May 28, 2016 by Dr. Robbie Barber
At the start of the school year, half of the rooms in the building received brand new Epson Interactive Projectors. The boards could be written on with markers or with your finger. It could use a laptop or work without. And, teachers were well immersed in the use of LCD projectors, so this was familiar and yet a big step up.
The county technology trainer made up a 20 minute online course to show teachers how to use the features of the board. I made up slips of paper with the instructions of getting to the course. I handed them individually to the teachers with the new boards. No, I didn’t put the slips in their mailboxes. No, I didn’t leave them on their desks. I put them in their individual hands and verbally told them how long it would take, how you could do it at home, and how you could do the course over multiple days.
According to the Innovation Diffusion Theory (IDT), I was working on Stage 1 of introducing a new technology to teachers (Straub, 2009). What constitutes introduction? The response was negligible. Teachers appreciate getting the new technology, but once they hooked it to their laptop, they had a really cool, new LCD projector. And not much more. Apparently, introducing a new technology will take a little more than personally touching the teachers with slips of papers.
Next, I held in person mini-classes (no more than 15 min.) with the idea of introducing the teachers to quick and easy lessons. Then I taught the Tech Club students how to use the boards. The students went out and shared with some teachers, but only if the teacher asked for help. We tried showing teachers and students using the boards in innovative ways. My Tech Club students decided to see how many hands could be on the board at a time. Then they decided to make a green screen (with green screen glasses) to record a PBIS video.
Last I invited teachers to come for the last time to try out the board. This invitation, by email, even suggested some things they may not know about the boards. A group of over 15 teachers joined me for a 15 min. session of playing with the board. And, they actually sat together talking about how they could use a feature in their classroom.
Where is the resistance to learning about the new technology? The barriers introduced here are partially organizational (admin installed without prior knowledge by teachers), personal (time, energy and effort), and some attitudinal (it works like an LCD, why learn more) (Surry & Ely, n.d.). The projectors spent most of the year being used as fancy LCD projectors. But as some teachers started experimenting, others took note and asked questions.
Everett Rogers theories talk about how the adoption of new innovations work across time (Straub, 2009). After 10 months at school, I still have teachers in May saying they may take the online course. 90 teachers could take the online course explaining the features of the interactive projector board. As of the end of May, 3 did.
Check out this Animoto: Adopting Technology: Step by Step
Straub, E. T. (2009). Understanding technology adoption: Theory and future directions for informal learning. Review of Educational Research, 79(2), 625-649. doi:10.3102/0034654308325896
Surry, D.W. & Ely, D.P. (n.d.) Chapter 11: Adoption, diffusion, implementation and institutionalization of instructional innovations.