Reports >Implementation and Effectiveness
U.S.A.: A Model of implementation Effectiveness
Sara Dexter, University of Nevada, Las Vegas and Ronald E.
Anderson, University of Minnesota
The purpose of the Exemplary Technology-Supported Schooling Case Studies
Project was to identify K12 sites that had implemented a school-wide improvement
that was supported by the use of educational technology. In most of the
eleven schools studied, the school was engaged in an effort to implement
reformed pedagogy, with technology identified as an explicit strategy or
support for achieving their goal. Specifically, the pedagogies were a variation
of inquiry- or project-based learning.
Together, the implementation of the innovation and the educational technology
required teachers to adopt new roles, as well as revise instruction and
assessment practices and curriculum with state standards and achievement
tests in mind. In addition, it required that they learn to operate new hardware
and software as well as determine how to incorporate it into their pedagogy.
This technology use demanded teachers have access to and technical and instructional
support for its use. In other words, the changes made involved several parts
of both the instructional and technology systems in place at the school.
The systemic nature of the improvements and their school-wide implementation
required that not only did teachers learn individually, but that they process
together the knowledge about their school level goals and their collective
responsibility for them. Much of the reform and technology literature documents
the difficulty of implementing either a pedagogical reform or technology
on a school-wide basis, but these sites were quite successful on both counts.
Thus, these schools provide an opportunity to learn about the attributes
of the school context that were critical for teachers to individually learn
about and to work together to successfully implement innovative teaching
practices utilizing educational technology. This information will contribute
to understanding the implementation success of such innovations by detailing
the necessary elements of the environment that support individual teacher
as well as organizational learning, and that will help to make such efforts
The recent synthesis of the last ten years on research on learning documented
in How People Learn (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 1999) identified
four essential elements for the design of effective learning environments.
It should be learner-centered, and take individual learner knowledge and
prior experience into account. It should be knowledge-centered, or directed
toward developing deep understanding. It should be assessment-centered,
and use feedback and other assessment mechanisms to guide the learner.
And it should be community-centered, allowing for common sharing of information.
While How People Learn (HPL) book focused mainly on learning environments
for students, its four-part framework can be used to imagine what should
be present in teachers' learning environments. For example, at a school
that is learner-centered professional development opportunities would
build upon the strengths, interests and knowledge of the teachers. This
might mean that teachers have customized or one-on-one help, or be able
to choose from among the topics and ways to learn. A knowledge-centered
workplace learning environment would mean that an instructional reform
and integrated technology use would be presented in terms of concepts
and principles not just routine procedures. An assessment-centered environment
would provide teachers with opportunities to try new approaches out in
real settings, and receive feedback on their efforts, so they could refine
their approach. Community-centered learning environments for teachers
operate with norms of trust and collaboration. They encourage teachers'
discussion about specific aspects of instruction and student performance.
These recommendations for teachers' learning environments are congruent
with previous research on teachers' implementation of new pedagogy. They
also echo work on professional community among teachers and its correlation
with student achievement (Louis, Marks & Kruse, 1996). It is also
in keeping with our previous work on quality technology support, that
it include one on one support, teacher discussion, and be focused on integration
topics (Dexter, Anderson & Ronnkvist, 2002).
The learning organization research discusses how an organization's elements,
such as its hierarchical structure, use of time and space, communication
patterns, and leadership can enhance or impede its ability to learn---meaning
to see alternative perspectives, create new understandings or behaviors
(Argyris & Schon, 1996) and help the school staff "to restructure,
reculture, and otherwise reorient themselves to new challenges" (Leithwood,
Leonard & Sharratt, 1998, p. 271)." Presumably such capabilities
would be key in schools where the improvement effort underway required
teachers to collectively process knowledge in order to implement system-wide
goals and assume responsibility for them. Further, we argue that effective
and widespread tech use requires a capability for organizational learning
beyond the school because technology planning and implementation crosses
levels (i.e. district, school and classroom) and boundaries (i.e. technical
and instructional) and requires coordination among them.
The HPL framework is reminiscent of that of Probst and Buchel (1997) who
described three elements essential to an organization's ability to learn.
First is knowledge, which must be supported by tools for knowledge building,
such as a vision and discussion and analysis mechanisms. A second element
is ability, described as the structures and processes to share information,
and third was intention, or the social norms for and willingness to share.
