EDEM630 students have been reflecting on possible research projects relating to change with digital technology in their own area of interest. We discussed initial ideas about possible projects in the course discussion forums before sharing these concept ideas in a public blog post.
Many of our concept ideas for prospective research projects were initially too broad to explore with any depth. Over the past week, we’ve made good progress in narrowing the focus of our research projects.
The core focus of the EDEM630 course is to study change with digital technologies in education. Our course has three complementary elements:
- Technology diffusion (ie how new technologies are adopted at the individual level and diffused within the larger ecosystem);
- Shared leadership with reference to the organisational and classroom champions who lead successful implementation of new technologies and
- Models of change with reference to the theoretical frameworks which guide and inform technology diffusion.
Notwithstanding our progress in narrowing the research focus of our initial research topics, we still need an additional lens to zoom the focus for the purposes of EDEM630. Specifically the lens of how the research literature on models of change will inform our research projects.
We can use three “change lenses” to review or zoom the focus of our research:
- The technology change: What are the attributes of the technology or innovation and why does it constitute a perceived or objective change in the current context?
- The intended purpose of the change: What does the change aim to improve in the system? For example, improved learning outcomes when compared to the situation before the change intervention.
- The change theories: Specifically how the research literature on models of change and technology diffusion can inform, explain or predict the adoption of the change within a component of the arena of change recognising that our research must take cognisance of the interplay among the subcomponents of the ecosystem.
The majority of our current EDEM630 proposals have done a sterling job in focusing on the what and the why of the change , namely the technology innovation and why the change is important for improved outcomes. The next step in our collective thought process is to consider the how dimensions taking the research literature on models of change and technology diffusion into account.
Drawing on the aims of the course, EDEM630 students are required to “demonstrate knowledge of change with ICT in education and training contexts and be able to apply this knowledge within familiar ecosystem(s)“. Consequently we need to apply an additional lens to our proposed research projects, namely the literature on models of change and technology diffusion.
This is a chicken and egg challenge. On the one hand we need clarity on our research topic and corresponding research questions to guide our study of the literature. At the same time, it is hard to apply the lens using the models and theories of change without prior knowledge of these theories.
As you begin preparing the outline for your essay you need to think about how the models of change and technology diffusion will refine and focus your research project. You may prefer to post your essay outline at the end of Week 3 of the course schedule after you have applied more time to studying a few models of change.
Remember – research is an iterative process and we expect to see multiple refinements to your research topic as our learning journey continues.