. & Harris, S. (2004). Laptops for teachers: An evaluation of the first year of the initiative. ICT in schools research and evaluation series (19). London: DfES. Retrieved August 14, 2009, from http://publications.becta.org.uk/display.cfm?resID=25838

Davis, N.E. (2008). How may teacher learning be promoted for educational renewal with IT? In Voogt, J., & Knezek, G. (Eds.). International handbook of information technology primary and secondary education. (507-520) Amsterdam: Springer.

Ellsworth, J.B. (1999). Surviving Change: A Survey of Educational Change Models. Syracuse, N.Y. : ERIC Clearinghouse on Information & Technology, Syracuse University.

Rogers, E. M. (2003). Diffusion of Innovations (5th ed.). New York: Free Press.

Sherry, L., Billig, S., Tavalin, F., & Gibson, D. (2000). New Insights on Technology Adoption in schools. T.H.E. Journal, 27(7), 5.

Voogt, J., & Knezek, G. (Eds.). International handbook of information technology primary and secondary education, pp. 507-520. Amsterdam: Springer.

Greenwood, Te Aika & Davis (2010): Success for Maori in tertiary education with digital technologies- Terina

Section originated by Terina Ranginui Tahau

Defining Success

Throughout the world there is considerable documentation comparing indigenous beliefs in what denotes success to the mainstream point of view. According to Melnechenko & Horsman (1998) “every person irrespective of gender, ethnicity or economic background wants to believe in himself or herself as a successful person”. However it is pertinent to note, as Goulet (1996) contends, that success in one culture may not be defined the same as it is in another. So, whilst “governments and university administration measure success through graduation rates“(Pidgeon, 2009) indigenous peoples, throughout the world often denote marked difference in priority and opinion. According to Melnechenko et al. “aboriginal communities often define success as mastering a curriculum and retaining culture heritage.” This belief correlates well to the well-known Maori whakatauki (proverb) from Ngata which encourages Maori people to extend their knowledge acquisition so to include non-Maori education whilst retaining a firm commitment to being Maori. A good example of differing Maori viewpoint on what success is Te Kaaurutanga studies offered at Te Wananga o Raukawa, based in Otaki, to students who have completed a masters degree. This qualification has considerable status, possibly considered the highest attainment for Te Wananga o Raukawa students, but is not recognized at any other tertiary institution. It is imperative to note that there is absolutely no inclination or aspiration for Te Kaaurutanga to be acknowledged as a formal qualification within the mainstream education tertiary sector and that doctorate studies are available and encouraged at Te Wananga o Raukawa.

Preparing Maori for Successful Outcomes in Tertiary Education

It is germane to state that according to The Ministry of Education Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success Strategy Maori Students’ educational success is critical to Aotearoa New Zealand’s success. (2009). However, if success for Maori students within Te Wharekura (the secondary fraction of total immersion Maori schools – Kura Kaupapa Maori) is measured by NCEA results then total immersion schools should be acknowledged for providing successful outcomes for students. For example in April 2010 the Christchurch Press published that the two total immersion Maori Schools in Christchurch achieved 100% pass rates in Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 in 2009 NCEA results. These high results were once again repeated in 2010 (Christchurch Press, 2011). Kura Kaupapa Maori (Maori total immersion schools) was established due to the necessity to provide continuing total immersion Maori education for Kohanga Reo (total immersion Maori Preschools) graduates. Wananga are the Maori tertiary equivalent and have provided further options for these students and any others with similar goals, aspirations, values and beliefs. Excitingly there are now increasing numbers of Te Wharekura students who are completing tertiary qualifications at Te Wananga o Raukawa whilst still at high school. ( Kira, 2010)

Tertiary Education in Aotearoa (New Zealand)

Today in Aotearoa there are significant differences in the choices available for Maori and non-Maori pursuing a tertiary education. As well as the mainstream options such as universities, polytechnics, private training establishments, industry training organisations and adult and community education there are also kaupapa Maori tertiary provisions. So, despite the compulsory education sector continuing to debate worldwide concerns regarding inequalities in education the establishment of these three Wananga have definitely contributed to the increased numbers of Maori completing post-secondary school studies. Interestingly Penetito clearly articulates that there would not be this object called Maori education if the system was successful in educating Maori” (2010). “Education policies promise to “Close the gaps” between Mäori and non-Mäori New Zealanders. These policies have, over the last twenty years, seen the development and growth of a vigorous movement in educational self-development among Mäori, based upon kaupapa Mäori principles. At the cutting edge of that growth have been the three Wänanga, Aotearoa, Raukawa and Awanuiärangi.”( Ward, 2005)

