Implementation and Institutionalization of Technology to ImproveAcademic Readiness Skills A Case Study Brett Mahan, James De Lane & Melissa Smith
Introduction• At some point in the history of any organization, it has adopted a new innovation or idea in order to improve various processes or generate more efficiency.• Subsequently the new innovation results in a detrimental cycle of unintended outcomes – growing to be ineffectual – turning out to be unused – eventually becoming abused• These negatively unplanned outcomes waste valuable resources and frustrate the very people the innovation was intended to help.• So, how does an organization attempt to prevent substandard results procured from this cycle?
• During the process of diffusion theory, a technological innovation – creates awareness – arouses interest – undergoes trial – accomplishes adoption• However, two steps transpire following the adoption of an innovation, and are essential for the enduring success of the innovation. – Implementation – Institutionalization
•After the determination to use an innovation, implementation commences through the actual utilization of that innovation into practice (i.e. teaching or instruction in a classroom).•The Association of Education and Communication Technology’s (AECT) standard says –“using instructional materials and strategies in real settings . . . to facilitate appropriate use of the innovations by individuals in the organization.” (AECT Standard, 2002, Std. 3.3).•Surry and Ely illustrate eight conditions, required from an organization, which contribute to the successful implementation of an innovation (Surry and Ely, n.d).
Surry and Ely’s 8Facilitative Conditions1. Dissatisfaction with 5. Rewards and/or the status quo incentives exist2. Knowledge and 6. Participation skills exist 7. Commitment3. Availability of 8. Leadership resources – of the executive officer4. Availability of time – within the institution or project
• Increasingly, schools are seeking to incorporate technology into their curricular programs in order to – improve the quality of learning activities for the students in order to enhance school readiness – expand the efficiency and effectiveness of the teachers in order to complete additional pertinent work• Technology also prevalent in the pre-kindergartens, preschools and other early childhood education institutions• This case study examines one such pre-kindergarten (Forever Growing) and its devotion to providing high quality academic and social learning experiences.
• The director of Forever Growing plans to coordinate with representatives from the Instructional Design Technology Department at the University of Houston Clear Lake (UHCL). – UHCL will design and develop various DVDs and internet-based learning modules for utilization by the school – UHCL will construct a school web page and establish visibility in several of the social media forums• This case study will evaluate whether the aforementioned conditions offered by Surry and Ely are present at Forever Growing and where they, if any, are lacking.• Then it will identify strategies to establish these conditions within the school.
Background of the School• Forever Growing – 1990 in Alvin, Texas by Denise West – Originally founded as an in-home daycare and after school program – Curriculum designed to integrate academic skills as well as social interactions in children ages 2-5. – Teaches academic and reading readiness through situational problem solving, phonological and phonemic awareness, and social dialogue.
• School employs five full time teachers and one part time teacher in order to split the classrooms according to developmentally appropriate age groups.• Expenditures – 40% on teacher training and salary – 30% on curriculum materials – 20% on office upkeep – 10% on miscellaneous (marketing, billing, etc.)• Mission statement: support small class sizes, teacher guidance, and the perception that the attainment of knowledge is a continuous process.
Specific Area of Interest• Forever Growing – small, privately owned preschool – total of 6 teachers on staff• Its small size can be an advantage or a disadvantage when it comes the diffusion and implementation of technological innovations.
• Once a technology has been adopted, an organization must establish a plan which includes strategies with the purpose of – ensuring that the innovation is integrated into the structure and culture of the organization – is appropriately managed by the workforce• Surry and Ely describe variables which impact the effectiveness of implementation – organizational climate – political complexity (not applicable within this case study) – demographics – attributes of the innovation itself• This case study will design a strategy focusing on the eight conditions as well as addressing the controlling variables in support for Forever Growing to achieve a successful implementation of the impending educational technology innovations.
• Institutionalization is successfully achieved when an innovation is “…routinely used in settings for which it was designed. It [the innovation] has become integral to the organization or the social system and is no longer considered to be an innovation.” (Surry & Ely, n.d.).• At this point, the innovation is considered to be institutionalized as an integrated part of the organizational structure.
