Conditions for Classroom Technology Innovations


Conditions for Classroom Technology Innovations YONG ZHAO Michigan State University

KEVIN PUGH University of Toledo

STEPHEN SHELDON Johns Hopkins University

JOE L. BYERS Michigan State University This article reports on a study of the complex and messy process of classroom technology integration. The main purpose of the study was to empirically address the large question of "why don't teachers innovate when they are given computers?" rather than whether computers can improve student learning. Specifically, we were interested in understanding the conditions under which technology innovation can take place in classrooms. For a year, we followed a group of K-12 teachers who attempted to carry out technology-rich projects in their classrooms. These teachers were selected from more than 100 recipients of a technology grant program for teachers. The study found 11 salient factors that significantly impact the degree of success of classroom technology innovations. Some of these factors have been commonly mentioned in the literature, but our study found new dimensions to them. Others have not been identified in the literature. Each factor can be placed in one of three interactive domains, the teacher, the innovation, and the context. The article discusses the 11 factors in detail and proposes a model of the relationship among the different factors and their domains.

INTRODUCTION As investment in school technology continues to increase, so does the need for more systematic, relevant, and useful research on educational technology (Education Week, 1998; Honey, McMillan, & Carrigg, 1999; Norris, Smolka, & Soloway, 1999; President's Committee of Advisors on Science and TechTeachers Cotlege Record Volume 104, Number 3, April 2002, pp. 482-515 Copyright
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nology. 1997). Traditionally, studies on educationial technology haxe been largely interested in finding out, in horserace fashion, the relative success of particular techniological innoxations as it affecLs studenit learning (Berliner & Calfee, 1996; Honey et al., 1999; Norris et al., 1999). As a result, after nearly 30 year-s and hunidreds of studies, we have a list of willners and losers-what techlnological inniovations are more or less effective than others or more or less effective than traditional instruction. However, technological advances have made most of the winners obsolete (e.g., drill-andpractice software, laser-disk-based hvpermedia, or instructional television), renderinig early findings largely irrelevant to today's research and development in educationial technology. Because many of these technology-specific studies did not explore more fundamental issues in technology and education-issties arounld the interface between technology and the educational establishment-the research communitV is having a difficult time offerinlg desperately needed suggestions to policy makers and practitioners (Education Week, 1998; Norris et al., 1999). A fundamental issue around the interaction between technology and education is the conditions under wuhiclh technology can be effectively used in classrooms to improve student learning. However, regarclless of the claimed educational benefits, technology must be used to have any impact on learning. Despite dramatic growth in access to modern computers in American schools (Anderson & Ronnkvist, 1999; Education Week, 1999), computer usage in the classroom remains disappointingly low (Cuban, 1999; Kent & MlcNergney, 1999; Loveless, 1996; U.S. Congress Office of Technology Assessment, 1995). The widelv recognized gap between access to and use of computers in schools begs the question why computers are not usecl more in classrooms. To adequately address this question we must turn our attention to the interaction between technological innovations and school realities. One obvious place to observe suchi interaction is the classroom, where technology integration actually takes place. However, in spite of the rich traclition of research on classroom teaching and learning (Peterson & Walberg, 1979; Richardson, in press; W'ittrock, 1986), there is a conspicuous lack of attention to the complexities and intricacies of how classroom teachers actually incorporate technology in their teaching.1 The U.S. Congress Office of Technology Assessment (1995s notes "[T]here has been relatively little research on how and why American teachers use technology" (p. 51). A preponder-ance of the research about teachers and technology is survey studlies lookiing for correlates among the many variables influencing teachers' use of technology for professional and personal reasons (Becker & Ravitz, 1999; Harris & Grangenett, 1999; Honey & Moeller, 1990). These types of studies tend to neglect the messy process through which teachers struggle to negotiate a foreign and potentially disruptive innovation into their familiar environment (Cuban, 1986; Fullani, 1991; Hodas, 1993).


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Although past research in educational technology has mostly ignored this issue, there are abundant a priori explanations about why computers and other technologies have not been used more in schools. The list of proposed explanations runs long: from the incompatibility between technology and the current culture of schooling to the inherent unreliability of technology, from the ill-preparedness of teachers to the poor quality of educational software, and from the predominance of conservative pedagogy to the power of standardized assessment (Collins, 1996; Cuban, 1986, 1999; Education Week, 1999; Hodas, 1993; Loveless, 1996; U.S. Congress Office of Technology Assessment, 1995; Zhao & Cziko, in press). When taken together, these explanations present a seemingly comprehensive picture. But a closer look reveals that the theoretical and practical value of these explanations is limited in a number of ways. First, most of the suggestions neither are the results of empirical studies nor have been tested empirically. Second, these explanations do not define the important characteristics of each factor, the context in which the factors operate, nor the relationships among them. Lastly, the list is simply too long. It includes virtually everything about the school and technology, making it extremely difficult for practitioners to draw any practical insights. THE CURRENT STUDY The current study set out to address these issues by focusing on the complex and messy process of technology integration in real classrooms. The primary purpose of the study was to better understand the conditions under which technology innovations can successfully take place in classrooms. More specifically, we aimed at identifying factors that facilitate or hinder teachers' use of technology in their classrooms. We also expected to construct a model of relationships among the factors with the hope that such a model would help provide directions for future research, policies, and practice. METHOD Participants Participants of the study were a subset of the recipients of a state technology innovation grant. The objectives of this grant program were to provide resources directly to the classroom teachers so that information technology could affect student success; to support innovative educators who have successfully integrated technology into the learning environment to increase student achievement; and to encourage innovative educators who have not previously used technology tools to expand their successful teaching and learning experiences by applying technology. Unlike most federal or state

(Conlditionv for (ClJalom o eei nolog) Innovations 485

granits that usuallx- award grants to an institutioni, such as a school or school (listr-ict. individual teacher-s were the intenidecl recipients of this grant. Teachers could applv for a grant of up to Sl10,000 to support their efforts to use technology in their- classI-ooimls. More than 370 applications were received. The applications wvere evaluatedl based on the following criteria: innovative use of available technology; collaborationi across school, district, andl organizational bounidaries; potential to have major- impact on curriculumil andc instructioll to improve student learinig: degree of link to the state contenit standards and benchmarks for studenit learninig; potential to replicate in other learning environments; team capability to clisseminiate good technology integration practice; and numitber- of studenits impacted. Of the 370 applications, 118 teachers or teachel- teams wvere selected to receive a total of S601,588. The average amounit per grant was S5,098. The largest grant was for S10, 000, whereas the smallest grant was Sl,000. We were contr-acted to evaluate the progr-amiS. The evaluation collected (lata at thl-ee levels: 1) all granit recipienits (survevs), 2) a subset of 32 (survevs and interviews). anci 3) a subset of 10 (surveys, interviews, and observations).2 Findinigs reported in this paper are mainly from the 10 case studies, althoughi we used the data fi-om the larger population as references. The 10 cases were selectecl based on three criteria: 1) geographical location, 2) grade level, and 3) subject matter. Geographical location wvas used as thie first criterioni because in this particular state vast differences exist amonig schools in terms of studenit population, educational achievemenit, and particularly technology resotiu-ces as a result of their relative geographiical location. Ainothier reasoni for usinig geographical location sas political-the evaluation of a statewide programil must inclide schools located in all distinct geographical regions. Gracle level and subject matter were tised as criteria because they have direct impact on the type of technology pr(jects to be implemenitecl. Initially 12 teacher teams were selected, but two dropped out of the study for personal reasons. Analyses show no significanit differenices between the selected cases and the populationi (all granit recipients) in terimis of technology proficiencv, computer- anxiety, curr--enit andl planinecd uses of technology, beliefs about computers, and pedagogical styles. It is thus reasoniable to assume that the 10 cases reported in this paper are representative of all 118 project supported by the grant. Table I dlepicts ilte backgrouncd information of the participanits and a sumimiliar-y of their- proposecl projects. Procedw-es anid Data Sources

A variety of data were collected througilout the year. First, a survey containinig six subscales was adminiistered to all 118 recipients. The six sub-

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Teachen College Record

scales were designed to assess six constructs identified by the literature to be relevant to technology integration: technology proficiency, computer anxiety, attitudes and beliefs toward technology in education, previous and planned professional uses of technology, pedagogical styles, and experiences preparing for the grant proposal. Following the survey, a sample of 32 teachers was selected for an interview based on geographical location, grade level, and subject matter. The interviews were structured around three issues: previous experiences with technology, motivation for applying for the grant, and concerns and plans for implementing the proposed technological innovation. The interviews were 45 to 60 minutes long and were audiotaped. We then selected 12 of the 32 interviewed grant recipients for case studies. A member of the research team visited each case monthly. During the visit the researcher observed the teacher's teaching, interviewed the teacher, and on occasion interviewed the teacher's students and colleagues. Researchers also kept records of electronic communications with the participants. At midyear, a second survey that focused on the teachers' experience with the implementation of their proposed projects was administered to all recipients, including the participants selected for this study. Besides the surveys, observations, and interviews, we also examined the messages posted to a listserv subscribed to by all grant recipients. Additionally, as part of the grant requirement, each teacher was asked to submit a biweeklyjournal to the grant management Web site. The journals by the 10 teams were included as data for this study. Also included as data were the grant proposals of the 10 teams who participated in this study.