Te Wananga o Raukawa Successfully Combating the Digital Divide

Research indicates that there is a large gap between those who do and those that do not have access to technology (Sumari, 2006). "The divide speaks to the concrete and symbolic distance between those who enjoy access to, and familiarity with, the immense potential of technology, and those who do not" (Munoz, 2002). According to De Bell (2006) “Computer and internet use divides two main ways, between demographic and socioeconomic lines” Disparity in quality educational attainment for students from low socio economic backgrounds remains widely accepted and reported. Crawford (2001) states that “as children from disadvantaged ethnic minorities grow up, they enjoy fewer of those resources that enable them to acquire the skills and knowledge and networks needed to be economically successful adults. This is true not only of resources in their immediate families, but also in the communities and social groupings in which they spend their time.” According to Gorski (2009)“if we intend to consider technology from an authentic multicultural education framework, we must begin by acknowledging the inequities that exist in our schools and this is due to an unequal distribution of hardware, software, infrastructure, digital literacy, and other necessary forms of capital, are contributing to existing inequities”. The stark delineation between those who currently have access to digital technology and those who do not, in terms of age, socio economic status, race, and gender, has led to growing concern over an emerging “digital divide” (Kerka, 1997). From this perspective, technology-based education is seen as exacerbating preexisting divisions and inequalities between the haves and have-nots (Wresch, 1996). In 2010, Greenwood, Te Aika and Davis outlined the commitment of three Maori initiatives that have successfully infused digital technologies into each practice and that are offered as examples of innovative practice." Greenwood et. al continue to describe how Te Wananga o Raukawa is utilizing information technology to “build capacity for their tribal groups and wider community”. Te Wananga o Raukawa board of trustees formally document annually, within the student handbook, their concerns about “the huge impact that the information and knowledge revolution will have on human society worldwide and aims to make its contribution to the preparation of Maori for the new world.” They contend that Maori must be ready for huge amounts of innovation – the introduction of new ways of thinking and doing things and being able to manage and access knowledge and information on innovative activity. Furthermore the board of trustees states that “it is necessary to be familiar with information technology. Computers, other hardware and software are at the heart of this revolution.” Consequently, it is compulsory for all students and staff at Te Wananga o Raukawa to own a computer with a stipulated minimum list of programmes as well as accessibility to the internet at home. The cost of purchasing all required hardware and software can be included within the fee structure upon enrolment. “In all, it is expected that this development will lead to an enhancement of the quality of learning at Te Wananga o Raukawa and to the greater capacity of our whanau, hapu and iwi to cope with and benefit from the emergent knowledge economy and society.” (Te Wananga o Raukawa Board of Trustees)

Compare and Contrasting with Theories, Models and Frameworks

The information technology philosophies and practices within Te Wananga o Raukawa has distinct correlations with McLeod’s contention that the information and economic landscape have huge implications for schools and that leadership and policy is responsible for transformation into the 21st century. There are also clear overlapping correlations with Davis’s Ecological Framework (2008; 2011) and Te Wananga o Raukawa align implemented changes in information technology innovation impacting on a wider scale, including a local Maori student mentor and people for the student to support. However, when relating this innovation with Rogers (2003) diffusion of innovations theory perhaps the qualities that have made this innovation spread successfully are because of the status of the elder, Whatarangi Winiata, who created, asserted application and implementation in a way that connected them with Maori practices and aspirations.

According to the New Zealand Tertiary Education Strategy 2010 -2015 “an effective tertiary education system will underpin New Zealand’s ability to prosper economically and build a strong society in the future”. However, whereas the over-arching education vision states that the Governments vision is for a world-leading education system that equips all New Zealanders with the knowledge, skills and values to be successful citizens in the 21st century the vision for tertiary education in New Zealand makes reference to the provision gaining “world-class skills and knowledge” because “skills underpin firms’ ability to innovate and apply new ideas, and adapt to competitive challenges and new markets”. Interestingly there is no reference to the commitment and role of digital technology in this strategy. The ICT Strategic Framework for Education 2006 -2007 (New Zealand Ministry of Education) primary goals, to be achieved by 2010, includes statements such as:

  • Every education organization has access to a reliable high speed internet connection.
  • All learners, teachers, researchers, administrators and support staff can utilize their ICT tools and services effectively and efficiently.
  • Capability standards for educational processes using ICT are being met by teachers
  • Learners, teachers, researchers and administrators use a range of collaborative tools to work together effectively

However, the recent plocy developments relating to the roll out of Ultrafast Broadband for schools has the potential to open up initiatves and access.

