WHY TEACHERS DON'T "HEAR" COMPUTER GAMES AND OTHER STORIES. A RECENT RESEARCH PROJECT ANSWERING THE QUESTION OF WHY SOME TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATIONS IN EDUCATION WORK AND OTHERS DON'T
University of Wolverhampton (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN09 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Conference name: 1st International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2009
Location: Barcelona ,Spain
Abstract:This paper arises from research carried out by the Centre for Development and Applied Research in Education at the University of Wolverhampton for the British Training and Development Agency (TDA) for schools. Since 2003 the TDA has offered support for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in Initial Teacher Training (ITT) through annual funding rounds open to all accredited ITT providers, with the aim of directly increasing the provision for ICT equipment and new research into ICT in teacher training. The programme was intended to promote experimentation and help to create a culture of innovation and change which the TDA felt was central to developing activity and quality in initial teacher training. This paper will show how the success or failure of projects can be explained by applying a model for implementation to the vehicle of computer gaming in education.
Our research looked at the impacts of the TDA projects on trainers, trainees and schools through case studies and on line survey. This gave rise to a model for the effective implementation of technology within teaching and learning. We identified three generic groups of factors whose interaction determined the success of any implementation. These were: the status of the technology being introduced; the ITT organisation’s capacity for innovation; and the degree of alignment between the innovation and the needs and concerns of individuals and teams in the organisation.
The status of the technology being introduced:
Recognising that the nature of the technology being introduced affected the likelihood that its implementation would be successful, and therefore its chances of achieving the desired impacts, is not a surprising or original observation. This would certainly be the case if we restricted our observations to the technical status of the technology being introduced. In this evaluation, we go on to consider the role played by the social and learning status of a technology.
Capacity for innovation:
An organisation’s capacity for innovation depends on the levels of skills and understandings of individual staff, the dispositions and norms in teams and groups, and the commitment of leaders across the organisation. During a project it was important that sufficient capacity was either present at each of these levels or could be developed during the length of the project, and that it was effectively co-ordinated across all three levels.
Aligning the needs and concerns of individuals and teams :
This group of factors appeared to have the greatest influence on whether an implementation was successful or not. Specifically, it was those factors which were key to the mobilisation of individuals and teams that appeared most important.
In each of the case studies the relative importance of these groups of factors varied considerably but each was needed, like a series of gears, to drive forward the innovation. If any of these three gears failed to mesh or was ‘under geared’ and could not exert sufficient pressure on the other two areas, then the innovation was likely to stall and not make a substantive impact.
This paper will illustrate how this model can be applied to the use of computer gaming in education but will also refer to a range of supporting evidence from other technology implementations, laptops, digital images and VLEs in the form of video extracts from case studies.
Keywords: computer gaming, education, implementation, research, innovation.