Data Analysis At the outset we had developed a sense of factors that constitute part of the conditions for classroom technology integration based on the existing literature. We did not formulate specific hypotheses, however, because we did not feel that we had strong enough evidence to do so. Following the tradition of grounded theory (Strauss & Corbin, 1990), we adopted the constant comparison approach. When all the data came in, the research team spent a week looking through the cases for themes. The researchers wrote independent case reports for each of the 10 teachers. The writer of each case report was also asked to determine the degree of success for each case by comparing the proposed objectives and activities in the original grant proposal with what was completed by the end of the grant period. Each case was given one of three ratings: Successful, Mixed Success, and Failed. Each case was then read by the rest of the research team and discussed at team meetings. A consensus of the final characterization of degrees of success was reached through the discussions. During a period of 6 months

(Cndjitim, /Mo (Classroom ie(holob9gy I/1ovza/tious


foii researchiers reexiniiliecl the cases at weeklv meetinigs. A list of themes graduallv developed throtugh this iterative process. The researchers wvorked to map factors stiggestecl by prexious researcih onto the cases, wvith special attention to thte partictIlatr factors presenlt ol- absenlt in each of the three

cate-gories of the cases: Sucrv^s, .1lixed, and Ifailure.

RESL-LTS AND DISCUSSION Eleven salient factors seem to explain the clegree of success for all 10 cases. Some of these Lactors have been comimlonilx menitionied in the literature, butt oui stucdy foutid new cdimenisionis to themil. Others have not been identifietd in the literature. As menitionied p)reviotislx, each factor can be placed in one of thiee interactive clomainis the innovator, the innovation, and the context (see Figture 1). In the following sections, we (liscuiss the way in which each domaini and its relatecl factors are iassociatecl with successful techinolog\ integr-ationi.

THE INNOVSATOR The teacher is naturally the first personi one ciain look to factors that affect classroom technology tises. Thiee factors associated with the teacher have been founid to contribute significantly to the sticcess of classroom technology innovations: techliologp proficiency, pedlagogical compatibility, ancd social i-awarenle-ss .

TECHNOLOGY PROFICIFNCY The studv confirm-iied the asstumiiptioni that teachers' technology proficiency plays a Imaoi-O role in classroomil technology innovations. Moreover, it added a new dimenisioni to the variable. Traditionallyv technology proficiency has been unlider-stood as the ability to operate a piece of equipment or use a software application. However, our observations suiggestecl that an additional dimenisioni of technology proficiency plays an equally inportanit part: knowledge of the enablinig conditionis for a techniology-that is, knowing what else is necessary to tise a specific technology in teachinlg. Modern computers and comI)Lter-related techinologies are diepenclenit on many contextual factors to funiction. For instance, an activity as simple as having students exchange writings usinig e-mail reqtires access to a ftuictionial network, networked computers, e-mail software, and perhlaps even filter software. Simple knowledge abotit how to send and readl e-mail with a single e-mail program only works when everything else funictionis perfectly This is seldlom the case with classroomil technology. This is not to stiggest that teachers need to know


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aKnowledge of the technology and its enabling conditions\ *Pedagogy-technology\ compatibility\ *Knowledge of the organizational\ and social culture of the school\

The Context (School)

The Inno'vation (Project) *Distance frcom school culture *Distance fr *omavailable resources *Distance fr 3m innovator's current pra ctices


Technological infrastructure (facility, network, equipment, etc.) Infrastructure (Support staff, policies and procedures,


*Organizational Culture


| Sccssfl mplementation| of Technology Projects in the Classroom

Figure 1.

Conditions for classroom technology innovations.

how to manage computer networks or install software, but it is essential that they understand the enabling conditions of certain technologies. The following cases illustrate the importance of comprehensive technology knowledge. Willa proposed to use computer video conferencing to connect her third graders with students from other places to develop literacy through authentic oral communication and writing. Although Willa knew which software she needed to use, she had little knowledge about the technological infrastructure needed to set up the whole system-such as a fairly high-speed Internet connection and digital cameras. It took her a long time to find out and order what she needed. Her project was never implemented. In contrast, Jeff, one of the most successful cases, was a science teacher at an alternative high school. His proposed project was to engage students

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in authentic scientific inquiry through collecting, analyzing, and communicatinig data about water qualitv from a local rixer. The project required an elaborate technological setup inxolv-inig probes, videos, computers, networks, and servers. However, jeff hacd extensive knowledige about the variotus techiologies involved in this complex project. Our data suggest that this comprehensive unider-stanidinig was a significanit factor in the successful implementation of his project. The case of Aninie, whose goal was to have her sttidents conduct and presenit 10 muiltimiedia projects coninectinlg mathiematics ancl social studies, furlther- exemplified the critical role of a broaidler understanding of technology-knowledge beyond the actual application. Instead of purchasing new computers, Annrze decicled to upgrade the existing technologp she was previously uisig. This decision seriously limited her project, enabling only 5 (inistead of 10) integr-ated projects durinig the school year. On reflection Anne comimienited that had she knowni more abotit technology, she would have simply botiglt new comptiters: BPut if I were to acid the upgr-ades that I already had done, plus the close to S300 upgrade that I still need to have done, I could have bought a new, bought or almost boughit another new computer that can do mor-e ... do more than wihat I've got with all the upgrade stuff. In retrospect, Aninie' decision to upgrade cost her time, money, and opportunities to go beyond the goals of her project. The lack of knowledge and awareness of technology dicl not entirely sabotage Anne's project, but it hindered her ability to successfully accomplish all that she had envisioned. The above cases are illustrative examples of how a teacher's expertise with the technology he or she hopes to integrate into the classroom can hell) or hinder a project. The survess suggested similar trends. 'hat is interesting is that althotigih most teacher-s reported to be proficient in basic computing applications (especially those that do not involve the understanding of the broader computinlg system), there were significant differences on measures of more advanced applications that require operations of more than one componienit (Zhao et al., 2001). COMPATIBILIM' BEMTEEN TEACHER PEDAGOGICAL BELIEFS AND) THE TECHNOLOG;Y In carrying out daily activities and classroom lessons, teachers draw on their own beliefs and collected knowledge to successfullv negotiate the busy ecology of the classroom (Huberman, 1983). Studies of teaching and teachers' beliefs have shown that teachers who are more reflective and aware of their own pedagogical beliefs are generallI more adaptive and flexible teachers (Clarlk & Peterson, 1986). Analysis of the case studies suggests that


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successful implementation of technology innovation into the classroom is more likely when teachers are highly reflective about their own teaching practice and goals, in the sense that they consciously use technology in a manner consistent with their pedagogical beliefs. We found that when a teacher's pedagogical approach to teaching was consistent with the technology she or he chose to use, the efforts to use technology were more likely to yield positive results. This is because technology is not functionally neutral, as some have argued (Means, 1994). Although at a generic level modern computing technology is quite versatile, capable of supporting a variety of uses, specific technological applications have their own affordances and constraints (Bromley, 1998; Bruce & Hogan, 1998); certain technologies are simply better suited for some tasks than others. When teachers choose a technology that is compatible with their pedagogical orientation, the integration goes much more smoothly. We found that when teachers' pedagogical beliefs conflicted with the technology they were attempting to incorporate into their classroom, they struggled to successfully accomplish the goals of their proposed project. In these cases, projects were postponed, severely modified, or simply canceled. Additionally, we found that successful implementation of classroom technology was more likely to occur when teachers viewed technology as the means to an end, rather than an end itself, and when they saw an intimate connection between technology and the curriculum. When the value of technology was limited to peripheral functions, such as adding novelty to teaching, the likelihood of success was greatly reducedl. Several teachers exemplified these findings. An illustrative example of the connection between pedagogy and technology can be seen in Kathy, an eighth-grade English and social studies teacher. Kathy's successfully implemented project involved having students build a hypertext of American history. Kathy had a very explicit theory of mind underlying her view of how technology could best be used to support student learning. Regarding the congruency between the human mind and the technology involved in her project, Kathy states, The idea of multilinear and the idea of intertextual stuff isn't new. It's how human beings think. We now have technology that comes closer to mirroring how we think. And that's what hypertext is. And so my goal for my students is to really think deliberately. My goal for my students is to, is to think deliberately about hyper, about hypertext. To think about that relationship between one piece of text and another. In this interview, Kathy states clearly that she believes technology has finally caught up to the way humans think. The technology she selected for use in her classroom, in this case a hypertext writing software application, enables the kind of thinking she wants students to develop.


