Monday, February 13, 2012

The Diffusion of Innovation

From Big Think:
Question: What do VCRs, Betamax players, condom use in Thailand, and hybrid corn seeds in Iowa have in common?

Answer: The adoption of these innovations each followed a logical, predictable framework that can be applied to (most) any innovation.

The Diffusion of Innovations theory has been used in hundreds of studies including fields such as education, social sciences, health, agriculture, anthropology, business, and economics. In short, it has been used a lot to help understand the adoption of innovations independent of time, space, and location.

School leaders often are charged with trying to get more stakeholders to adopt a given innovation quicker. For school leaders trying to implement technology-suffused change, this innovation adoption framework is especially useful. The theory describes five intrinsic innovation characteristics that impact the adoption of an innovation. These are useful when trying to understand how or why innovations are or are not adopted.

Relative Advantage. The introduction of an innovation replaces or modifies an existing practice. Innovations in classrooms often fail because teachers feel overburdened and thus most innovations are seen as "just something else to do." Thus technological innovations in schools might be introduced as something that reduces work, makes a job easier, allows a person to do their job better, expands personalization, or eases the workload. Think of this as the ‘build a better mousetrap’ principle.

Complexity. Initiating technology-based reforms usually means that a teacher needs to learn new software or incorporate a new technology into her classroom practices. Continued professional development is essential to get teachers on board. Having a one-off training day is not enough. We have seen schools successfully use students as dedicated teacher tutors, implement technology hotlines, use social networking as tech support, and include one-on-one training. This can be thought of as the ‘keep it simple’ principle....MORE
And From 2010:
Behold the S-Curve: Uptake of Various Technologies 1900-2005

I've forgotten where I grabbed this, we'll root around in the link-vault and come back.