Marks and Louis (1999) extended this work by identifying indicators of
a school's capacity for organizational learning in six areas. They included
within "knowledge and skills" such items as professional development,
openness to innovation, and professional competence. Under "leadership"
they included a supportive and non-authoritarian leadership style as well
as its substance, such as for intellectual topics. Within "feedback
and accountability" the indicators included being held to standards
as well as teachers' perceptions of respect from their peers. "Structure"
of the setting included factors such as smaller size and decentralized
authority, as well as time to meet with colleagues. The "shared commitment
and collaborative activity" capacity was indicated by features such
as professional community, goal consensus, and the staff's problem-solving
capability. "Measures of teacher empowerment" emphasized teachers'
influence over school policy and their participation on key decisions
that impact their work life.
In this paper we use the four dimensions of a learning environment from
the How People Learn framework (Bransford et al., 2000) and selected literature
on learning organizations (Probst & Buchel, 1997; Marks & Louis,
1999) to examine the attributes of school contexts that appeared to be
critical for successful implementation of innovative teaching practices
utilizing educational technology. The How People Learn framework suggests
the components necessary in a school so as to support teacher learning
and the learning organization literature points to the features of a school
that would support their creating such an environment. We refer to this
conjunction as the Teacher Learning Environments framework. Table 1 embodies
this framework giving specific examples in the table cells.
Teacher Learning Environments: Designs for Teacher Learning Environments
and How Organizations may Facilitate Them
|Learning Environment Designs
||Learning Environment Elements for Teacher Learning
||Organizational Features that May Facilitate
Teachers' Learning Environments
|-professional development opportunities built upon
teachers' strengths, interests and experience
-availability of customized/one-on-one help,
-choice from among topics and ways to learn
-structures and processes to share information and help learning occur,
such as time to meet with colleagues
-adaptable systems that support pedagogical and technical learning
|-contextualized professional development
-focus on in-depth understanding of instructional issues and how teachers
|-intellectual leadership and tools for knowledge
building, such as a vision
-supportive and non-authoritarian leadership style
|-opportunities to try new approaches out in real
settings, and receive feedback on their efforts
||-policies that orient assessment to goal of enhanced
learning, not just external accountability
|- norms of trust, sharing and collaboration
-Teachers discuss instruction and their own strategies and performance
|-policy that encourages professional community
-goal and vision consensus among staff, teachers, and external community
-teachers' school, especially participation in key decisions impacting
their work life
Methods and Data
Each site visit involved a team of two researchers working at the school
site for five days. These five days were used for conducting interviews
with the principal, one or more technology coordinators, other administrators
relevant to the technology reform program, four to six teachers, several
students in these teachers' classrooms, and several parents of these students.
In addition, the researchers at each site systematically observed two
to four classrooms, and created observation notes. All interviews were
recorded and most were videotaped. The classroom observation periods were
videotaped with one to three cameras. Researchers also collected relevant
As soon as the site visit had been completed, the interviews (including
the focus group interviews) were transcribed into document files. All
interview transcripts and documents were analyzed with a structured coding
scheme that was derived from the conceptual framework for the study. This
scheme contained seven main coding areas. The first was about the innovation
or reform itself and is designed to capture information about the technology-supported
school-wide innovation or improvement, the history and scope of the innovation,
including its goals and origin, the curricular/subject areas involved
and its instructional organization. This allowed us to compare reforms
on the basis of their purpose and intent to improve the quality of instruction.
A second code area is about the school itself and allowed us to organize
information about the site, including background information on and the
demographics of the school and its community. With this code we also tagged
pertinent information about the school culture, its leadership, and any
external relationships the school established to aid their technology
implementation. This group of codes allowed us to capture relevant meso-level
information about the school's setting and how together they helped to
create a favorable context for the classroom uses of technology.
Another set of codes focused on the technology and the technology support
present at the site. These codes supported our analysis of the vision
for technology and the specifics of what the site has put into place,
how it is kept working, and how teachers are prepared for its use. The
next two sets of codes focused on students and teachers and their roles,
practices, and outcomes. Together, these codes support the description
and analysis of the classroom-based teaching and learning with technology.
The final two sets of codes allow us to capture the elements of the site
that contribute to the sustainability and transferability of its innovation.
We differentiated between elements of the innovation itself, the classroom,
school, and district components. These two codes were often used in conjunction
with other codes.
Each team of two researchers divided up the interviews to code; codes
were assigned to sections of transcripts with the qualitative analysis
program NUD*IST NVIVO. This program allows any length of the segment of
text to be coded with as many codes as the analyst sees fit to apply.