for (:las.snroom TechiologvIhipiofl ions


In contr-ast to Kathv is NN'illa, whose pecdagogical beliefs were not consistent withi hier- project. Her project originate(d from one in-service seminar. The seminiar inspired \i'illa to think about usinig video conferenicilig technologv as an innovative wax to dlevelop studenits' oral skills and enhalice tlheir- literacy development. Thus, \Willa founiic a technologv that fit a partictilar- pedagogical orienitation-the centrality of oral language to the developineit of literacy. However, prior to the seminiar, usinig oral skills to develop literacv had not been a significant part of her- pedlagogical practice or beliefs. Rather, she simply found the iclea and the technology interesting an(l decided to trv it. However, as the project started, she began to lose sight of the pedagogical basis for the technology. Rather thani focusinig on the development of literacy through developing oral skill, she began to focus on how the technology mighit afford the development of social skills such as listeninig to and respecting others. Prior to the beginniniig of the school xear, \Willa was asked what she hoped her- project miglht accomplish with her studenits, and she said, *\'ell, I guess I just wanta provide them opportunlities to speak ancl maybe in their- realization that somebody is talking to them, that they have to listen also. That, you know, if they're talking, they expect you to listen so if vou're talking into a camera or a computer ancd there's someone on1 that other- end, and Vou, you're telling them something, it's N-ou responsibility then to listen to what that personi says back. XN'illa's commi1enits suggest that she is at least as interestedl in teaching herstudenits how to sit and listen as she is in teachinig themil oral langutage or cognitive skills. Hence, she did not seem to be strongly andl consistently commnitted to uising the technology to achieve a particular goal relatedl to a particular pedagogical belief. \Willa' s case is particular-ly interesting becauise of the waay it highilighits challenges with regar-d to the implemenitationi of technology in the classroom. In the beginniniig. Villa appears to have been inspir-ed to use compuiters in her- classroom in an innovative maniner. Attendinig an in-service provided an intr-oductioni to new ideas abouit teachinig. However, a single exposut-e to these new ideas may not have been enotigh to support the long-term and consistent application in the classroom (Berliner & Calfee, 1996). WVithout a full uniderstandinig of these new curricular goals, in this case abotit links between oral langtiage and litcracy, thc goals of a project may be subverted or deflectecl. Although the lack of sticcess experienced by \Willa cannot be solely attributed to her pedagogical beliefs, it may have contribtited to her readiness to continually postpone confrontationis with the barriers she encounterecl w-hile trying to implement hier project.


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SOCIAL AWARENESS Among the qualities of a teacher that appeared to make a project more or less successful was her or his understanding of and ability to negotiate the social aspects of the school culture. Our analyses suggest that socially savvy teachers were more likely to implement their projects successfully. These teachers knew the social dynamics of the school, were aware of where to go for what type of support, and were attentive to their peers. Technologybased classroom innovations, although sharing many qualities with other types of innovations (Fullan, 1991), require teachers to be more socially sophisticated than other types of innovations for a number of reasons. First, today's technology, especially network-based computers, often requires resources beyond the teacher's control. To make computers work teachers often need to continuously interact with technicians and administrators, two groups of people teachers have not traditionally had close relationships with. Thus teachers have to discover which individuals in the school or district can provide the help they need, and they have to know how to work effectively with those individuals. Second, technology-based projects can make traditionally private classroom activities public and can expose students to an environment beyond the classroom walls, disturbing wellestablished school patterns. This disturbance can often result in anxious parents and administrators. Socially savvy teachers are much more aware of the potential for problems and can frequently negotiate compromises among the various parties that smooth the way for successful class technology experiences. Furthermore, technology means money and attention in today's schools. In an egalitarian place with limited resources such as schools, the extra resources technology projects receive or require can easily disturb the social harmony among peers. Thus, knowledge of school resources and sensitivity to the needs and priority of colleagues is helpful for successful technology integration efforts. As an example of how familiarity with the school context and the demands of others enable an innovator to be successful, Kathy provides a telling case. At the time of her grant award, Kathy's school had a single computer lab for all of the teachers to share. When they wanted to use the lab, teachers had to sign up. Kathy's project required frequent uses of the lab, which could potentially draw her into conflict with the demands of other teachers. However, this proved not to be a problem because Kathy knew and understood how much her colleagues might use the computer lab. Knowing the school-wide demand for the computer lab, Kathy could plan her lessons appropriately. In contrast, Susan's case highlights the impact of a lack of social awareness on technology implementation. Susan's attempts to implement innovative uses of technology in her classroom were, in part, hindered by other

C(onditions for (lassmom 'Ie/chiology Inn?tootioos 495

teachers' reluctanice to fully hitegrate a composting project into their classroom011 culriculul. This resistanice to innovation has been a sour-ce of disagreement between Susani and her colleagues in the past. Susan, however, consistentlv ignores the actions of her- colleagues: On my team I usually have a clear vision which my teammnates support and say thev uLnderstand, but then whleni it comes to actually implementinlg it, thev lose the glimpse of what it could be and keep wvantilng [he comfor-t of that with which thev are familiar ... Right now we are wrestling with this again. I say againi because every xear we begin, come close, then they slide back into a more traditional approach. As implied in these comments, the compost project was affected by the differ-enices in perspectives. Susani thouglht it should be fully integr-ated with their- regular- cli-rictlumll, but the other teachers felt it was difficult to make this actually happen once they started planning otit the curriculumll for the year. The result was that the project became more of an add-on to the curriculum thani an integr-ated part of it. The realizatioln that the project was becoming an add-on occurred gradually for Susanl After the project hacl been underway for abotit a month, she commented, \Well, my intentioni when I wrote [the grant] was that [the project] would be just the mathi, science, language, social studies [instruction] for a period of time and theni it would be sort of an ongoing project that would be a side project. The vay it's turned out is that it's been sort of an additional project. And part of that is becatise of, von know, anid different viewpoints of how you can do things. In the end, despite Susan's attempts to better integrate the compost project into the classroom curriculum, the project remainedi on the sidelines and became more of a specialty project for a smaller group of sttidents. StIsan's inability to fully accomplish her stated goals for the project is due, in part, to her lack of coordination and perhaps unlderstandinig of the teachers she wvor-ks with. Without the cooperation of the other teachers, Susani's project could never be more thani partially successful. Successful projects, as illustrated bx Susani's case, require that the innovator understand whlich innovations the social context will constraini and which ones it Nsill afford. One of the importanit ingredients to the successful integration of innov-ative uses of technlology in schools is the teacher. Teachers vary on a wide range of qualities and attributes, some of wvhich appear to be particularly relevant when discussinig technology integration in classrooms. We found that the way an individual's pedagogical beliefs interacted with the tech-


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nology they know and decide to use affected the likelihood of successful technology integration. Teachers' technology proficiency played an important role as well, as did teacher's social awareness. These characteristics did not operate in isolation. They interacted with one another and with aspects of the innovation itself. In the following section, we report our findings of significant factors associated with the second domain, the innovations themselves-the projects that teachers attempted to carry out. THE INNOVATION A primne determinant of whether a project succeeded or not was the nature of the innovation itself. Simply put, some innovations appeared much more difficult to implement than others. Specifically, we found that innovations varied along two dimensions, distance and dependence, and that success was related to these two dimensions. Distance refers to how much the innovation deviated from the status quo. We found distance to be important in three areas: distance from the existing school culture, distance from existing practice, and distance fronm available technological resources. Dependence refers to the degree that an innovation relies on other people or resources-particularly people and resources beyond the innovator's immediate control. For example, we rated innovations that only involved a teacher's own students and technology (i.e., technologies that the teacher controlled in his or her own classroom) as less dependent than innovations that required the involvement of other teachers, administrators, or outside technologies, such as a computer lab or district network server. We found a close relationship between where the innovations fell along these dimensions and the degree of success of those innovations. In the following sections, these dimensions are discussed in more detail. DISTANCE FROM SCHOOL CULTURE Distance from school culture refers to the degree that an innovation differs or deviates from the dominant set of values, pedagogical beliefs, and practices of the teachers and administrators in a school. In most of the cases, distance from the school culture was not a salient issue because these innovations were not very different from the existing beliefs and practices at the school where they were implemented. For example, Anne's innovation involved having students do multimedia math presentations. This project fit well with the school culture. Other teachers, in a variety of subject areas, liked the idea of having students do presentations (multimedia or otherwise) and also tried to have their own students do such presentations. In addition, the team of teachers with whom Anne worked, as well as the principal, was excited about this use of technology.


