ERIC Identifier: ED480237
Publication Date: 2003-04-00
Author: Koszalka, Tiffany A
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on Information & Technology
Reflection as a Critical Component of the Technology
Adoption Process. ERIC Digest.
Although upwards of 99% of public schools are wired for some type of
access (NCES, 2003) less than 32% of educators reported regularly integrating
such educational technologies into their classroom practices (NCES, 2000).
How can this be?
Ely (1999) suggested that there are several conditions required to facilitate
implementation of educational technologies into sustained practice. Educators
must be dissatisfied with status quo, possess technology knowledge and
skills, have access to technology resources, be provided with time and
rewards for achievement, be directly involved with decisions and committed
to technology integration, and have supportive leadership to effectively
implement educational technologies into their classrooms.
Unfortunately, much of today's educational technology training tends
to focus only on developing the skills and knowledge to operate new equipment
(Ronnkvist, Dexter, & Anderson 2000). But, there is hope. Many researchers
are reporting that adding reflection components to professional development
programs helps educators attend to the conditions beyond skills development
and move toward educational technology adoption (Collis, 1996; Ertmer,
2003; Geyer, 1997).
This Digest briefly reviews connections among the literature on the
innovations, technology integration, and reflection as a precursor
to presenting an
example of reflective practice during a technology integration professional
development program. The reflection component is designed to help educators
reflect on the possibilities and challenges of their surroundings as they
construct knowledge of how best to integrate educational technologies into
ADOPTION OF INNOVATION
From the statistics presented above it is clear that adopting technologies
as a part of
teaching practices does not magically happen when technology is made
There is a complex change process that one progresses through in stages
an innovation is introduced. Acknowledging that conditions must be
right to spawn
change is particularly critical in the initial stages of adoption (Ely,
1999). At this point an educator is forming an attitude toward the behavioral
intent to pursue or reject the innovation (Ellsworth, 2000; Rogers, 1995).
Forming an attitude toward an innovation begins when the individual learns
of the innovation. Sustained adoption requires progression through stages
of knowledge and practice development supplemented by careful consideration
of the successes and challenges of adopting the innovation. Ongoing interaction,
successful practice with an innovation, and careful reflection about new
situations and outcomes provide a foundation upon which educators decide
to adopt or reject educational technologies as a part of their everyday
THE VALUE OF REFLECTION
One of Dewey's (1933) basic assumptions was that learning improves to
the degree that it arises out of the process of reflection. Reflection
arises because the organism detects the appearance of incompatible factors
within a situation then develops opposed responses in an attempt to further
engage in and understand the situation, thereby constructing knowledge.
Knowing therefore is not a process of registration or representation, but
one of intervention. Knowledge is constructed, in part, through reflection,
e.g., ongoing active, persistent, and thoughtful consideration and participation
in a situation (Canning, 1991). The cycle of reflecting and constructing
knowledge is thus determined by the changes one finds satisfactory about
a new situation on the whole or by the discovery of new features that give
the situation new meaning. Thus, reflection is important in encouraging
educators (organisms) to explore the integration of new educational technologies
(incompatible factors) into their current teaching practices (situation)
to reduce the perception of incompatibility. Such reflections prompt educators
to face personal and environmental constraints, incrementally develop new
practices that led to successful implementation, and specify for themselves
the relationships between theoretical benefits of an innovation and successful
practice (Collis, 1996; Dias, 1999; Ertmer, 2003).
AN APPROACH TO PROMPTING REFLECTION
Structured guidance in the form of asking questions and providing reflection
guidelines helps novice educators become more autonomous thinkers (Pultorak,
Structured, short, open-ended questions help educators move through
the stages of
adoption; become more aware of their surroundings; identify successful
unsuccessful patterns of behavior and activities in their classrooms;
and develop new
ways for them and their students to interact in the environment (Pultorak,
1996; Putnam, 1991; Sch%n, 1983; 1989). Novices become better able to reflect
on and respond in ways in which they feel they can succeed with new technologies.