Te Wananga o Raukawa was established as requested by the community, by founding members whose profile and credibility was, and still remains, well known and respected. The kaupapa Maori approach that is interwoven throughout the establishment as well as the strong leadership presence from many respected Maori elders certainly assists the alignment of the “definition of good practice for Maori and Pasifka PTEs” by Cram and Pipi (2001) and the Skill New Zealand (2001) “key elements for creating success”. Te Wananga o Raukawa have achieved success for Maori in tertiary education with digital technologies by ensuring overarching policies reflect the vision and practices, insisting all enrolled students have their own computer, appropriate software and internet connection. Furthermore all staff and students at Te Wananga o Raukawa must complete training in effective computer usage as an integral part of the course and in addition to extension Maori language studies, self development studies and their specialist subject components. Thus creating an ever increasing number of tertiary qualified Maori graduates who are competent in digital technologies that have modeled technological knowledge within immediate and extended families and provided computer and internet accessibility within the home for improved accessibility prospects.


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Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants - Nathan

Section originated by Nathan Walsh

Prensky's Digital Native, Is this a change educators should be afraid of?

In 2001 Marc Prensky described the generation of students born roughly between 1980 and 1994 as 'digital natives.' He believes that this generation is quite different to that of previous ones and they learn in a fundamentally different way. Prensky admits that previous generations have changed styles, clothing and attitudes, but the present generation in class rooms are vitally different. This is due to the digital environment in which they have grown up. Frequent use of the internet, playing video games, using mobile phones and watching TV, has meant that digital natives even "think and process information fundamentally differently from their predecessors". (Prensky 2001)

Prensky further explains that teachers of these students are 'out of touch' with the demands of digital natives. Since teachers did not grow up in the same digital environment as their students, they are ill equipped to teach them. Prensky refers to teachers born before 1980 as 'Digital Immigrants.'

Digital native students are multi taskers, they prefer to receive their information really fast, like to parallel process and receive instant rewards. Meanwhile digital immigrant teachers believe in teaching one step at a time, and that learning should be based around reading and writing. Meanwhile, Prensky recommends teachers need to go faster, teach less step by step and use computer games to teach these students.

Although Prensky and others (Tapscott, 1998; Frand, 2000; Oblinger & Oblinger, 2005;) believe that this new digital generation exist and require careful attention, other authors (Bennett, Maton and Kervin 2008, and Kennedy, Judd, Churchward & Gray 2008) argue that further investigation may in fact be necessary before educators need to alter their teaching styles to reach this 'new' generation.

Bennett et al, (2008) reinforces this with an analysis of internet use of this generation. "Internet use by teenagers is far from uniform and depends on the contexts of use, with widely varying experiences according to children's school and home backgrounds." Kennedy et al, (2008) states that the 'digital native' generation may not be immersed in technology as deeply as once thought. This study investigated 2120 students at the University of Melbourne on student's use of technology. Results showed that 50.2% have never used the internet to play games, 69.7% have never used the web to build and maintain a website and 81.6% had never used the web to contribute to the development of a wiki.

Not only is the immersion in digital technology perhaps not as prevalent as some might suggest, but also their desire to learn using technology may not also be as strong as first thought either. In 2007 Oliver and Goerke surveyed 703 Australian Undergraduate students over a two year period on their use of digital technologies. "Few students (7.3%) were frequent users of blogs and 20% used them often or occasionally for study purposes; and just over one fifth (21.1%) were frequent users of podcasts and 31.8% used them often or occasionally for study purposes. Kennedy et al concluded that "when going beyond the use of entrenched technologies such as computers, mobile phones and email, the patterns of access to, use of and preference for a range of other technologies shows considerable variation." Kennedy et al (2008)

Kvavik, Caruso & Morgan, in 2004 surveyed 4374 students across 13 higher education institutions in the USA. "When asked about preference for technology in the class room, students reported that they only wanted a moderate amount of technology, and approximately 23 percent preferred classes that used limited technology. Student major was an important predictor of preference for technology in the classroom, with engineering students having the highest preference for technology in the class room (67.7 percent.) Kennedy et al summarised their research by stating that "the widespread revision of curricula to accommodate the so-called Digital Natives does not seem warranted." and suggest that "educators look to the evidence about what technologies students have access to and what their preferences are. Rather than making assumptions about what students like and are like..." (Kennedy et al 2008)