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Hen1-1v's iniioxatioin is an example of- an innovation with a moder-ate level of- distan-ce. His project involved having othel- teachers work with students to dlesiggn Internet-based lessonis. These teachier-s had{ never dlevelopecd les-

SOllS for the Inter-niet lbefore, ancl some hadl niot usedl the Interinet mtich with thieir students. Thus, the project went beyond what other- teachers normally (lid. However, the project closely paralleled some of the things that the teacher-s had been ulsedl to dloing. Teacher-s were usedl to writing worksheets to gni(le studlenits in looking tip information on topics in a textbook or in the librar-y. Henryv's project was similar- to this activity, asking teachier-s to clesign a Web-based worksheet that would guii(le stu(lenits in resear-chliniig a topic on the Interniiet. Both Aninie's and Henry's innovations

were ahle to achieve a good level of success. In a few cases, the ininoxationis were verv (listanit f'romii the school ctilttire. For those pliojects the restilt was ofteni quite negative. Distance from the scilool culttul-e leads to significant, sometimiles instiu-rimouiintable, roadlblocks to a projects success. For instanice, Susan's innovation of' doinig interdlisciplinary science projects was qtuite (listanit f'romil the culture of- her sch0ooland froM tile ciltur-e of' schioolinig in gener-al. Her project was progressive in the sense that it challenged the tradlitional "grammar" of' schioolinig (Tvack & Cuhan. 1995). Suisan 's school, in a new bhuildiig, was dlesiginecl so that teacher-s couid work collaborativelv as teams andl have open classrooms where integr-ated teachlinig took place. In reality, all of' the teamns except Susan's usedl partitions to divide thieir- open spaces into individual class-oomlis. Additionally, althouTgh the teachers clicl collaborate as a team, for thle Ilmost pyint the stilCIlents w%ere still tauight indivicutlu

subjects by individual

teachers. Susan's project chiallenigedl thils cultur-e by requiring suhjects to be integr-atedl and teachers to teachi in coordination with one anlothier. Susan had m1anlly problems trying to implement lher- innovation. In the end, shie liadl to transform lier- innovation into a separate compostinig project that fit mor-e closely with the sch0ool cliltur-e and the traditional gr-amimilarof schlool.

Mlonica audil Shawn's case providles another example of' an innovation higily distant f'romil the schiool culture. Tlheir- innovation involvedl multigradle

looping ancl project-hasedl



This contrasted

strongly with th( widIer sclhool cuiltture Monica described as driven hv textbooks and statewide standard tests: Outir school is. b! and large. textbook driven. We have texthooks in every stubject and Imlost teachers (lo lesson one, followed by lesson two, followved hv lesson tit-ee, andl so on.W... We're very MEAP [the State's standardized tests-authors] driven, MEAP consciouis. We're trying to get Nor-thi Central accreditationi. So otir (listi-ict is startinig to look at the MIEAP tests and state (loctimenits and( design ctirr-iculum to that.


Teachers College Record

Thus the school culture places an emphasis on a structure and sequence that would progressively lead students to perform well on the state assessment. Monica and Shawn's project came into conflict with this goal. First, the multigrade looping and collaborative teaching undercut the structured sequence of instruction emphasized in the school. In fact, some of the other teachers complained about the project for this reason. According to Monica, [T]he big thing now is taking my third graders on study trips with the fourth graders. Some of the third graders are now going on, quote unquote, fourth grade study trips.... Some of the fourth grade teachers were upset because that's a, quote unquote, fourth grade field trip. They shouldn't be taking that because next year, when they're fourth graders, it won't be a big thing for them. It won't be a, you know, surprise. It won't be a novelty. Also, the project-based approached and the looping undercut the principal's goal of a unified curriculum. Monica and Shawn simply were not doing the same thing as the other teachers, and what they were doing did not directly relate to preparation for the state test. As a result, the principal was not very supportive of the project. An additional problem was that Shawn left in the middle of the year. This meant Monica would have to do the multigrade looping and collaborative teaching with a new person. However, the new teacher did not want to get involved in the project because it was a radical departure from what she was used to. This, combined with the lack of the principal's support, was a primary reason why almost none of Monica and Shawn's goals were accomplished.

DISTANCE FROM EXISTING PRACTICE Distance from practice refers to the degree to which an innovation differs from the prior educational practices of the teacher. Although related to the role of teachers' pedagogical beliefs discussed previously, this refers more specifically to the teacher's particular practical experiences. The most successful projects generally involved an innovation that was a variation of a project previously completed by the teacher. For example, Kathy and Jeff had both previously completed projects very similar to their proposed one. Or the new project simply involved expanding the breadth of the project or adding a technology component to it. For example, Paul's innovation to have his elementary students develop Web pages was a modest adaptation of a previous project. The innovation simply involved extending what he had done the year before to include all of his students, another teacher, and her class.

Coj1jditiovs JorC (Cla,snoon Ich?iology Inn ovatijos


Otlher projects involved more significant deviations from prior practices. The added distance on occasion hinlderedl the implementation of some projects. For example. Susani's innovation required making a fundamental tranisfor-miiationi from a stanclard curr--icultum to an integrated curriculu1m. For about 5 -ears Susanl and her team engaged in joint teachinlg, where thev combinied their- classes and tatught as a team. However, this joint teaching dicl not really involve an integr-ated curriculumliil because the teachers would take turns teachinlg their subject area specialties (i.e., math, social stu(lies, langutage arts, science), althotuglh occasionally they worked on some projects together. However, Susani's project require(d that the team take a mutchi larger- step tos-ard collaboration. It required that the teaching of the differenit subject areas be integrated within a single project for a period of time. Hence, each teacher- would have to fundamentallv reorganize her approach to teachinlg the subject. The teachers resisted making this change, as (isctLIssed earlier. As a restult of these diffictilties, one aspect of her innovation, the goal of doing an integr-atedl project, had to be largely abandoned.

DIST-kNCE FROM ANAILNBLE TECHNOLOGICAI. RESOURCES Distance from existing technological resources refers to the amount of nel%technologies (hardware, soft-ware, accessories, connectivity, etc.) needed for successfuLl completioni of the innovation. Again, the most successful projects were not very distant-they either required no new technolog-v or minimllal puL-clhases or installations. For instance, Kathy's project simply requir-ed the pul-clhase of addlitional licenses for a piece of software she had been using. Jeff only had to purchase more sensors for an existing technology system.

Otther projects were more distant from the existing technological resources. OUI analysis revealed that a high proportion of those innovations that requtired the pul-chase or installation of new technologies experienced significant delays or coinmplete failure in getting the required equipment and software. For example, Susani's project required a number- of thinigs: computers with Interinet access, probes, a graphlinig calculator-, a video microscope. and variouLs software programs. The arrival of many of these techlnologies was significantly delayed. The computers and most of the other technlologies were not obtained Ulntil halfway through the school year. The comptuter-s were never connected to the Inter-niet, despite teachers being told that the computer-s Would be installed and made Internietreadyv before the school year started. As a result, Susan had to drop some of the technology aspects of her project. After explaining the delaIs, she commen ted.


Teachers College Record

Consequently I have not been able to implement instruction or build skills in construction of a multimedia database or even simple graph production of the temperature data. There has been no word processing skills practiced and nothing composed. No Power Point or Hyperstudio stacks produced for presentations. No computers to work with. DEPENDENCE ON OTHERS Dependence on others refers to the degree that the innovation required the cooperation, participation, or support of people not under the innovator's authority. Those innovations with a low level of dependence were most successful. For instance, Jeff's, Kathy's, and Paul's innovations were highly successful and largely self-contained (i.e., they only involved their own classrooms and students). However, the level of success often dropped as innovations became more dependent on others. For instance, the project of the teachers at Boyleston had two components. The first component was developing a computer club with students. It was successfully completed. The second component involved conducting training of other teachers (who were not under the authority of the innovators) and was only partially successful. In other cases, such as those of Henry, Susan, and Heather, the entire project was dependent on others because they required the participation and cooperation of other teachers. These latter projects experienced some difficulties in getting the teachers to fulfill their responsibilities, which hindered the success of the projects. Monica and Shawn's case represents an innovation that was dependent in a different way. Although the innovation appears self-contained in that it only involved their classrooms, it required the support and cooperation of the principal and other teachers. Perhaps all projects require this support to some degree, but Monica and Shawn's project was more dependent on this support because their multiage looping and project-based approach came into conflict with the established school structure. For the project to succeed, other teachers needed to be willing to adjust some of the structures of their classes, and the principal had to be willing adjust his plan for the school. Because these parties were unwilling, the project was not successful. DEPENDENCE ON TECHNOLOGICAL RESOURCES Dependence on technological resources refers to the degree that innovations require the use of technological resources beyond the control of the teacher. The projects we analyzed varied widely in the degree to which the

(onditi's /OI (CaAss1

lln 7


In iov'nUtions 501)

teacher had contr-ol over the resotr-ces and the degree to which the technologv was centr-al to the project. Innovations where the essence of the project requiried significant amiounts of' techniology bevond the innovators immediate control were considleredl highly (lependlei t.

