The use of instructional technology is not new. During WWII, films were used as instructional media to train new recruits. The use of film as an instructional technology for training military personnel in WWII prompted the investigation of technology applications in formal educational settings. In the years following WWII, researchers began to study the applications of instructional technology in the classroom, as well as conduct studies on its effectiveness (Reiser 2002). Although technology has changed in the ensuing years and educators have access to many technologies, the integration of technology into the classroom has been slow (Cuban, Kirkpatrick, & Peck; 2001; Culp, Honey, & Mandinach; 2005; Hernández-Ramos, 2005) and its reported effectiveness on student learning and achievement has been mixed (Honey, Macmillan, & Carrigg, 1999; Keller & Bichelmeyer, 2004). The slow rate of integration is often explained from a technology evolutionary perspective, (Cuban et. al., 2001) that purports that with increased availability and access to technology, integration will occur naturally with time, or from technology determinist perspective (Surry & Land, 2000) that proposes that technology integration occurs when a technology is developed to meet a specific need, (i.e., if you build a better mousetrap it will be used). Although these two perspectives might explain some technology integration in society, they fail to provide a reasonable explanation for the lack of technology integration in classrooms. In order to understand why integration has been slow and often times fails to meet intended outcomes, we must adopt an instrumentalist’s perspective to technology integration. This perspective considers the human factors related to technology integration, and proposes that integration is more a human endeavor than a natural process. (Surry & Land, 2000). I extend this perspective to include organizational and environmental factors that impact technology integration. This paper will examine the variables that impact technology implementation, and present two approaches that school systems could employ to facilitate the integration of technology.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Adoption: The resolution of cognitive and emotional concerns that leads to the decision to use a specific technology to facilitate student learning.
Ely’s Conditions: Eight conditions supported through research that, when present, facilitate the implementation of innovations within organizations. These conditions are Dissatisfaction with the Status Quo, Skills and Knowledge, Resources, Rewards, Time, Participation, Leadership, and Commitment.
Integration: Actual lesson plans, instructional practices, and activities in the classroom that involve technology to facilitate student learning.
Implementation: Specific actions taken by stakeholders that reduce barriers and increase the likelihood that technology will be integrated into the classroom to facilitate student learning.
Determinists Perspective: Perspective that technology is an autonomous force, that advances in technology will naturally lead to the integration of the technology into the classroom, and that the diffusion process does not require human intervention.
Instrumentalist Perspective: Perspective that technology is not autonomous nor does availability of the technology naturally lead to integration in the classroom. This perspective emphasizes that humans play a vital role in the diffusion process.
Technology Evolution Perspective: Perspective that given enough time, a technology will be diffused and integrated into classroom activities and no special strategies are required to facilitate this process.
RIPPLES: A model of implementing technology that advocates the meeting of specific needs within seven components of the model. These components are Resources, Infrastructure, People, Policies, Learning, Evaluation and Support. Each has specific needs that must be addressed in order to maximize the integration of technology.