After all coding was complete, the NVIVO program was used to gather all
text segments from that site's transcripts into a report for each code.
These reports were then analyzed to determine the main points and themes
within each code area. These points provided the basis for the findings
presented in this paper.
Sample of Schools
Only five of the eleven schools in the study are reported upon in this
paper. The data were not fully analyzed in time to include four of the
other six schools. One school was not included because its improvement
effort was technological in nature, i.e. laptops for all students, and
not instructional. The final school was an online school and the fact
that it was comprised of teachers from dozens of schools, each of whom
was teaching one online course, meant it did not lend itself to the analytic
framework undertaken in this paper. Demographic information about the
five sites analyzed in this paper is provided in Table 2.
Demographic Information for School Sites
||Size of Place
+Poverty indicator was percent of students eligible for free or reduced
In nearly all of the schools reported upon here, the innovation was implemented
school wide, with a majority of teachers still participating in the innovation
one to three years following the time period of the main implementation
effort. The exception was Jennings Junior High, where the innovation was
targeted at the core subject areas of science, social studies, and English
only. In all five schools the innovation combined instructional and technological
aspects. (See also Table 3.)
The improvement effort emanated from the school in three of the five schools.
The teachers at Jennings Junior High were participating in district-led
effort. The improvement effort that Lemon Grove Middle School participated
in was also led at the district level; however, we categorize it as a
school level effort because the principal actively led the implementation
of it in the school, including getting the whole school staff involved
in the effort more quickly than the phased-in participation the district
had scheduled for them.
Summary of Innovative Technology-Supported Reforms
|Newsome Park Elem.
||Project learning using wireless laptops
||Constructivist model of learning, supported by
|Lemon Grove Middle
||Thin clients supporting academic performance
||Inquiry based, technology-integrated lessons
|New Tech High
||Developing in students the necessary knowledge,
skills and dispositions for a high-tech world
All five of these schools' (or in one case the districts') leaders had
facilitated their teachers in a process of setting school-wide goals.
These focused improvement efforts were either an extension of the school's
core mission or were closely tied to student achievement. Because they
resonated with the ongoing work of the school staff, or were connected
to the very reason the staff had come to the school to begin with, the
school-wide goal both by definition and desire became an individual goal
for the schools' teachers. As a result, the school set up structures and
processes to create environments that would meet the learning needs of
both students and teachers.
New Tech High School illustrates an approach to creating a learner-centered
environment for its teachers made possible by its small size, with 9 full
time teachers. The school improvement effort was to educate students in
capabilities most essential to the 21st century, especially problem-solving,
project construction, knowledge management, and teamwork. Towards that
end, they required their students to successfully complete community service,
an internship, four community college courses, as well as the courses
at the high school, which used a project-based instructional approach.
The interdisciplinary and team-taught classes (American Studies (social
science and literature), Scientific Studies (science and math), and Political
Studies (government and economics)) demanded teachers develop new curriculum,
rethink their instruction, and design assessments. To meet the teachers'
learning needs, the school provided opportunities to take professional
development courses off-site, but mostly they turned to one another as
the best source of one-on-one help. Within teams, teachers shared the
load of creating curricula and organizing class activities. Because the
school was small, the entire staff conferred to address the issues that
a dramatic restructuring of the curriculum and instructional activities
The Lemon Grove School District took a different approach to meeting teachers'
learning needs. Theirs was a district-wide effort to improve teaching
and learning utilizing an information infrastructure dominated by thin
clients (network PCs lacking local diskette or CD-ROM storage devices)
in classrooms. Rather than trying to gain consensus on the one instructional
approach to promote throughout the district, the program encouraged and
supported all types of pedagogical approaches, including inquiry and project
learning, as well as remedial activities and other technology applications
that help to improve student achievement. The middle school site's teachers
all participated in the 120-hour professional development program, consisting
of a two-week, paid summer "camp" and follow-up sessions throughout
the school year. The program's design allowed for teachers to choose from
offerings, which reflected both more constructivist and more remediation
oriented approaches to technology use. Thus, teachers were able to enter
into technology use in ways that met their interests and needs. At Lemon
Grove Middle School, several processes led to teachers then getting additional
help from their peers. First, the teachers attended the professional development
sessions in teams, which built up a nearby resource of expertise. Second,
the principal made sure there was time on the bi-weekly staff meetings
to discuss instruction and technology issues. Through these processes
teachers learned about additional sorts of approaches to technology use
from their grade-level or subject area peers.
