Concerns Based Adoption

I’m working on a project where we are going to be gathering input from our teachers around the rollout of our 1:1 laptop program. I dug through some papers from my MEd program, as I had looked at the CBAM model in one of my classes. I found this paper that I wrote, and don’t think I posted it at the time, but thought I’d share it now.  It’s  discussion of a research article (PDF) on CBAM.

Teacher Concerns During Initial Implementation of a One-to-One Laptop Initiative at the Middle School Level.

This article discusses using the CBAM model to assess the concerns that teachers may have with respect to their participation in a program that provided both teachers and students with laptops in a one to one ratio.   I selected this article because it’s something that exactly mirrors a project we have in our school district right now, as we are rolling out a project that will result in all teachers getting laptops, and we are considering a CBAM approach to dealing with some of the upfront concerns that teachers will have.   In addition, this kind of approach could lead to different ideas around professional development.

The results show that teachers have widely varying concerns as was expected, and that most of those concerns were in the Self and Task levels of the model, which in my opinion was not surprising. They were mostly concerned with how the program would impact them personally in terms of the teaching, and how they would ‘manage’ the classroom with the change in technology as well as integrate it. I find this to be spot on with my personal observations about teachers and technology in the classroom. Whether its the concern over how to modify their existing planning to include tech, or personal concerns about not knowing enough about the technology they are implementing, it’s the kind of thing that slows or prevents many changes.

In terms of the use of the CBAM model in this case, it was useful to assess the various things that teachers where struggling with. But as this was an academic research article, I was left wondering if there were any actual actions taken by the administration or support staff to help support these teachers and alleviate some of their concerns. In the discussion, the author mentions implications of the research and that recommendations were made to the administration to support the teachers, but there was no mention of whether or not this happened.  They did mention that follow up studies should be undertaken to ascertain if there was a shift in the concerns that were originally identified.

The most fascinating aspect of the paper was in the conclusion where it was stated:

Prior research implies that the use of technology in some way encourages this shift toward more student-centered or constructivist classrooms. In other words, the technology causes the shift. An alternative explanation is that the introduction of a one-to-one computing initiative requires a shift toward student-centered practices.”

Isn’t that interesting? The introduction of an innovation like laptops may actual cause or require a shift in pedagogy to a more student-centered classroom.  Could that be the source of some of the resistance as well?

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Donovan, L., Hartley K., and Strudler, N.  (2007). Teacher concerns during initial implementation of a one-to-one laptop initiative at the middle school level. Journal of Research on Technology in Education. 39(3). 263-286

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