Understanding Parents' Intention to Use a Learning Community Management System in K-12 Schools: An Application of the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology Model

Understanding Parents' Intention to Use a Learning Community Management System in K-12 Schools: An Application of the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology Model

Dawit Demissie, Abebe Rorissa, Anteneh Ayanso
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/IJISSC.2017100104
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Information systems that facilitate communication among faculty, staff, and parents are increasingly being adopted by K–12 schools. Despite their promise, schools are resisting these systems. The Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) has been rarely tested to explain behavioral intention, acceptance, and sustained use of technology in the context of developing nations. We apply the UTAUT model to examine behavioral intention to use a learning community management system at a K-12 school in the Bahamas. Data were collected from 162 parents through a survey questionnaire. Results showed that facilitating conditions (FC), performance expectancy (PE), and effort expectancy (EE) are significantly related to behavioral intention. In addition, Age has a moderating role in PE and FC with respect to their effects on behavioral intention. Our findings extend the validation of the UTAUT model in different environments and may help educators, administrators, and policymakers implement meaningful ICT policies in line with their community's educational aspirations.
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Rapid advances in information and communication technologies (ICTs) have drastically restructured the lives and activities of individuals, families, communities, and organizations. Nardi and O’Day (1999) noted that “the development of new technology affects the nature of work, school, family life, commerce, politics, and war. We might expect that anything with such profound changes on the way we live would be subject to considerable scrutiny and debate” (p. 12). Instead, the debate is often presented as a binary choice between a strong enthusiasm for technology (Technophiles) favoring uncritical acceptance on the one hand, and a condemnation of technology (Dystopian) urging extreme caution on the other hand (Nardi & O’Day, 1999).

Despite the reservations of some, a growing number of K–12 schools have adopted web-based ICT applications. This movement has been aided by vendors of learning technologies, including those in open-source communities, who have devised web-based applications such as Learning Community Management Systems (LCMS), Learning Management Systems (LMS), Student Information Management Systems (SIMS), Student Management Systems (SMS), and a host of other web-based learning technologies. These tools have profoundly reshaped the nature and role of K–12 schools (Kokoszka, 2009).

At the K–12 level, web-based technology solutions have focused on facilitating communication between home and school. Among their features, some products even provide enterprise-level solutions that enable school districts to streamline information flow between teachers, faculty, staff, and parents. Such systems save money by eliminating paperwork, mailing expenses, and unnecessary travel. Many argue that LCMSs in a K–12 contexts have shown the potential to surpass traditional means of communication by providing a voice driven, native-language translation system for non-English speaking parents (Kokoszka, 2009).

Deploying these ICT applications in K–12 educational settings have even been found to be effective in closing the achievement gap. For instance, in Maryland, the Montgomery County Public Schools—one of the largest in the nation with 139,000 students—reports that systematically tracking test results via a LCMS “has helped it nearly close an achievement gap between white and minority students in the early grades . . . the system has enabled it to identify minorities with academic gifts earlier, vaulting many more into demanding AP classes” (Hechinger, 2009, p. 1).

By integrating instructional content such as hands-on exercises, quizzes, assignments, and discussion forums, a LCMS helps keep parents informed and involved in their children’s academic life. Moreover, such systems assist teachers in designing student- centered instructions that can be delivered effectively, regardless of differences in students’ ability (Hall, Strangman, & Meyer, 2003). Nevertheless, despite the success of web-based learning systems, a number of factors hinder their adoption and sustained use (Kokoszka, 2009). Some argue that technological change is destined to be resisted by teachers’ unions and “will run into the same political roadblocks that all major reforms have run into and for exactly the same reasons” (Moe & Chubb, 2009, p. 2930).

Although several theoretical frameworks have been used to explore factors that influence behavioral intention, acceptance, and sustained use of technology in the Western nations (e.g., Al-Qeisi, 2009; McCoy, Galletta, & King, 2007; Straub, Keil & Brenner, 1997), little research has been conducted to test the applicability of these frameworks in the context of developing countries. As multinational information technology companies continue to penetrate markets around the globe, the question of how technology is adopted and managed in other parts of the world becomes more vital (Pavlou, 2003). Thus, it is important to examine the applicability of these widely used theoretical frameworks in different environments. Even after a second round of testing of UTAUT, Venkatesh, Thong, Xu (2012) recommended further testing of the theory in other countries and with various groups (especially age groups) and technologies. This research attempts to address this gap in the IT adoption and use literature.

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