The most sticcessftil projects tenciled to be less dlependleit. For instalice. both Jeff anid Pauil had highi levels ofsuiccess and higih levels of'contr-ol oxer the needecl techinological resouir-ces. They both had Internet-capable coIllputers. softwvare, and a few other- techinologies in their- own room. FuLrthier

Jeff was the technolog\ person for his school, and he had contr-ol over any resotir-ces he needed:


was able to make surte

[B]ecatise of the role I play in the school, antI the assets that I have a\ailable, I foresaw that I wanted to he able to contr-ol that particular aspect [the techinologv] anid madce suire-as Ilmuich as I cotild-that that wouldn't be problemi. Other- innovations, suci as Anine's, ktth\'s. and Heather's, also requiired Internet-capable comflpLIters With particula r software packages bUt hal to rely on computter- labs where they had less contr-ol of' the resoui-ces. For Kathy. this proved not to be a plroblemI. l3tit Anne foundl that availability of the lab was limited. andl as a result she didinl't have time to complete all of' her- project goals. Heathel- ran into the biggest problem. Althouigil herprotect requiried Mlacintoshi computers. the dlistr-ict decided to putrchlase only comptiters that run on the Windows platform. Because she did not have contrlol over this cecisi( ).

the succcss ()f her proje't was impossible.

Henrv's innovation is an examilple of' project that wvas depilndent on a larger group of techniologies. First of' all, it was dependent on a set of compluters with a wide variety of software packages. on a niuilmber- of network servers. and onl a local server, all of whichi he conltr-olled(. However, it was also depen(lenit on (listr-ict servers. Hlis project rant inito ploblenms with the olistr-ict servers (for imor-e (letails. see the sections on1 the humlllani and

techniological infrastructure that follow). Upon reflection. Ierirv (lecicledl he shotild have andc coulcl have been less dependent on teclmologv beyond his contiol. He commen tedl, I needed to create a system that's totally in dependent, non-depenident uipoIn anything else... I relied too InlUchi onl what was inl place last vear. thinikinig it would remilain, ancl stay consisteit. Anid I shoul(idn't have macde myself dependent. I shlotildl have controlled the assets that I needed .. oti neeCi to be in conltr-ol of the assets ... and I wasn't. I let othier- people take contr-ol of' it. Andl lookinig back on it now, I shotild have gone to GeoCities [a comimiercial f'ree Web-hosting serviceauthors]. got a site, hostedl it on the ceoCities site. I would have been indepenidenit of the school.


Teachers College Record

Susan's innovation also required a wide variety of technologies. As mentioned before, most of these technologies were delayed in being obtained, and some were never available. Susan's project experienced a little success only because the essence of the project didn't require technology. The essence of the project was studying and doing composting, whereas the technology merely provided additional tools for studying the composting process. Hence, even though her project involved a variety of technologies, it was not highly dependent on them for the success of the project. In contrast, Willa's innovation could not be completed in any form without the technologies. Hence, when she didn't get the needed computers, she was unable to accomplish her most basic goals. Overall, the more successful innovations had a lower degree of distance, dependence, or both, whereas the less successful innovations had a higher degree of distance, dependence, or both. The relationship between success and either distance or dependence is not always direct and involves complex interactions between various aspects of distance and dependence. In particular, the success of an innovation is mediated by the interaction between its dependence on others and its distance from both the school culture and existing practice. In addition, success appears to be mediated by the interaction between an innovation's distance from existing technological resources and it's dependence on technological resources. Furthermore, the characteristics of innovations (distance and dependence) interact with those of the innovator (pedagogy, technology proficiency, and social awareness) and with contextual factors, which we now turn to in the following section. THE CONTEXT The third domain that we found to have a strong mediating effect on the success of technological innovations is the context in which the innovations take place. We identified three aspects of the school context that were of central importance to the success or failure of an innovation: 1) the human infrastructure, 2) the technological infrastructure, and 3) social support. HUMAN INFRASTRUCTURE We use the term human infrastructurehere to mean the organizational arrangement to support technology integration in the classroom. A healthy human infrastructure would include a flexible and responsive technical staff, a knowledgeable and communicative group of "translators," or people who can who can help the teacher understand and use technologies for his or her own classroom needs and a supportive and informed administrative staff. A healthy human infrastructure would also include institutionalized

(Ci,,ditio,n /m C am(Jown fec/I UO'1'rh'i Il n ovations


policies and procedurijes related to technologv issues, suci as hardware and software purchases. profetssionial development, and studenit access to computer-s and the Inter-net. Even mor-e thani other- innovations. techincology innovations require institutional support becatise the resotiuces and kinoslecige required for usinig any moderin compptitinig technology often lie beyond an inclivi(lual 's imimlediate reach. For example haxinig sttidents exchanige e-mails with each other in the classroom, a simple and comimilloIn activity, reqtlires compuiters heing installed, electric otitlets wired or rewired, network coninectionis estahlished, sttident e-mail accounits (wsh ich often require (listrict perimlission. parental agreemiieIit. and the establishment of acceptahle tise policies). A teacher caninot accomplishi any of these actions or gain access to resoLurces uliess she or he inter-acts with the adminiistr-ation and a wvide ranige of suIpport personinel. It is also vern commoni thit teachers need to access Wteb sites that are filtered out by the district server or pur-chiase ancl install software that is not available on the clistrict server. To act on teachers' riequests, a clistrict needs to have a very responsive and( easy communication channliel. Most teachers in our studx cotild Ihave benefitecl fromil a stroniger human infrastrtucture. They often required the presence of people who cotild assist them with the finanicial aspects of their grants, the purchlase of new mater-ials and tech nology, the mainltenianice of techinologies, and the use of the technologies. Wlheni an adeqtiate hutimilan infr-astructiure is in 1l1ace, it largely goes unliloticec. In ouir research, it only became salienit when the innovators ran into problemis. However, one aspect of the humnan infrastirictuire did stand out even in innovations that didin't experience probleils. This aspect is the presenice of what wve call a translator, a personi who can help the teacher understand and Lise techinologies for his or her own classr-oomii nee(s. Henrv's case demilonistiates the hindr(ainiices and( deep frlstratiolis that can arise whell the hutallill infrastr-lIctUre is problematic. Henrvs project wsas quite dependlenit on a variety of technological resources, some of' which were operated at a dlistrict level andl required a human inf rastructure at the district level that would he supportive of his project. Unfortunately, he found that the hulmilani infr-astl-ucttle was faultv in two aireas: commtunica-

tion and trist. This seriously hindered the plroject eventually catising Henry to abandon the attempted ininovattion. To understand Henny's prohlems, one first need(s to unider-stiandc the existing techinologicial context. Henrv worked in a nmiltimilediia lab at a high schlool with computers conilected to a server thl-ough the local clistrict, which was connectedl througTh anl interirediate school (listrict fISD), which in turini was coninectecl through a consortitiuim of ISDs in coniiunictioin with a local utniversitv. An obvious problem w-ith this arranligemlielit, Henrv discovered. was that diffictilties with a server at any of the levels impinigecd on his computer use. During the semester that Henriy was initiatilig his innova-


Teachers College Record

tion, the district and ISD servers were being upgraded. As result, the servers would be down, sometimes for a day or weeks, and Henry's students were prevented from using the computers to participate in the project. Although the work being done on the servers was a serious obstacle, the greatest hindrance to a successful program for Henry was the lack of communication about the situation. According to Henry, nobody ever communicated what work was going to be done, when it would occur, and how the work would affect his computers and class. He commented at one point, "I understand things need to be done, but you need to communicate with people what's going on." At another interview he explained his frustration, "they make these changes and don't tell people it's coming so I can prepare for it.... Nobody bothered to say to anyone this is what we're gonna do, this is what you should do to prevent any problems. I don't even think they were aware of what the problem was." To further add to his frustrations, Henry didn't know whom to talk to because he wasn't informed about who was in charge. He commented, "I know we have a director of technology but, I don't think he's making the decisions per se. Maybe he is. I don't know. We've never been, the whole time we've been doing all this stuff, staff has never been briefed on what the plan is." As a result of the poor communication channels, Henry began to feel that he was not imnportant and not trusted by the leadership in the district and human infrastructure. This feeling boiled over when access to the district Web server was cut off. The district wanted to limit access to the server and to control the material posted to the district Web site. Henry was not given access to the district server, which he interpreted as a sign of distrust. A veteran, Henry uses the military as a comparison in his comments: In the military, the bosses said this is what we want done. Yoti're gonna do it. Now how you're gonna do it, that's up to you.... you do it the way you think it needs to be done. It maybe will not be the way I chose to do it. But that's part of being a leader is saying I'm gonna let you do the job, taking a risk. But I think that's a big problem we have in education is leadership isn't leadership. It's administration. And there's a big difference between leadership and administration. I'm tired of being administered. I'd like to be led for a change. As a result of this experience, Henry became disenchanted with his project and even withdrew from his work in the multimedia lab. Rather, he planned to go back to teaching social studies full-time, where he would incorporate some technology into his teaching there. Interestingly, upon reflecting on the project, Henry did not identify the solution to his problems as improvement of the human infrastructure. Rather, his proposed solution for the future was to make himself independent of the human

(:o,,,diti,,,, /,,

( imo o

7, ch ohotr Innioi'aliotin lee/i


infrastructure. In essence. Heiw-V's solItion was to reduce the (lepenlenice of his innovation on otilels.