To summarize, when school staff, including teachers, come to consensus
about school improvement goals, successful organizations create teacher-centered
learning environments that support teachers' implementation of the goals.
The organization needs to prioritize resources for teacher learning, and
to reduce the competing demands for time and attention that teachers face.
In these five sites the improvement effort was focused on implementing
new instruction and assessment methods, with technology as a support to
the new methods. In all cases the school staff could describe how the
innovation would benefit their students. These instructionally oriented
improvements required, by their nature, that teachers develop an understanding
of the pedagogy such that they could apply it in their own classroom.
The organization's leaders, having provided intellectual leadership towards
the improvement or innovation, then helped to put discussion and analysis
mechanisms into place so as to support teachers' knowledge construction,
specifically the redesign of classroom strategies.
For example, Newsome Park Elementary chose the goal of project-based learning
supported by technology and then put into place a professional development
program to support teachers' construction of knowledge about it. The school
opened in 1995 as a math science and technology magnet school with a handpicked
staff who reflected the principal's belief that students construct their
own knowledge and come to deep understanding through active experiences.
In the years following the school's inception the principal and staff
experimented with a variety of innovative instructional movements, including
student projects, character education, and service learning. It was through
an application for a Comprehensive School Reform Demonstration grant that
the authoring team articulated the goal of implementing a three-part approach
to project-based learning and using educational technology as a support
for it. The Constructivist Teaching and Coaching (CTAC) school improvement
team consisting of 9 teachers representing all grade levels formed to
lead the grant activities. Because they felt that this approach required
a theoretical understanding and knowledge of how to best implement it
they planned a professional development program. This program also provided
specific opportunities to learn about technology and set up the expectation
that teachers use technology tools to collect evidence of student work
using spreadsheets, databases, word processing, multimedia, and communications
tools and share them quarterly grade-level instructional meetings. An
outside vendor provided 45 hours of customized, hands-on instruction to
teaching staff from computer basics, to telecommunications, multimedia,
and instructional unit creation. These activities focused the teachers'
learning goals on developing the knowledge and skills necessary to apply
a specific approach to instruction and assessment, and the mechanisms
by which to share what they learned with their peers.
The example of Jennings Junior High illustrates a district led effort
to create a knowledge-centered learning environment for teachers. This
school district's superintendent set a goal of integrating technology
to raise student achievement by using technology to support inquiry-based
instruction. The district planned a strategic implementation, inviting
the participation of teachers in grades three to six, and in the areas
of social studies, science, and English in grades seven to twelve, and
adding mathematics at the high school level. Thus the professional development
program was established at a district level and created a network of participating
teachers from a elementary, junior and senior high schools. At Jennings
Junior High all the science and social studies teachers learned an inquiry-based
instruction approach and how to integrate Internet resources in support
of it. The participating teachers signed up in pairs and attended weekly
professional development meetings for the school year prior to receiving
a "tech room." The first part of the year emphasized the operation
of hardware and software and the latter part emphasized an inquiry-based
approach to its integration. Within this course, its leaders asserted
that "now that there's a tech room, these things are totally different:
You become a facilitator. You're not in charge of the information. They
[the students] are in charge and actively involved in finding the information
themselves. You're there to facilitate." Teacher pairs applied what
they learned by co-developing an inquiry- and standards-based unit that
they then shared with their classmates. The following year, when they
received their 'advanced technology classroom,' they worked together to
implement inquiry-based lessons and attended follow up professional development
sessions; the two professional development leaders also stopped by classrooms
to lend support and check on teachers' implementation progress.
To summarize, in these examples, as in the other three schools, the organizations
contributed to creating knowledge-centered environments by collaboratively
setting school-wide instructional goals, which in order to be achieved
demanded that teachers understand it well enough to apply it. To support
teachers the sites established professional development programs, which
provided a structure for developing this deep understanding.
The improvement efforts underway all operated within an air of accountability.
These six school locations were spread across five different states, each
of which had state curriculum standards and standardized tests used to
measure students' progress on them. The school sites had to attend to
the state tests and were focused on their students scoring well on them.