As noted by a number of authors (Kirkwood & Price, 2005: Katz 2005) the transfer from one ecological part of life does not necessarily transfer to another. The transfer of social or entertainment technology to a learning technology is neither automatic nor guaranteed. This is not to say some students in class rooms at present are not technological experts, and that their expertise cannot be underestimated in the school ecology. This is reinforced by Davis 2011, "I accept that the Davis (2008) arena of change with digital technologies in education misses out important ecologies that impact learners. In particular the ecologies that a student experiences out of school can explain some of their behaviour in school. For example, there are students with the characteristics of one of Prensky's digital natives in that he or she plays a lot of computer games with his or her friends at home and is well connected to peer networks using other digital tools such as a mobile phone. Such students have the 'cultural capital' to become a lead learner and to support others to adopt digital technologies, including their teachers. Indeed, it is likely that some of the 'tech angels' in the Wellington girls school researched by Bolstat and Gilbert (2007) were able to capitalized on the skills and resources that they brought to school from their homes and communities. This is not a new phenomenon in that some students, e.g. school monitors, have supported teachers from early days of schooling. Similarly, students' out of school ecologies may be the reverse. For example, migrants can find access to resources including supportive adults very challenging, as we have recently experienced with the Christchurch earthquake. While mobile technologies may appear ideal for migrants, research shows that their circumstances are extremely complex and challenging (Block & Sefton-Greeen, 2004)." Davis (personal communication by email April 2, 2011)

There is a significant amount of critical healthy debate around how best to educate and understand our students. Educators are preparing students for a vastly different world and today there are many tools to aid learning. Teachers deserve well rounded and thorough research on any topic which is expected to have a significant impact on their occupation. This is not to say that young people are not interested in IT, or are not good at using technological devices. There are a plethora of IT tools which can significantly aid learning and engagement, however further investigation is necessary before educators can use the term 'digital native' with any certainty.


Bennett, S., Maton, K. and Kervin, L. (2008), The ‘digital natives’ debate: A critical review of the evidence. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39: 775–786.

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Kennedy, G., Krause, K., Judd, T., Churchward, A. & Gray, K. (2006). First year students’ experiences with technology: are they really digital natives? Melbourne, Australia: University of Melbourne. Retrieved April 1, 2011, from http://www.bmu.unimelb.edu.au/research/munatives/natives_report2006.pdf

Kirkwood, A, & Price, L. (2005). Learners and learning in the twenty-first century: what do we know about students' attitudes towards and experiences of information and communication technologies that will help us design courses? Studies in Higher Education, 30(3), 257-274.

Kvavik, R. B., Caruso, J. B. & Morgan, G. (2004). ECAR study of students and information technology 2004: convenience, connection, and control. Boulder, CO: EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research. Retrieved March 28, 2011, from http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ers0405/rs/ers0405w.pdf

Oblinger, D. & Oblinger, J. (2005). Is it age or IT: first steps towards understanding the net generation. In D.Oblinger & J.Oblinger (Eds), Educating the Net generation (pp. 2.1–2.20). Boulder, CO: EDUCAUSE. Retrieved March 31, 2011, from http://www.educause.edu/educatingthenetgen

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Zhao & Frank (2003): Four basic mechanisms that support teachers' adaption of IT in the school system. - Sue

Section originated by Sue Parkes''

Introduction Yong Zhao is a leading educational researcher who teamed up with ecologist Kenneth Frank to research and analyse “Why is technology not used more often in schools”?

Globally which includes New Zealand, online learning and teaching is rapidly expanding in all fields of education and training (Dabner & Davis, 2009). The process of teachers learning to use ICT effectively to support learning and teaching is linked to the adaption of education to the context of the 21st Century (Davis, 2008), but the process of diffusing ICT into educational organisations to promote personal and system-wide improvements in learning and teaching, is more challenging than promoting its use to support traditional forms of education (Law, 2008).

Many researchers have attempted to solve this puzzle, “why is technology not used more in schools”? This section’s focus is on Zhao & Frank’s paper, “Factorings affecting Technology uses in Schools – an ecological perspective,” paper published in 2003, and is an excellent example of using an appropriate methodology for ecological theory.

