Week 2 Required reading: 'Conditions for Classroom Technology Innovations'
The primary purpose of this study (by Yong Zhao, Kevin Pugh, Stephen Sheldon & Joe L Byers) was to look at why teachers don't innovate when they are given computers. It also looked into why teachers don't integrate computers into teaching in more effective ways.
School site conditions that influence successful integration of technology with classroom instruction was measured and teachers in Michigan were given funds to innovate with technology in their classrooms.
The success of classroom technology innovations was found to be:
- influenced by teacher as the innovator,
- the project as the innovation,
- the school as the context.
An explanation of the three domains:
The Innovator/ The Teacher
- Technology proficiency: is not only about having the knowledge to use a specific piece of hardware or software, but also means the understanding of technologies and conditions that enable the use of it.
- Pedagogical compatibility: is about the consistency between a teacher's pedagogical practice and the technology. When the technology to be integrated fits the content being taught and the teaching style of the teacher, odds are better to successfully implement a technology-based project.
- Social awareness: is when a teacher understands and is able to negotiate social aspects of the school culture. Projects are more likely to be implemented successfully by social savvy teachers.
The Innovation/ The Project
- Distance: this was found to be important in three areas; distance from the existing school culture (Degree to which the innovation differs from the set values, pedagogical beliefs, and practices of the teachers and administrators in a school), distance from existing practice (how innovation differs from previous practice) and distance from available technological resources (new technology or purchases needed for completion of tasks) .
- Dependence: refers to the degree that an innovation relies on other people or resources beyond the innovator’s immediate control. (i.e., technologies that the teacher controlled in his or her own classroom) as less dependent than innovations which required the involvement of other teachers, administrators, or outside technologies (such as a computer lab or district server).
The Context/ The School
Three aspects of the school context were identified to be of central importance to the success or failure of an innovation:
- The human infrastructure (meaning the organizational arrangement to support technology integration in the classroom and a human infrastructure that would include a flexible and responsive technical staff, a knowledgeable and communicative group of people who can help the teacher understand and use technologies for his or her own classroom needs and a supportive and informed administrative staff)
- The technological infrastructure (is technological resources, such as hardware, software, and connectivity of a school. These were in most cases inadequate)
- Social support (is important for the level of degree to which peers supported or discouraged the innovator)
The study outlines the impact technology can have on teaching and learning when systematically incorporated into the classroom lesson/unit plans and how available hardware, networks, and content applications will be used to help carry out instructional objectives.
Another point addressed was the impact of technology on teaching and learning as a function and the extend to which it is systematically incorporated into instructional planning to include curriculum, technology and teaching strategies matched to students' learning needs.