Sunday, February 14, 2010

From Innovation to Adoption of Technology

I was having lunch with @gary_kern recently and we talked about the difference between innovation for and adoption of technology in education.  Innovation involves creating something new, a method, a model, a thing while adoption is the implementation or use of a method, model, or thing.  Gary and I talked about what to call an innovation involving the educational use of technology.  Is it a model, a program, a project, or something else?  The question is, “what will help us take an innovation to full adoption within schools?”  Does it matter what we call it?  Will calling it something like “a program” help people more easily connect with and adopt it?

When talking about an innovation, we often talk about it being transformative or causing a transformation.  For example in our School District we often refer to laptops for students in a one laptop per student configuration (embedded use of technology) as transformative to their learning.  Another might be that  the use of Blogs by students are transformative to journal writing (ability to write for a global audience rather than just their teacher or parents).  Also, my post Technology Powered Learning Environments refers to our learning portal (my43) which is "designed to transform the learning and work of our School District…" In other words I would say that something is innovative or transformative when it allows people to do things that could not otherwise be done without the use of the innovation.  The resulting change would be more than incrementally different – rather it may in some ways be completely different.

Let’s say the innovation we want to promote is blended learning where learning involves some face to face teaching, some use of technology in-class / –school, and some use of technology to learn from outside of the school.  Would you pilot this approach in a few schools and classrooms?  How would you take it system-wide?  How do you, with limited funding, get an entire system to shift from primarily a paper-based face to face model of teaching and learning to one that is fundamentally digital, blended, and flexible in terms of time and space?

What process do you use to move from innovation to adoption of technology in education?  Have you ever taken an innovation system-wide to all schools, classrooms, and students?  What were the results?