Theorising Risk for Cohere


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  • -hard time convincing people (mostly my boss) of the merit of the approach – lots of resistance -part of this was that there was no ‘simple’ literature available to show him – but, that’s part of it being innovative – not everyone IS doing it
  • -blue line is the percentage of people in each group-orange line is the total percentage of people who adopt something – assuming, of course, that there’s 100% adoption ever-theory applies to many types of innovations – Rogers first studies the use of commercial fertilisers in farming in the US, but has since been shown to work for lots of things – snowmobiles in Lapland, the use of cellphones/smart phones in North America, and practices of hygiene and boiling water in South America – conceived of as a general theory of how people adopt innovations
  • -more years of education, higher incomes and net worth-socially, perceived as more important members of the community (especially for early adopters – innovators can be seen as a bit wacky, on the fringe) – better liked, more people look to them for advice, etc.-more likely to have social connections and travel outside their immediate community – can be geographic community, or interest-based community – connections outside of business, or outside of a particular field, etc.
  • -Carlson’s Adoption of Educational Innovation – an intentional test of Roger’s theory in education (K-12), tracking a variety of innovations – all effectively follow this pattern-see similar work currently based on things like IT in education-patterns of communication seem to hold - Rogers says that the more someone is “like you” the more likely they are to be able to convince you to adopt something, so people promoting innovation ought to select “sellers” who are similar to their target population -in education – faculty are more likely to convince other faculty than others to adopt something-also looks at providing culturally relevant reasons to adopt – using germ theory to convince someone to boil water when they don’t understand germ theory doesn’t work (linked to a communicator who is “like you”) – you need reasons people themselves see as important-Henderson and Dancy – show same thing in pedagogical innovation among physics faculty – a perception that non-faculty supporters of pedagogical innovation don’t really understand what’s happening, or reasons that speak to faculty
  • These are my thoughts- a thought about a way to make the theory work a little bit better in post-secondary contexts-most post-secondary faculty are at the very, very top of Roger’s original education distribution, so there’s little variation to track – may not help-potential issues with wealth – simply because of the nature of innovations – innovations happen largely at an individual classroom level, individual faculty don’t pay for them out of pocket, so looking at faculty wealth doesn’t really help-costs of innovations? Most are lower – debates and discussions instead of lectures, usages of smartphones in class doesn’t require the purchase of smartphones, since it piggybacks on technology students already have, etc.
  • -sociology tends to use wealth as a proxy for things harder to measure – social esteem, status, etc. – for most of the things we do, the “actual amount of money” doesn’t really matter
  • -important costs of innovations- time (planning, grading, implementing, etc.)-resource in scarcest supply among post-secondary faculty – I’ve never met a faculty member who tells me the ever have enough time….
  • Theorising Risk for Cohere

    1. 1.  Gamification in post-secondary classrooms › Relevant detail: different from what you’ve seen › If you want to know about it, ask me later › Experiences with talking about it  Thinking about diffusing innovations in systems  How do we convince people it’s a good idea?
    2. 2.  Evett Rogers, plotting and understanding innovation, mostly in commercial or consumer contexts
    3. 3.  Compared to the rest of their peers, innovators and early adopters are likely to be: › Better educated › Wealthier › More socially connected › More cosmopolitan
    4. 4.  General pattern of diffusion › Carlson shows this in education in the 1960s, repeated since  Patterns of communication › “someone like you” talking about it › Culturally relevant reasons for adoption  Physics faculty and beliefs about pedagogy, difficulty of education innovators
    5. 5.  Education predicting adoption › Little variation – mostly graduate education (original doesn’t distinguish between Master’s and PhD)  Wealth predicting adoption › Individuals don’t pay for educational innovations (most adopted in single classrooms) › Most of them don’t have upfront costs in the way fertilizers do
    6. 6. Sociologically, wealth isn’t just a means to an end – marker of status – we actually use it AS a proxy of status  Wealth as “resources you can afford to lose”?  › Questions of managing risk in innovations (perception of risk changes adoption) › For agriculture, seems to be that people who can’t feed their families if this fails, don’t innovate.
    7. 7.  Time ? › Biggest faculty complaints about innovation are:  Lies about how much time it takes (perceived)  Time required to modify to make it relevant to “this” class  Lack of recognition of faculty’s tacit knowledge/experience of pedagogy (culturally relevant reasons to adopt?)
    8. 8.  Distribution patterns › Wealth accumulates at the top – to the highest status members of a group › Time in post-secondary?  Looking at different understandings  Don’t throw out diffusion of innovation › Consider modifications and conceptualisations – what ARE we measuring › A way of understanding, of framing research about new practices
    9. 9.  Email me: › The paper on gamification is almost through review if you want to see that › Paper on this theoretical question is forthcoming – I’d appreciate your thoughts › I can also pass along sources/readings if you’re interested