Innovation Theory

Diffusion of Innovations
The Law of Diffusion of Innovations provides an explanation about how the spread of ideas actually “spread.” Sinek (2009) states that early adopters are not necessarily innovators, but they do follow innovators after a method has been tried. These folks will try a new idea if, and only if, it has been tested first, hoping they will suffer the least consequences. This reminds me why most early adopter owners of iphones and android devices wait 2 weeks before they download a software update. They will eventually download the updated software after all of the kinks have been worked out and noted to the company. They perceive lesser risk involved. Likewise, these folks are not of the same mindset as innovators that will go to any length to be the first one to get a new device. The other side of the bell curve shows the laggards. The laggards are instinctively and rationally driven. They do not believe in owning the best and newest products; they believe in rebuilding or acquiring better parts for what they already own.

The Tipping Point
The tipping point occurs at which the growth becomes a need and moves ahead at an extraordinary pace. This is why it is essential to get the key influencers on board with your belief systems. Don’t try to incentivize others or manipulate them; allow them to formulate their own thoughts and beliefs and see how they relate to your own. Otherwise, you will attract only temporary folks, so watch your aim.

DOI as a Theoretical Framework
Rogers’s (2003) DOI framework posits that the rate of adoption of a strategy is determined by perceptions of the adopters as they consider the attributes of the innovation. One of the primary perceptions that lead to adoption is that of relative advantage, or the idea that one product or strategy is superior to another.  In the field of educational technology, Rogers’s (2003) DOI theory has frequently been used to determine teachers’ perceptions of new information and communications technology programs. In a study by Vanderlinde and van Braak (2011), a questionnaire to identify attributes of the new curriculum was administered to a sample of teachers using Rogers’s DOI framework. They found that the teachers did not specifically support or reject the new curriculum with relation to the learning environment conditions. However, the resulting information was helpful for administrators and decision makers in that it explicated the complex issues of new technology implementation. Though relative advantage of an innovation is important, the perceived drawbacks of the adoption (e.g., complexity) also play a role (Rogers, 2003). Therefore, perceptions of the complexity of integration can be a potential barrier to technology adoption. In a study conducted by Anthony (2012), the goal was to use activity theory as the framework for determining classroom systems and their influence on the integration of new technologies. Over a 3-year period, two classrooms were evaluated in the same school district in the area of teacher preparedness, institutional conditions, and the combination of the two. Findings from several studies have suggested that teacher perceptions, as well as student attitudes and beliefs, influenced the integration of new technologies and the perception of success by using technologies. Furthermore, Anthony found that effective technology leadership also played a large role in enhancing instructional experiences for the participating teachers and students. Anthony concluded that an integration system specifically designed to combine institutional goals with teacher perceptions and beliefs toward the adoption of technology could be the best way to integrate new technologies. Thus, a DOI framework is very appropriate of BYOD and one-to-one technology-integration strategies. 

Sinek, S. (2009). Start with why: How great leaders inspire everyone to take action. New York, NY: Penguin Group.

Rogers, E. M. (2003). Diffusion of innovations (5th ed.). New York, NY: Free Press.

Vanderlinde, R., & van Braak, J. (2011). A new ICT curriculum for primary education: Flanders. Defining and predicting teachers’ perceptions of innovation attributes. Educational Technology & Society, 14, 124-135.

Anthony, A. B. (2012). Activity theory as a framework for investigating district–classroom system interactions and their influences on technology integration. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 44, 335-356.