Later, as they move toward expert practice, novices begin exploring the
reasoning behind their responses and reframing situations based on new
knowledge of the innovation and their practice.
They pay more attention to strategies of inquiring about their reasoning
greater abilities to enhance teaching and learning through the innovation.
This indicates that they are engaging in higher levels of reflective practice
and adopting the innovation.
AN EXAMPLE OF REFLECTIVE PRACTICE TO SUPPORT ADOPTION OF EDUCATIONAL
This example of a technology integration program uses reflective practice
to engage educators in progressively more reflection and application activities
during ongoing efforts to adopt newly acquired technologies. Through planned
interactions with the new technologies and prompted reflection assessing
this innovation in practice, it is expected that educators will develop
strong reflective and technology integration techniques that become an
everyday part of their teaching practices.
The training begins with presentations of models of best practices in
technologies into teaching and learning. According to Koszalka, Grabowski,
McCarthy's (2003) guidelines for reflection, educators are then prompted
characteristics that reflect their beliefs of ideal teaching and to
develop a list of actions they believe are important in transforming their
classrooms into an ideal technology-supported learning environment. Questions
are used to prompt educators to reflect on their beliefs about ideal teaching
and learning; how well the examples match their ideal, personal preferences
for teaching; their personal readiness to use new technologies; and how
new technologies could help them move from current to ideal. As an initial
step, this is a low level of reflection, based more on perceptions than
Next, educators are asked to reflect on their experiences with technology,
students, curriculum resources, and educational standards in their
Geyer (1997) suggested, they are prompted to reflect specifically on
lessons, activities, and strategies that worked well previously and think
about how to integrate new technologies to enhance them. This reflection
point integrates thoughts of previous experiences into developing new practices.
By using a repertoire of successful activities, educators have enough familiarity
with old procedures to ensure successful instructional outcomes using new
educational technologies. They then redesign these lessons to incorporate
new technologies and test them in their classrooms.
A critical opportunity is to follow the classroom trial immediately
with reflections on
modifications that needed to be made during the lesson, how the educator
and students interacted together and with these new technologies, and what
worked or did not work well. The educators use these reflections to redesign
the lesson and immediately test it again, reflecting on the nuances of
this version and successes and challenges.
The educators share their reflections during a follow-up session with
their peers and
discuss implementation and modification of the trials and their beliefs
about how they
adapted the technology or their teaching practices during the process.
practice experiences prompt deeper reflection as educators identify
their experiences. Reflection deepens at this time as educators reflect
on their progress toward their ideal technology-enhanced classroom.
As the process continues, educators are continually prompted to reflect
knowledge of their own teaching, their use of new technologies, their
student interaction and learning, needs for support, and overall changes
attitudes and perceptions of this innovation. During each use of the
new technologies, they are prompted to adjust the lesson based on their
thoughts of what was working and what was not. Such reflection often leads
to identification of obstacles to integrating educational technologies,
but more importantly such reflections are most helpful when focused on
identifying alternatives and solutions to achieving the ideal technology-enhanced
classroom. Thus, as Eib & Cox (2003), Ertmer (2003), and Lin (2001)
suggested, reflection must be focused throughout the adoption processes
to help educators resolve their own practice challenges in order to facilitate
changes in their own beliefs about their role in technology-enhanced instruction
and the benefits of using educational technologies in the classroom.
The most successful professional development sessions support educators
in a cyclical reflective process to help them specify for themselves the
relationship between the theoretical benefits of an innovation and successful
practice (Collis, 1996; Dias, 1999; Ertmer, 2003; Wood & Bennett, 2000).
Reflection that increasingly challenges educators to consider changes in
their practices as part of adopting new innovations helps educators devised
technology integration strategies that lend themselves to the to configuration
of the classroom, enlist support to help develop necessary skills, and
use technology-based resources that are accessible and appropriate to the
classroom (Medeiros, 1999). Such reflective practice promotes understanding
of underlying beliefs and their relationship to pedagogy (Canning, 1991)
as well as helps educators identify and resolve issues associated with
using educational technologies.
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