Adoption of new technologies

With the release of BlogED into its second month, we are quickly trying to assess its uptake. Since April 25, over 6 000 teachers now have been provisioned , and over 24% have actively built a blog. The rate of uptake of any new technology is always a source of interest, and needs to be carefully understood before we can say with any confidence if the adoption is what might be expected . Of course its not just the act of setting up a blog which might constitute real uptake, but rather to what extent teachers are embedding it in their own or students learning- is it innovation , true adoption or diffusion? Everett Rogers now seminal piece on the diffusion of innovation laid the ground for the famous Adoption cycle. Its not the exact % of adopters tht important but understanding the characteristics of each group and how adoption/ diffusion occurs. Moore (1991) suggests that the transition from the early adopters to the early majority–one that is essential to an innovation’s success–offers particular potential for breakdown because the differences between the two groups are so striking.

Early Adopters  • Technology focused • Proponents of revolutionary change • Visionary users • Project oriented • Willing to take risks • Willing to experiment • Individually self-sufficient • Tend to communicate horizontally (focused across disciplines)

Early Majority • Not technically focused • Proponents of evolutionary change • Pragmatic users • Process oriented • Averse to taking risks • Look for proven applications • May require support • Tend to communicate vertically (focused within a discipline)

Members of the early majority, may not have an interest in the technology per se so their adoption of technology should be related to their curriculum/program and general teaching needs . Since they tend to focus vertically within a discipline, training and support provided by staff who enjoy discipline/content credibility will likely be best received. Successful peer users and networks are needed to lead its integration into the curriculum. If the technology is perceived as difficult to learn and/or too time consuming to prepare and use, they will drop out. Geoghegan, 1994 identifies a number of need based strategies for diffusion beyond the early adopters: Need for recognition and process involvement Need for vertical support structure to overcome technophobia Need for well-defined purpose or reason Need for ease of use and low risk of failure Need for institutional/administrative advocacy and commitment Ownership and identity. Variety of incentives Need for well-defined purpose or reason. Much of the diffusion theory suggests centralised training and support will be more transferable to the late majority and laggards.


About thand

I'm a currently working at NSW Departrment of Education & Training, Connected Classrooms Program, Sydney.
This entry was posted in blogging, Blogs, innovation, Leadership. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Adoption of new technologies

  1. Darcy Moore says:

    Thanks for these stats, Tim. Very interesting indeed and I look forward to updates!

  2. Tony Searl says:

    As usual thank you for keeping us informed.

    I do however remain disillusioned that some DET leaders are not allowing staff to be amongst the early BlogEd adopters.

    Oh well maybe 2011 is early enough.

  3. Many thanks Tim. Much to think about. I have printed out a few copies to share with like minded colleagues. Many variables are operating in 2010 and many conclusions are possible. As I see it community formation and the generation of corporate knowledge and will within the current teaching demographic is not yet at the tipping point. Nevertheless Facebook and Twitter are driving technology practises relentlessly. When enough intutive users flood the avoiders out of the corridors we will have our new paradigm.

  4. Ian McKee says:

    Thanks for the update Tim. A real problem sits with the ‘political’ need to provide quick feedback data on the ‘success’ of the project. As you point out meaningful uptake data on a technology such as this will only be found in a longitudinal study otherwise you run the risk of dissonance between the uptake reports and the actual use – something some of us are very familiar with – CURLs your mind thinking about it 😉

    • thand says:

      Ian- weve lived the temptation on reporting apparent successes. DET is very good at evaluating its own- now we must ensure independant evaluation, or it could get very CURLY.

  5. Pingback: ‘DER: Lunch and Learns’ … hands-on, teacher-centred Professional Development « Bianca's Blog

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