Furthermore, Zhao and Frank identified that leadership/management can influence computer (ICT) use in their institutions by the decisions they make when they:

• Employ staff who for 21st Century facilitation should be technology literate • Provide resourcing (hardware, software, technical support) • Establish a general vision for technology use Overview of the Theory:

The author’s framework draws upon an ecosystem metaphor. By definition, it is merely a rhetorical and an abstract tool, to theoretically integrate and to organise a set of factors that affect implementation of computer technology (ICT) in schools. By using the ecological modelling as an analysis, the authors identified stronger methodology in how to promote change in patterns of computer (ICT) use in school as well as how to understand why computers (ICT) are used or not used, underused or misused in schools. It enabled the authors then to zoom in on the interactions, the activities, the processes and practices. The metaphor also emphasises systematic implications with the introduction of an innovation which can not ignore the internal social structures of schools or the other pressures schools must face.

Zhao & Frank considered that the introduction of computers (ICT) into schools as “an organic process akin to the process by which an alien species is introduced to a new ecological context”. The authors extended existing research on technology integration and diffusion of innovations by investigating relationships among the long list of factors that had already been identified. They studied uses of computer (ICT) in a “contained educational system” in nineteen schools in four districts in the USA. They found evidence of co-evolution, of both ICT and teachers’ pedagogies.

The ecosystem metaphor that the authors developed is based on the Zebra mussel invasion of the Great Lakes. Furthermore, Davis’s (2008) has also adopted the ecosystem metaphor as an ecological perspective of education. Davis like Zhao & Frank identify that a variety of ecosystems do interact, identifying the importance of the awareness, that innovations when introduced, that teachers and leaders must consider the systems and sub-systems; that is, they are like small ecologies.

The survival of the computer - the invasive exotic specie (ICT) is mostly determined by the teacher; the keystone species in the ecosystem. Teacher decisions, affect other users and opportunities for success.

According to the authors, teachers’ decisions are based on a range of factors similarly to any species in an ecology facing the introduction of new specie. The perception of costs and benefits is determined and mediated by numerous factors such as pedagogical beliefs and styles, knowledge and attitudes towards the computer, perception of support from schools (leaders, colleagues), perception of pressure to use computers, perception of (in)adequacy of resources and perceived results or consequences of uses. Therefore the ecosystem metaphor considers the interaction of the two species (teacher and the computer/ICT) as a dynamic process, wherein they co-evolve and begin to adapt to each other.

Zhao & Franks diagram, demonstrates the dynamic process between the teacher and the computer/ICT and other systems as indicated in Figure 1.


The Research Outcomes:

The authors identified, that organisations must focus on teacher-level factors, identifying four basic mechanisms (p. 832) that support teachers' adoption of ICT in the school system:

1. Recruitment/selection - employing teachers who have ICT expertise, that is technology literate or who are supportive and willing learners. 2. Training/socialization - provision of training and making it socially supportive of ICT. 3. Providing opportunities to explore and learn - including accessing the tools to enable the opportunity for exploration and learning how to use the tools in classroom pedagogy. 4. Leveraging change through the social context- influencing and changing the opinion of leaders.

The authors found change was more likely to occur when there was an “empty niche” (for example, telecommunications was exploited to communicate with parents where there had been little communication before) but ICT was rarely exploited for curriculum purposes when it competed with existing curriculum activities.

Additionally to the four mechanisms, the authors made recommendations that included; • ICT embedded in the curriculum • Management of the influence by peers • Stress caused by computer innovations

Furthermore, they identified, that professional development for individual teachers outside the school context often provided little support for innovation where as group or whole school initiatives coherent with the school’s strategic plan and supported by leadership was more effective in promoting renewal with ICT in education.

Implications for Practice - focus on teacher level factors:

1. Recruitment/selection/employing teachers who have ICT expertise, that is, they are technology literate or are supportive and willing learners. The authors suggest that “the most likely mechanism for effecting change in this category is attrition and the recruitment/selection”. The policy implication to consider during the hiring stage is, how adaptable a teacher will be to computer technology as well as considering the teaching style as this compliments computer usage. Therefore, for this to happen, the leadership/management structure must include ICT expertise, or for the prospective teacher to be supportive and a willing ICT learner as criterion when recruiting and selecting them as a prospective teacher.