But by and large, the students' standardized tests were not considered
by the teachers to be key feedback on their own success in implementing
the innovation. Instead, the discussions and work during the adoption
and implementation of the innovation helped them to imagine the additional
sorts of student outcomes they wanted to see. Thus being accountable to
standards and test served as a means for prompting the staff members to
analysis the innovation for its impact on learning. The professional development
experiences and other peer to peer collaborations within the school helped
to deprivatize teachers' practices and generate feedback on them.
At Canutillo Elementary, the staff felt the pressure to demonstrate that
their students mastered the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS)
through their strong performances on the Texas Assessment of Academic
Skills (TAAS) test. The school's improvement effort was to create constructivist
learning environments supported by technology, which they formulated in
the spring of 1998 from its involvement with the Southwest Educational
Development Laboratory's (SEDL) Technology Assistance Program (TAP) grant.
Through participating in TAP, the staff developed an understanding of
how to mold the curriculum into thematic units that require hands-on projects.
Students' products, which were often technology-based, serves as way to
establish what students know and can do. Thus, the accountability context
and the professional development program experience led the staff to focus
on how students products and projects could demonstrate their mastery
of the TEKS. Because the TAP program was designed for whole school participation
it fostered an assessment-centered environment for the teachers through
structured sharing and observation among teachers at the school, TAP staff
members, and teachers at other schools participating in the TAP program.
Thus, from the beginning teachers had the understanding that they were
obligated to share their efforts and give and receive feedback on them---they
even had to sign a letter of intent stating this.
Newsome Park Elementary, due to low scores on the tests related to the
Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL), had received a warning from the
its State Department of Education. Consequently, the principal, the Constructivist
Teaching and Coaching (CTAC) committee, and the teaching staff made it
a major priority to align the district's curricular content and requirements
and its use of technology to the state's SOLs. The warning provided a
test to their commitment to implement project-based learning. After discussion,
they firmly resolved themselves to their improvement effort and the CTAC
published a written school improvement plan that guided the implementation
of project-based learning and articulated how technology could be used
to support that approach. The staff decided to implement project-based
learning through three distinct phases: planning, fieldwork, and celebration
of learning. After each phase, the teachers represent their classes work
on a tagboard, which is shared with the rest of the school. In addition,
teachers completed a weekly work plan, identifying the SOLs to be addressed
and outlining the concepts, skills, questions, and assessment strategies
related to the curriculum area. Teachers submitted this information to
the principal and shared it during their weekly grade-level meetings.
To summarize, being held to standards of achievement helped these school
staff members focus in on what success would look like. However, they
defined what teachers should be able to do and what should be seen in
students' performance in the context of their larger improvement goals.
The professional development programs put into place deprivatized the
teachers' instruction, and made getting and receiving feedback an ongoing
activity, which helped teachers to learn and adjust their instruction.
The improvement effort underway in these five schools reflected some
goal consensus among the school staff members. In each case the principal
or district leaders had played a large role in setting the goal but the
sites also had systems for involving teachers in the decision making.
As a result, the staff had helped to determine the specifics of the improvement,
were invested in implementing it, and they had a sense that by working
together on it, they would be more successful in achieving it. This shared
need to learn helped to create an air of trust and collaboration among
staff and to determine parameters for sharing and discussing instruction
and student performance.
As mentioned in the previous section, at Lemon Grove Middle School it
was a regular occurrence for the teachers to discuss instruction and students
performance, both with grade level peers and at school staff meetings.
These interactions were facilitated by the fact that there was goal consensus
among these peers and that they had established over the years a climate
of trust that allowed them to share successes and failures with one another.
The principal commented on how teacher collaboration on technology use
is a part of the teaching culture, "They share curriculum, things
they have developed through the Internet, or web pages they have for their
class." He described his role as encouraging its use and pushing
people to grow in their use of technology, "My job is to continue
to support that and work with the technology and work with teachers in
integrating that. And making sure that they understand that it is an expectation
from my leadership. That we will all embrace technology and that we will
all continue to work with it. Now I will see teachers at different stages
of that development. My job is to make sure that they continue to move
ahead." Thus, the principal helped the school to set a goal and encouraged
the staff to work collaboratively toward it.
The small size of the staff at New Tech High School made collaboration
less complicated and was actually required by their team teaching efforts.
Yet even here a community-centered environment was consciously established
and maintained. The principal of New Tech used the metaphor of a "high
tech start-up" to describe the school, indicating that he believes
the staff must run the school like a small, cutting edge, start-up company
and provide a similar experience for students in their class assignments.
