Sunday, June 3, 2007

Adopt or Avoid?

Why do some teachers jump right in when a new technology is introduced? There are tons of reasons to postpone adopting a new technology, such as …

The professional development:

  • Hasn’t happened

  • Was at an inconvenient time or place

  • Wasn’t targeted to my situation

  • Didn’t provide enough information on how to apply it to teaching.

The technology:

  • Takes too much preparation time to use

  • Is not reliable

  • Is too slow on the equipment I have

  • Requires that I sign-out equipment elsewhere in the building, so it is too inconvenient to setup

  • Is too restrictive (not enough flexibility, agility, or creativity).

The intended use:

  • Is not developmentally appropriate for my students

  • Is too abstract/basic for my students

  • Is not part of the curriculum

  • Would inhibit human-interaction between the teacher and the student or between students

  • Is just another fad. This too will pass.

I usually respond that if you could just as effectively deliver the lesson without the technology, then you should! However, there are times when technology integration truly enhances the instruction (i.e., it has a high ratio of instructional benefit to effort required – a high value ratio.) There are too many examples of innovative practices with high value ratios to list here. Yet, a high value ratio is necessary but not sufficient to induce adoption. What makes one innovation take hold while another one flounders?

See also: Sugar, W., Crawley, F., & Fine, B. (2004). Examining teachers’ decisions to adopt new technology. Educational Technology and Society, 7 (4), 201-213.

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