Davis (2008) emphasises the importance of teachers as leaders of renewal education systems. The implementation of ICT can be interpreted through multiple ecological layers by starting with an overview of the global biosphere of education.

2. Training/socialization - provision of training and making it socially supportive of ICT. Change agents (leaders and teachers) can draw on social capital (Zhao et al.2004), to facilitate the provision of training opportunities. The identified methodology is through socialising teachers into different beliefs regarding the value of technology; that is, provide time for teachers to interact rather than the traditional professional development in-services courses and conferences.

Dabner and Davis, (2009) found that blending of teachers’ workspaces and other communities with their online learning experiences increases the impact of professional development, these over looked blends, provide reciprocal benefits for the learner and for their organisation (Parkes, S., Zaki, P., and Davis, N.E., 2011).

3. Provision of opportunities to explore and learn - including accessing the tools to enable the opportunity for exploration and learning in how to use the tools in classroom pedagogy. That is, the change agents should be providing opportunities with time, for exploration; consideration; learning and engaging with new technologies and applications. The research demonstrates that this has strong impacts on both teacher and student use of computers.

The University of Canterbury e-Learning Lab EDEM courses create a community of learners providing the opportunity to collaborate with peers in solving problems created through the conversations and collaboration tools including forums and Web 2.0 tools. (Dabner & Davis, 2009)

Davis (2008) identifies that organisational change with ICT starts with localised exploitation when one or more teachers adopt one or more ICT innovations and the number of teachers and students using ICT dominoes, the increasing demand results in internal integration. 

4. Influencing/leveraging and changing the opinion of leaders through the social context'.' The change agents can leverage change through the social context using the available social capital (Frank et al., 2004); teachers given the opportunity to interact with ICT and to help one another increases the overall level of technology use.

Furthermore, before attempting (further) implementation of innovations, the importance of the change agents awareness of the social context and structures and the school culture is utmost. Simultaneously, it is important to provide fuller support for the few computer-savvy colleagues enabling them to make fuller use of computers. Also, change agents should be aware of possible stress in relation to other innovations within the school culture, before attempting to implement innovations.

The process of innovation takes time, and the stages of adoption and/or rejection can be characterised for the individual and/or the community or communities in which they work.

Zhao & Franks diagram, demonstrates the interactive process of technology adoption in schools as indicated in Figure 2.



Davis, (2008) also focuses on the importance of support and professional development. If the conditions mentioned do occur, according to Davis, the result will be “ecological forces that ‘optimise’ teacher’s ‘inclusive fitness in the school environment, helping the adoption of the innovation”.

Davis’s diagram demonstrates the influences of ICT in the global biosphere of education, including nested ecologies as indicated in Figure 3.


Underlying Assumptions- the Implications:

Zhao & Franks’ recommendations for schools change approach to be an evolution rather than revolutionary. That is, change agents’ must account for the extent to which organisms in ecosystems are prepared to accommodate.

Firstly, give teachers (keystone species) time to explore computer applications (invasive exotic species) as a priority over in-service programmes and conferences. Secondly, allow time for teachers to help each other: for example, group orientated activities with plenty of opportunity for teachers to help one another providing guidance and focus in increasing levels of technology use. Thirdly, limiting the number innovations that are being adopted at anyone time, and focus on these innovations only.

Therefore, change agents must account for the extent to which organisms in eco-systems are introduced, with the implications including:

1. Preparedness to accommodate 2. Allowance for opportunities for co-adaption 3. Allowance for adaption through the social processes of the system 4. Avoidance of over burdening the system

Davis (2008) was inspired by Zhao & Frank’s study, visualising that educational renewal can be achieved by adopting an ecosystem perspective, recognising that that a variety of eco-systems interact in the global biosphere and that a micro system such as a classroom is nested within another ecosystem, the school which is part of the nation’s macro educational ecosystem.

Conclusion: Diffusion of ICT in education is naturally complex (Davis 2010) providing a picture of complex processes because it impacts multiple ecologies as well as being impacted by these ecologies (Davis 2010).

Zhao & Frank proposed an analytical framework drawing upon the ecosystem metaphor, presented a study applying the framework to understand ICT uses in schools then concludes with some suggestions, cautions and hopes.

Davis (2010) paper calls for “researchers to rise to the interdisciplinary challenges of ecology, to ask more sophisticated questions, to use stronger methodology that systematically gathers evidence in the multiple ecologies that may be impacted by ICT innovations”.

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