The teacher culture at New Tech High reflects that of a small, innovative
business that must matrix staff in order to complete complex projects.
The director's involvement in leading and supporting innovation at New
Tech has been positively received and he appears to be universally admired
and respected by staff and students alike. Although he maintains regular
contact with teachers, he gives them a great deal of freedom. The teachers
took this as a sign of his trust in them, and this helped to establish
collaborative norms among them. The principal also described how he has
come to realize which personal attributes are essential for staff in this
demanding teaching environment, "We've been able to attract people
[who are] talented in a variety of ways: risk taking, resilient, creative,
innovative, hard working. You know, just futurist types of people."
Thus the staff consensus around their instructional goals combined with
their problem-solving capacity contributed to productive collaborations
among staff members.
In these and the other schools the main shared goal was an instrumental
element for establishing a substantive reason for collaboration. The inclinations
of the school leaders to be collaborative and their ability to create
an atmosphere for staff interaction contributed to a community-centered
learning environment for teachers.
On the basis of recent cognitive research on how people learn and research
on how organizations learn, we would expect effective technology-supported
instructional improvement efforts within schools to have specific environments
conducive to teachers' learning and organizational structures and policies
that help to sustain such environments. In fact this is what we found
in our five exemplary sites. Thus we have confirmed that the Learning
Environment framework can be useful for such analyses. We would also expect
that sites with ineffective improvement programs of this type would be
less likely to have built these learning environments for their teachers.
These findings are consistent with those of the Teaching Learning and
Computing (TLC) 1998 study (Dexter et al, 2002) and other studies with
regard to the critical nature of high quality technical and instructional
support and leadership. The significance of this consistency is that the
TLC findings were based upon large, representative samples of American
schools (about 750) and teachers (about 3,500). The relationships were
established not by examining elite or special schools but by considering
all schools concurrently. Thus, we know that quality support for teachers
and strong organizational leadership in the technology arena are critical
to the implementation of school and teaching environments where technology
was more broadly integrated into the instructional styles of more teachers.
In addition, our case study findings suggest some less predictable conclusions
regarding the role of contextual dimensions:
(1) Relatively very high densities of computer units as well as investments
in the latest hardware appear unlikely to be essential to the success
of effective instructional reform supported by technology. From these
case studies we cannot generalize to all types of instructional change
that utilize technology, but it appears feasible to experience dramatically
successful innovation with even somewhat average amounts of technology,
so long as considerable attention is given to the design of learning environments
for both students and teachers.
(2) Successful implementation of instructional reform utilizing technology
is possible in remarkably diverse communities. While it is true that in
selecting the case study sites we specifically tried to find diversity
in race/ethnicity and in community income levels, it is noteworthy that
we found as many such eligible sites as we did. As shown in Table 2, in
four out of five sites, the majority of students came from racial minority
families and in addition the majority came from low-income families.
(3) Successful implementation of instructional reform utilizing technology
is possible in heterogeneous types of schools. We do not know to what
extent this can be generalized, but from these case studies we at least
know that effective implementation can be found in high schools as well
as elementary schools, in large schools as well as small ones, and in
older schools as well as newly opened ones.
An additional result of building effective learning environments for teachers
is that they contribute to the sustainability of the innovations by building
up knowledge and expertise on school change that is distributed across
a large number of staff including teachers. The fewer the people with
first hand knowledge and experience in school change, the more the maintenance
of the change is vulnerable to turnover or loss of staff. Likewise, the
more people involved in the organizational mechanics of change, the easier
it can be to marshal support for ongoing refinements to the implemented
Given the rapid growth in technology and its capabilities for instruction,
strategic planning, including regular evaluations and equipment renewal,
is essential to long term sustainability of broadly implemented technology-supported
instructional innovations. Never-the-less, relatively high levels of investment
in technology per student and the acquisition of new grants for technology
may not be nearly as essential as the ability to maintain the learning
environments set up for helping teachers and students adapt to changes
in research-based knowledge about the most effective practices for learning.
Teacher learning is essential to the success of school improvement efforts.
Thus, what school leaders can do to establish an environment to help teachers
implement new instructional practices involving technology-enhanced activities
is critical. Organizational actions, such as policies and staffing, can
shape teachers' learning environments. Structural characteristics of organizations,
such as hierarchy and communication patterns, may also influence these
learning environments. Such factors not only are important to effective
implementation of instructional practices appropriating technology, but
they are also likely to be essential to sustaining and refining such practices.
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