All of the ininovationis reqUilrCdl some type of technological inf'rastruIctuIre. Overall, we f'otinnd that most of the techniological infrastructures Were inacl-

equate. especially in cases where muchi of' it neecled to he ptit in place (i.e., in novations dlistan t f'romil existing tecihinological resotirces). For instanice, Frances's innovation reqluired freqtuenit access to the computer lab, but

becmtise of poptilar demiaindl of the lab, hel

opportunities to use it were

somewhat limite(l. Paul felt that the techniologies were overly contiolledl bv administrators and that h1e cotildln't uise them as f'reely as he needlel.

Sisan's case illustrates the problems of isstiiinig that planis for- a technrolov- infrastructure woulld be put into place. To he ftilly sticcessful, her

project reqtiiredl a set of computers. w\ith Inteirnet access, in the room. These computers were suppposedl to be installel and lInterinet-readv at the beginning of' the school vear. However, the computers she nee(ledi cdidIn't arrli\ve uintil December. Tlhen1 onl 3 computers arrived instead of-the expectedl 15. The rest of' the computers (liin't arrive uintil spring, anci nonie of the compuiters were ever coninectecd to the Interinet because the school was still

writing tip an acceptable tise policy. Monica and Shawn hadl similar probleins. The\ also needed an Internet-r-eacdI compuIteCr aIdI were promilisedl that one would be installed ait tile beginning of' the \car. However, there

was a chanige in adminiistr-ationi. and they were not able to get a comptiter initil the encd of' the yeNar.

Delayed installation of' comiptiter-s cauisedc other dIelays as well. For instanice, Stisan cotild't order software becatise the software comniittee at the school dinin't want to order software uintil the computers arrived, even thoutgh SLisanl had a f'cew oldler computers on which she cotildl have tised the programis. As a restilt Stisiai1 had to alter certain aspects of' her- project. A breakdown in onle aspect of the technological infi-astructtire often hacd

ramlificationis across several aspects of' a prooject. SO(CIAL SU'PPORT Anohlier importan t factor in the suiccessful implemen tation of' was the (legr-ce to which pe(ers stipportecd or dliscotiu-rage(d the Examples of suppo-rt were (lemonistr-atedl in the cases of Anile Anine workedl with a team of' teachel-s who were excitedl abotit

in novations innovators. and Henry. tisinig tech-

nology in teaching. One of' these teachers, who endlecd til) (loing the project

with Anie. commien ted.


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We are using a lot [of technology] ... We're kinda going with what Anne did put down for the grant. And I'm just gladly following it because I love it.... We enjoy it, I like it.... We both enjoy working with technology and so it's really fun.... it's really fun to work with somebody that wants to, to move onward and upward and be on the cutting edge, if we could be. Anne also commented that the project was much easier to do because of the technology orientation of her team. She comments, I just think it was just so easy here because [Sheri's] right into it. [Dorothy's] inlto it. You know, we pulled, kind of pushed, nuldged [Bart] into it and you know, like I said, [Meg] is starting to so within our team, our team is, I would say, is probably the most ... technology oriented, literate. The team was also highly collaborative and stipportive. One of the other teachers explained that the group of teachers who comprise this team even collaborated together last year, when they were at different schools. All of this support further helped Anne to achieve as much as she could, despite the other difficulties she had. In contrast, the teachers at Boyleston also had an innovation dependent on others, but they did not receive much support firom their peers. Part of their innovation involved conducting in-services for other teachers. Unfortunately the other teachers were not too enthused about participating in the workshops. Initially, a significant group of teachers (about 11) attended the workshops, but this group quickly dropped down to a group of 5. Two of these five teachers later dropped out, and only three teachers ultimately stayed with the program. The innovators at Boyleston were disappointed and frustrated by this lack of participation, and one of them commented at the end of the project, "The biggest problem was lack of staff enthusiasm. This is something I hadn't really counted on, but should have foreseen." Another Boyleston teacher stated, "We didn't get as much participation as we wanted." Overall, it appears that adeqtiate infrastructures for technology innovation do not seem to be in place yet. In most cases, critical human or technological resources did not exist or did not function as they should have. One of the key results we found is that the teachers often distrust administrators when it comes to technology issues. Promises for the purchase or installation of technology were often broken or delayed. In addition, there was often a lack of communication between administrators and teachers with regard to technology. This was most evident in Henry's case, btit other teachers had similar experiences and feelings. For instance, Susan expressed her frustrations about never being told what was going on with

(oniditioms for (lChmwoo,n




the comptiters the school was expecting: "I am the district cur-ricultinu coorcdiniator- for technology K-12, but I have to find out things accidentally or sceek and find because I really am n0t supposed to know anvtiilg because I amn a teacher- and not administrator." Finally, social SuppOIt seems to be most important for innovations that are highly dependenit on1 others. Furtlher, the level of support a particular inniovationi receives is likely the result of an interactioni betwveen the innovator- and social context. For instance, an ininovator wvho is a respected leader, sticih as Henry, can often garner more stippoirt from peers. An evaluation of the context ancl the clegree to which it provides technical and hulimani suppor-t is essential to the implemenitation of technology in the classroom.

THE REL\TIONSHIPS ANMONG INNOV\TION, INNOVATOR, AND THE CONTEXT ThtIs far we have discussed the thl-ee (lomilainis and their- associatecl factors needled for successful classroom technology integration. Altlhough wve have clescribed each doomaini separately, the interactive relationships among these domainis ancl the factors within the domainis are particularly important. >e now turin to the relationships among these factors. The discussioni of the inter-actionis will be presenited at two levels. First, we examine the relationships amiong the thl-ee domains: innovator, innovation, andl context. We then take this analysis one level deeper into the specific interactionis among the various factors within and across the domains.

INTERACTIONS ANIONG THE DOMAINS Al.though we identified three domains that contribhIte significantly to the success of classroom technology integration, the contr-ibtitioni of each domain was not eqtial. Factors associatedl wvith the innovator, the teachel- in our study, appeared to play a more significanit role than the other domliains. That is. when the teacher- was strong, the projects seemed to have a better chanice to stIcceed, even with innovations that exhibited a high degree of distance andc dependenice and less-than-stipportive contexts, although the latter two apparently limitecl the degrec of success in some cases. For a teaciher- like Jeff. wvho was technologically proficienit, tised technologp that was coonsistenit with his pe(lagogical approachi. had a fairly high status in the school and district, andl was sociallv savvy%, the context did not seem to be an instir-milotuiitable barrier. On the other hand, a teacher like \'illa, who was not very stronlg in termis of technology proficiency, pedagogy-technology comp)atibility, and social awvareniess, couldl not accomplish much in the face


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of a project that is distant from her existing practices and resources within a context that did not have strong human and technology infrastructures. However we should not underestimate the effect of the factors associated with innovations. We found that the qualities of projects significantly influence the possibilities of success. Even a very competent innovator may struggle if the project is quite distant from and dependent on the existing school culture, practice, and technological resources. For instance, Susan was quite strong in some of the qualities. She had a very well-developed pedagogical belief (importance of an integrated, project-based curriculum) and a project that fit closely with this belief. She was also quite technologically proficient. In addition, she was experienced at trying out innovative projects, and, although she seemed to lack some social awareness in regard to the teachers on her team, she was well respected by these teachers and viewed as a leader. However, the project was so distant from the existing practice and school culture that these teachers struggled to support the project, and Susan struggled to implement it. The distance from the existing technological resources contributed to the problems. Although the context may not solely determine the degree of success of classroom innovations, it can definitely impact how far teachers can push the innovation. In an environment where there is good technical and human support, projects that are more innovative and distant from the school culture and resources can still be successful. A strong context can also compensate, to some extent, for teacher weaknesses: With good support and easy access, even teachers who are not pedagogically, technically, or socially strong can carry out classroom technology innovations. For example, Anne did not have a strong technology background and did not have much experience as an innovator (technologically or otherwise). However, she was part of a very supportive peer culture and had the assistance of a very supportive technology person in the computer lab. These people seemed to contribute greatly to Anne' success. Likewise, the presence of a translator compensated for Paul's lack of technical knowledge and experience. INTERACTIONS WITHIN THE DOMAINS

Moving one level deeper, we found more intricate interactions among the different factors within each of the three domains. We use the interactive relationships among the factors of the innovation domain as an example (see Table 2). One of the most obvious patterns in Table 2 is that all of the innovations that fall in the low-low quadrant are among the most successful, and all of the least successful innovations fall in the high-high quadrant. This pattern can be understood by looking at how distance and dependence are related in this interaction.

(COwdulitimsss /wt (Czssl-onm 1i ,dmologIL}yI



Table 2. Degrees of success and dependence of innovation t)Delldence onl Others


Distaice tfromil school ctltui-e and existilig practice



Su stn Monirn& ShN',11

lKathv Bnyloestlm?

WVillit Hecu her



l-l(lt'-ridrinled Cases hiad a higih u1- \(c.-\ hsighI lccl of' Stic(ess. Italic (ases hial a 1low le('l ot stIccess (1r 1io SucCess.