• Surry and Ely also suggest six • This case study proposes commonly accepted strategies for assessing the indicators of degree of institutionalization institutionalization. They of the newly procured are: educational technology – Acceptance by relevant participants innovations established at – The innovation is stable and Forever Growing. routinized – Widespread use of the innovation throughout the institution or organization – Firm expectation that use of the practice and/or product will continue within the institution or organization – Continuation does not depend upon the actions of specific individuals but upon the organizational culture, structure or procedures – Routine allocations of time and money
School’s History andGrowth • Embraced an optimistic vision and a determined outlook. • Experienced many challenges and numerous triumphs. • Learned from the obstacles and victories • Believe that the school can overcome any adversity in order to achieve success
• Timeline of History and Growth – 1990 - Began with 5 students and grew to 12 students in just a couple of months. – 1991 - School was becoming overcrowded and had to reluctantly turn away children – 1994 - After-school program abandoned order to better assist the future progress of the school. – Currently – Supports a wonderful staff, a great facility and a prominent curriculum. Enrolls almost 100 full and part time students each year in their pre-kindergarten program.• Forever Growing has witnessed periods of difficulty and hardship as well as stages of remarkable prosperity and growth.
Strengths and Weaknesses• Strengths – Strong management system – High quality curriculum – Effective teacher training and staff development• Weaknesses – Obtaining financial capital – Utilizing media instructional technology – Developing effective marketing materials
Responses and Results of theSchool’s Current Strategy• Largest challenge is obtaining the financial capital which – Maintains the operations – Supports the acquisition and implementation of resources – Improve the educational quality of its programs• Addressing these challenges – Implements a mixture of initiatives to both raise funds and avoid costs. – Obtain full and partial scholarships from local businesses to help off-set tuition costs – Receives assistance with fund raising activities and donation matching from the community – Acquires one time financial gifts – Teachers have voluntarily given up their pay raises
• In spite of everything, there is not sufficient capital to acquire additional educational resources (technology implementation, training)• Additional resources are needed – to support the school’s over-all efforts – to help students especially from lower socio-economic family environments• These additional resources will be leveraged to overcome the knowledge gap which many students possess when they first enroll in Forever Growing.
The Specific Problem• Director’s decision to bridge the shortage through a collaborative development project with UHCL produces the demand for a strategy to assure the implementation and institutionalization of the adopted innovations.• This case study will review the conditions mentioned by Surry and Ely to establish an environment favorable for successful implementation and institutionalization.• The circumstances where variables and conditions are deficient, strategies will be developed to establish or augment promising conditions for these processes.
Alternatives• The following action based alternatives are suggestions for an iterative process rather than mutually exclusive alternatives.• These alternatives will encompass planned methods which support the school through the diffusion processes of implementation and institutionalization stages, focusing on each stage of the process.
Assessment of Environmentfor Implementation• The executive climate at Forever Growing contains a strong and cohesive faculty – who share a common set of values and a mutual group of established goals for the success of the school and the students.• Teachers exhibit a variety of technology familiarity• The technology proposed for adoption is neither exceeding complex nor will it require extensive technical support to operate.• The current conditions at the school were analyzed and evaluated addressing variables, where necessary, within the setting. The current conditions at Forever Growing support successful implementation of the proposed technology.• The assessment of the school’s eight facilitating conditions (more information see case study)
Alternatives forImplementationTeachers work with UHCL instructionaldesigners in the analysis and design phaseof the collaborative project • By participating in the design and development of the learning modules, the affluence of the teaching staff will become more enhanced as the products are constructed. – Questions can be addressed – Coaching will ensure any technology gaps are overcome • Also help to shorten the time needed for the teachers to feel experienced with the final products in order to support implementation into the instructional programs • Reinforce both number two and four of Surry and Ely’s conditions
Identify an innovator or earlyadopter among the teachers tostart peer to peer conversationsplus act as mentors and tutors• Aligns effectively with the first achievement suggested previously• Through peer conversations, the less technically advanced teachers will engage in an informal, less threatening support structure in order to answer questions, demonstrate concepts, and facilitate reassurance regarding the proposed changes• Supports the decrease in time required to establish a level of comfort to use and implement the learning programs into daily learning activities
Implementation Summary • In an environment as small and cohesive as Forever Growing, problems achieving successful implementation of the proposed technology will be minimal. • Staff recognizes the need for and will undoubtedly support the adoption and implementation of the technology. • Alternatives provide a resource for the school to address possible complications that may arise as a result of uneven technological knowledge or insufficient time
Assessment of Environment forInstitutionalization• All previously noted conditions supporting institutionalization of the proposed technology are substantiated except perhaps the routine allocations of time and money.• Scarcity of monetary resources is one of the biggest challenges confronting Forever Growing.• The project to develop a website and subscribe to social media forums was selected precisely to increase the visibility of the school beyond just the community• The hope was that the increased visibility would result in a corresponding increase in fund raising success
Alternatives forInstitutionalization• The conditions supporting successful institutionalization of an innovation or new technology are: – Acceptance by relevant participants – The innovation is stable and routinized – The innovation is used throughout the entity – There is a firm expectation of continuance regarding the innovation – There will be routine allocations of time and money• The current environment at Forever Growing already furnishes the conditions that will support institutionalization of the new technology once it has been adopted and implemented.• The staff already acknowledges the need for and is supportive of the utilization initiative.• The proposed technology is not complex therefore will be stable and easily routinized to be used throughout the school.• Additionally, there is a strong intention to continue using the technology once it is implemented.• Therefore, alternative actions are required.