Innovations low in clistance anic (lepenidenice

are logically thle simplest

and easiest to im)plemilenit-henice. the reason f'or thieir highi level of success. But as clistance and dlependlence begin to increase, potential obstacles to success arise. If' the (listance ancl dependcence increase asymmetrically (i.e.. onie increases lbut the other- dtoes not), theni these obstacles can perhaps le overcome to somite extent. For instaice. Kathyv's innovation was highilx listant fromil the existing school culture. It was based on hel- postmodern beliefs abotit the noniniiiear nattiu-e of' leariiiig, andic her project involved having sttidents develop hypertext. Other-s in the school clicl not shiare her beliefs. However. hel- plroect never caie into significant contact with the schiool culture. The project only involved her studcents, and it didn't affect other teacher-s or administrators. As a result, distance from school culture was not really an issuLe. Henry's innovation repr-esenits a complementary example. His pro-ject had a fairly higih level of'dependence in that it required the participationi and cooperation of other teachers. However, as explained earlier,l his pro-ject did not requiri-e these teachler-s to dlo somethlinig radically new: it clidn't requir-e themil to do somiethlinig that was highly distalit fr-om their- existing plractice and cultuire. As a result, he wias able to garner- theircoopelration and achieve a moderate level of' success on the prioject. By the end of' the -ear, the teachel-s Henry worked with were very active in the project and looked forward to contininitig it the next vear. Susan's case provides an interestinig contr-ast to both Kathy's an(d Henry's cases. LI.ike Kathv's project, Stusani's project was distant fromil the existing school culture. However. unilike Kiathy's. Susain's project was (lependlenit on

other teacher-s who wsere part of that cultture. Moreover, Sttsan's pIroject reqtir-ed that these teachers fundamentally tranisfbor-n

their- practice. Nlon-

ica and Shawn's case was similar- to Stisall's. Again, lookinig at Table 3. wve can see that the most successftil innovations were low in termiis of their- dlistance fr-om, andcl dependence on, tech-


Teachers College Record

Table 3. Degrees of success and dependence on technology Dependence on Tech.

Distance from existing tech.




Willa Heather

Susan Shawn & Monica


Henry Boyleston

Jeff Kathy

Paul Anne Note: Underlined cases had a high or very high level of success. Italic cases had a low level of success or no success.

nological resources. For the most part, these innovations did not encounter any obstacles related to technology. But as the distance and dependence began to increase, more obstacles arose. Once more, these problems were overcome to some degree as the distance and dependence increased asymmetrically. For instance, both Susan's and Monica and Shawn's innovations had a high level of distance from existing technological resources. However, in both cases, the essence of the project was not highly dependent on these technologies. Thus, when the needed technologies were delayed or not obtained, the projects could be completed in a less technological form than if they hadn't encountered other problems. Henry's case again provides a complementary example. His project was highly dependent on a number of technological resources, but most of these already in place. Henry didn't encounter any technological problems until the district started doing work on the servers. As explained above, this caused Henry a number of headaches and led to delays in the project. His case demonstrates that distance is not a stable characteristic. Technological resources that are already installed and working are not necessarily going to stay that way. Willa's case provides a contrast to Susan's, Monica and Shawn's, and Henry's. Her project not only was highly distant from the existing resources, but it was also highly dependent on those resources. As a result, when she was unable to obtain the needed technologies, she was unable to do the project at all.

CONCLUSIONS By carefully studying teachers' experiences with using technology to support teaching in ordinary schools throughout a school year, we were able to develop a fairly good understanding of the conditions under which tech-

(:C iiditions Jo? (Clm.sroom l4'inioli)p Ih1ov07'a/ions

5 11

nologp integr-ation can happen. The condlitionis intclude factors located in three domains: the teacher-, the project, anid the context. In this finall section. ve recap the findinigs and discuss their- implications for researci and practice.

TEACHERS AND TE(CHNOLOGY: ISSUES OF PROFESSIONAL. DEVELOPMENT To integrate technologv in teacliiig, teacher-s need to kinow%the affordlanices and constraints of various techniologies and how specific techniologies might support their own teachlinig practices and curricular goals. They also need to know how to use the techinologies. Moreover, teachel-s nee(I to be aware of the enabling conditionis of the technolopy they plan to uIse-What coIntextual factors make it work. Furthermore, teacher-s needl to realize that technology integrationi reqtuires suppor-t fromil others. even people with whom thev have not interacted traditionally (e.g.. technicians or technolopy coordinators). The finidinigs fromil this study poinlt otit seriouis problemils sith the cul-relit efforts to prepare teachers to use techniology. 'Most of the currelit efforts take a verv narrow view of what teachel-s nee(l to uise technology-somne techinical skills and a good attittide. Many in-service workshops often take the formiat of motivational speeches by a forward-looking visionary plus sessions on how to use a piece of software. Few- pay imutich attentioni to the pedagogical or cur-rictilar- coninectioni (Education Week. 1998). Even fewer attempt to help teacher-s clevelop their- knowledge of the social anic organizational aspects of the school. Teachers needi to look carefully, not only within themselves but also at their techinological and social environments before they begin to implement innovative uises of technology in theil- owvn classrooms and teaching. What follows naturally as a suggestioin is to expand the view of what teachers need to effectivelv initegr-ate tech nologv. The nationial movement toward developing technology standards for teachers (Handler & Struciler, 1997: Inter-niationial Societv for Technologv in Education. 2000; National Couicil for Accreditationi of Teacher- Education, 1997) has gener-atedl many technology standar-ds for teachers (U.S. Congress Office of Technology .Assessment, 1995; Zhao & Kancdall, 2001), most of which focus on the techinical aspect of educationial techinology. In light of the findlings fromli this study, wve suggest technology standards he expanded to iliclude the social and pedagogical contexts and implications of techriolopg. We also encour-age teacher- edlucation inistittitionis anci othel teacher professional development progr-amils to broadleni their- views of the kindl of preparation anid stippoI-t preservice and in-service teachiers neecd to thoughtfully and effectively integrate technology in their teachinig. Teachl CeduCation pro-


7eachers College Record

grams that direct individuals to reflect on their own beliefs about teaching and technology, as well as to consider the real-world limits that exist in today's classrooms, may be working in this direction. REVOLUTION OR EVOLUTION: ISUES OF CLASSROOM TECHNOLOGY It is popular to talk about the "technology revolution." It might be attractive to think that teachers should engage in innovations that make dramatic changes in existing practices andl school culture. Additionally, one might assume that the innovations that include a wide range of people and resources within the school would be the most likely to have the greatest impact on other teachers and the school culture. However, this research found these ideas to be unreliable. Innovations that were the most distant from the teachers' existing practices and school culture were less likely to succeed, as were those innovations that were more dependent on other people and resources. For instance, some innovations that were highly self-contained (i.e., low on dependence on others) still had a significant impact on other teachers. Also, in some cases the impact of a self-contained innovation on others was greater than the impact on others of an innovation designed to influence others. For example, Anne's innovation was designed to be selfcontained, but it had a large influence on other teachers. They saw what she was doing and wanted to get involved. In fact, so many other teachers have become interested that now Anne's opportunity to use the computer lab has become seriously restricted. Given these findings, we argue that teachers should take an evolutionary rather than a revolutionary approach to change. It is likely that teachers will experience more success and less frustration if they take small, but progressive steps toward change. Moreover, they are likely to benefit from carefully balancing distance and dependence so that the two dimensions might compensate for each other. ACCESS OR EASY ACCESS: ISSUES OF SUPPORT AND TECHNOLOGY The study found that a supportive school environment is important for successful technology integration. Teachers need access to a healthy human infrastructure and a functional and convenient technical infrastructure. Although in recent years there is great progress in bringing computers and networks to schools, we found that in many schools teachers did not have easy access to either of the two infrastructures. There are major differences between access and easy access. For example, in a school where computers are housed in labs, teachers can be said to have access to computers, but

s for (/lassro om 'll'ch ulogi{ In ssov'ation s



thev may iiot have easv access to themii-if thev have to schedlitle lab time far in advance. compete with othlier teachers, or spend significant time trotuble shiooting. Similarly, a teacher can he said to have access to the Inter-niet. But that access is byi no means easy if the teacher has oniv one computel coninected to the Initerinet andl the (listrict technolopg professionial colitrols w-hat contenit and(l ftinctionis the teacher can access. AI ndr 'I,TpIs//; ' t,

,Mark Fnifield. HIaojings (,Cheng. Su//lia /OIn, Richard 'rl-rig, Kenl let/Frank,

,,,ii MI,,ark (U,41ins an well, picuit ol tie

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rti rlh lben efiteddir li'ctit firom tlheir

coltri/tiiltiois in t/se folrnis o data anii cdideas,. It, it/liaisk Rl?l/s (Gay-pme,l; Punii il/ishrci, Barlblra MaIkie. (C/iristpioher ('lark. (id1 Anna li(i Numiai i fJu-1/fic feedbaek oi flithcesigii (incd bimplemenlIitioin f t/e Stil(cI a0siiell (Is /the wr'itc u/p of i/ is itiicrle. On r th/sik go lo Sheri Rop for her 'apable edli'torial is istaillr andci




iii t1/

tohe ic-tirle.

ii'i'/ siono


aut/hor izon/ll ailso like, to t/siaik thelie ree cuosnstmsinios revii'iei ers flut th/ii'r inisightlul (clliments. 7'h'/e esea ri/i reported in t/sis susdcl i was sup/plorted b!i a 7rait fi-oiiui /is'h b /s igai 'irtlt I 'isvw rsit 1to 1/se Co/le(s' of Edsiccutioni, Mlie/shigan Stcite I isi 'lrs itt. I/sc cpiinio n.s expr/i-essed in t/is citiclre / init necesscir il reflect 1/suse of 1/te fisisnling aigensric or t1/i Collieg of EFduraietion.