Recommendations forFuture Changes• The school director will initiate the alternatives recommended.• Even if, for some reason, the initiative to acquire the proposed technological learning resources failed to materialize, the teaching staff can be trained on the technology which will undoubtedly pay dividends in the future.• The alternatives suggested also offer a way to construct a professional learning community among the educators as well as provide a method for increasing decision-making input concerning the direction and future of the school.
How Alternatives Relate toAECT Standard 3.3Sub-Standard 3.3.1•Use appropriate materials and strategies in various learning contexts – The decision by Forever Growing to adopt and implement DVDs and web-based learning modules into their curricular programs directly addresses this standard. – The learning modules will be used throughout the school to encompass a variety of subjects. – The alternatives and recommendations provided support the implementation of the proposed technology.
Sub-Standard 3.3.2• Identify and apply techniques for integrating ECIT innovations in various learning contexts – The intended use of DVDs and web-based learning modules directly addresses this standard. – Using technology to assist in elevating the quality of the school’s instructional programs, will improve the foundational learning skills the children need throughout the K – 12 school environment.
Sub-Standard 3.3.3• Identify strategies to maintain use after initial adoption – Both of the alternatives directly address this standard. – Involving the teaching staff in the design and development phase of the technology initiative creates a sense of ownership as well as resolves any questions or issues that may emerge – Additionally, using peer mentors and tutors to overcome knowledge deficits establishes a professional learning community – Instill a level of comfort and create an enthusiasm for the resources which will assure support for the continued use – Standards regarding integration of the technology into the structure and culture of the school will emerge as institutionalization creates permanence for the innovation
Conclusion• Implementation and Institutionalization of the educational innovative technology in this case study does not cause an extensive or complex problem.• Forever Growing is a small cohesive educational organization whose existing structure and culture already demonstrate many of the conditions which support successful implementation and institutionalization of the new technology.• By following the alternatives and recommendations mentioned in this study, the last stages, implementation and institutionalization, of Forever Growing’s diffusion process will be a successful achievement.
References• Association for Educational Communications and Technology. (2001). What are the initial standards? Retrieved from http://www.aect.org/standards/initstand.html• Congressional and Budget Office. (2011). The Budget and Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2011 to 2021. Retrieved from http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/120xx/doc12039/0126_fy2011outlook.pdf• EDTC Curriculum Project. (n.d.). AECT rubric for the curriculum project (reflective journal). Retrieved from http://www.udel.edu/education/edtc/CurriculumProject.html• Fayol, H. (n.d.). 14 principles of management. Retrieved from https://blackboard9.uhcl.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_group=courses&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fbla ckboard%2Fexecute%2Fcontent%2Ffile%3Fcmd%3Dview%26content_id%3D_164973_1%26course_id %3D_6328_1%26framesetWrapped%3Dtrue• Kolrala, S. & Sheikh, S. (2008). Software testing interview questions. Jones and Bartlett. Retrieved from http://my.safaribooksonline.com/book/software-engineering-and-development/software- testing/9781934015247/cmmi/open_parenthesis_i_close_parenthesis- 053#X2ludGVybmFsX0ZsYXNoUmVhZGVyP3htbGlkPTk3ODE5MzQwMTUyNDcvaWk=• Reiser, R. & Dempsey, J.V. (2012). Trends and issues in instructional design and technology (3rd ed.). Allyn and Bacon.• Seels, B., & Richey, R. (1994). Instructional technology: The definition and domains of the field (p. 46). Washington, DC: Association for Educational Communications and Technology.• Smith, M (Producer). (2011). Forever growing: Interview with Denise West [video]. Alvin, Texas.• Surry, D. & Ely, D. (n.d.). Adoption, diffusion, implementation and institutionalization of educational technology. Retrieved from http://www.usouthal.edu/coe/bset/surry/papers/adoption/chap.htm