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(Clifornusis. Ils'ilss. Becke-r IH l .. & Ra\itz.j..19991 . lic influicn(e If (olnipieter iand Inlt(rnict uss oli tacihers' pedt'agOgical plsacs i(CS asnsd perc'cptpilnIis. fmi sal off o/Ri'sl''tih r 11 (weiCoiipilinug ill cin/llatii,l . 3/54). 356 -384. Bet-rieis-. 1). (.. S' (Cstee. R. ( 5Edl. 1. . (1i996. l1(il,ind,,/k of'lsed iiil,al /''Hi/o'i' Ness- Yosrk: IaCNMillni.

Br'onisle\. H. (199.Ss Itirolducionl: Datia-ds'cis l (si/sIo lcIac\ Socail asssesse Comsputig I'n 1B1 Blule\ & M. App\le (d(aId i/jioatisi. 'hesinolsogs. /mv''

sssnlt of (Aiirational (r p. 1- 28). Albamis-.

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7eachers College Record

Collins, A. (1996). Whither technology and schools? Collected thoughts on the last and next quarter centuries. In C. Fisher, D. C. Dwyer, & K. Yocam (Eds.), Education and technology: Reflections on computing in classrooms (pp. 51-66). San Anneco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Cuban, L. (1986). 'Thachers and machines: The classroom uses of technology since 1920. New York: Teachers College Press. Cuban, L. (1999, August 4, 1999). The technology puzzle: Why is greater access not translating into better classroom use? Education Week, 68, 47. Dwyer, D. C., Ringstaff, C., & Sandholtz,J. (1991). Change in teachers' beliefs and practices in technology-rich classrooms. Educational Leadership(May), 45-52. Education Week. (1998). 7echnology counts '98: Put school technology to test (Special Report). Washington DC: Education Week. Edtucation Week. (1999). Technology counts '99: Building the digital curriculum (Special Report). Washiingtoni DC: Education Week. Fisher, C., Dwyer, D. C., & Yocam, K. (Eds.). (1996). Education and technology: Reflections on computing in classrooms. San Anneco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Fullan, M. (1991). The new meaning of educational change. New York: Teachers College Press. Handler, M. G., & Strudler, N. (1997). The ISTE foundation standards: Issues of implementation. Journal of Computing in Teacher Education, 13(2), 16-23. Harris,J. B., & Grangenett. (1999). Correlates with use of telecomputing tools: K-12 teachers' beliefs and demographics. Journal of Research on Computing in Education, 31(4), 327-340. Hodas, S. (1993). Technology refusal and7 the organizational culture of schools. Educational Policy Analysis Archives, ](10). Honey, M., McMillan, K., & Carrigg, F. (1999,July 12, 13). Perspectives on technology and education research: Lessons from the past and present. Paper presented at the [US Education] Secretary's Conference on Educational Technology-1999: Evaluating the Effectiveness of Technology, W7ashington DC. Honey, M., & Moeller, B. (1990). Teacher's beliefs and technology integration: Different values, different understandings(Technical Report 6). New York: Center for Children and Technology. HtLiberman, M. (1983). The role of teacher education in the improvement of educational practice: A linkage model. European Journal of T*acher Education, 6(1), 17-29. International Society for Technology in Education. (2000). National educational technology standards for teachers. Etigene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education. Kent, T. W., & McNergney, R. F. (1999). Will technology really change education? From blackboard to W'Veb. ThouLsand Oaks, CA: C.orwin Press. Loveless, T. (1996). Why aren't computers used more in schools? Educational Policy, 10(4), 448-467. Means, B. (1994). Introdtuction: Using technology to advance educational goals. In B. Means (Ed.), Technology and edu(ation reform (pp. 1-2 1). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. National Council for Accreditatioi of Teacher EduLcation. (1997). 7echnology and the newv professional teacher: Preparingforthe 21st century classroom. Washington DC: National Council for Accreditationi of Teacher Edtication. Retrieved from TECH.HTM Norris, C., Smolka, J., & Soloway, E. (1999, July 12, 13). Convergent analysis: A method for extracting the value from research studies on technology in education. Paper presented at the [US Education] Secretary's Conference on Educationial Technology-1999: Evaluating the Effectiveniess of Technology, Washinigton, DC Peterson, P. L., & Walberg, H. 1. (Eds.). (1979). Research on teaching: Concepts, findings, and implications. Berkeley, CA: McCutchan. President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology (Panel on Educational Technology). (1997). Report to the President on the use of technology to strengthen K-12 education in the U'nited States. Washington, DC: Presidenit's Committee of Advisoirs on Science and Technology.

(ondihoion for Clas.sroopn 7l'chnolqgy Innovaltins


Riclharidsoni. V. (Ed.). Iin pressl. flandbook of research oni teaching (4th ed.). Washington DC: American Educational Rese.arch Asssociatio n. Str-auiss. A. 1... & Corhin, J.-N. 1199(0). Basics of qlualitative research.: Gronnoded theo,N procecldures and ie(liniques. Newbur% Park. CA: Sage. 1-v,ack. D. B.. & Cuban. L. 1995). Tinkering toward utopla: A ce,stury of Ipuiblic school sefoarn. Cambridge. MA: Harvard l niversitv Press. tL.S Congress Office of Technlohsgv Assessment. (199c5. 7iachers and technologs: .M1akisng ille yionnection (OTA-EHR-6i16). Washington D)C: Office of Techiicologv Assessmenit. Wiotrock, M. C. (Ed.). ( 1986). Hanidbook of researchs on leachinig )3rd eel.). Ne% Ysork: Macmillan. Zhao. Y. Bvers. 1. L.. Mishra. P.. Tspper. A., Cheng. H. J. Enfield. N.. Pugh. K.. Tan, S., Ferdig. R. 12001). What do the- knos: A comprehensive posrtratit of exeml)larv technology tising teachers. Joip-1ial of Compuinhog in Teacher Edugcations. 17)2). 24-36. Zhao. V. & C7iko. G. A. (in press). Teacher arloption1of technolog: A perceptuial control Theor% per-spective. Jotutrnal of 7erhnolog and 7eacher Edutcationi. Zhao. Y & Kiendall. C. (2001). Technolog- requir-ements for teachers: Issues of validity, reliability, and feasibility. In Y Zhao (chair) Wlhat 7eachers Should Krnow( aiboult 71chnologv: Perspec.hives and Practices. Symnposiumn conducte(i at the annual meetinig of American Erlticational Resear-chlAssociation. Seattle, Washington. April 10-16. V'ONG ZHAO is associate professor- of Technology in

Education and Edu-

cational Psvchology at the College of Education, Mlichigan State University. His research interests

inclucle technology infusioni in educational settings

and the social political implications of the Internet. KEN-IN


is an assistant

professor at the

University of Toledo.


additioni to technologv, his research inter-ests include motivation, science

edticationi. and Dewey's philosophy of educationi (particularly his aesthetics). Recent publicationis include "Lear-ning Science: A Dewevan Perspective" in Tle Journal of Researcht in Science 7eachtintg, Volume 38, with coauthors K. J. PuLgh and the Dewevan Ideas Group at Michigan State University. STEPHEN SHELDON is ctUrrently working as a research scientist at The Center for School, Family, and Communitv Partner-slhips, located atJohns Hopkins University. His research interests incltide unlder-standinig why parents choose to become involved in their childreni's eduication, particularly howv parenits' social networks ftinctioni as a resource related to their involvement. In addition. he is stttdving the development of' school programs for school, family, and community partnerslhips and their- impact on student otilcomes.

JOE L. BYtERS is professor emeritus at Mlichigani State University. His research inter-ests include the quantitative analysis of data relatinig the impact of technology on sttudents, teachers, the cur-rictilum, and schools.


TITLE: Conditions for classroom technology innovations SOURCE: Teachers College Record 104 no3 Ap 2002 WN: 0209100447004 The magazine publisher is the copyright holder of this article and it is reproduced with permission. Further reproduction of this article in violation of the copyright is prohibited..

Copyright 1982-2002 The H.W. Wilson Company.

All rights reserved.


Conditions for Classroom Technology Innovations

Conditions for Classroom Technology Innovations YONG ZHAO Michigan State University KEVIN PUGH University of Toledo STEPHEN SHELDON Johns Hopkins Un...

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