Theoretical Foundation: The Pillars that the Research Stands on the Theories Used as a Fundament for the Study
Diffusion of innovations theory
There are many ways in which the concept of a Diffusion of Innovations Theory can be approached from. According to the existing definition, Diffusion of Innovations Theory deals with defining the rates of innovation acceptance within a particular cultural setting towards the efficiency of social network and the rates of technological development within the given culture. In other words, a Diffusion of Innovations Theory is a set of principles and laws that helps define the ways in which “an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system” (Rogers, 2010, p. 5).
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In the setting of the present-day world, the given definition presupposes that an innovation can only become popular and well recognized once the existing social network system, such as Facebook, is utilized. However, Rogers argues that the Diffusion of Innovations theory can be used not only for commercial purposes, but also for the purposes of educating students. In other words, Rogers makes it obvious that educators must communicate efficiently in the course of the teaching process so that the latter could flow in the most productive way possible. It is imperative to stress that Rogers specifies five key stages of diffusion process, i.e., “knowledge stage, persuasion stage, decision stage, implementation stage, and confirmation stage” (Rogers, 2010, p. 21), therefore, making it easier for teachers to apply Rogers’ postulates to the educational setting.
When it comes to discussing the origins of the theory and the factors that have predetermined its appearance, or, at the very least, played an essential part in the process of theory creation, one must stress that Rogers was basically the first person to push the concept of Diffusion of Innovations into the world of research. Indeed, when it comes to the analysis of the relevant sources that date back to the origins of Rogers’ theory, one will most likely find out that Rogers was, in fact, the very first person who actually suggested that the popularity of innovations has something to do with the social network and communication between the potential customers and the target audience. However, when it comes to picking the work that literally launched numerous researches on the issue, one must give credit to Gabriel Tarde, the person who actually came up with the idea of innovations diffusion (Deleuze, 2004). Despite the fact that Rogers was the first to coin the term, Tarde was the one to create the concept: “Tarde observed certain generalizations about the diffusion of innovations that he called the laws of limitation” (Rogers, 2010, p. 40). That being said, Tarde’s The laws of limitation can be considered the seminal source (Sharma & Sharma, 1997).
Alignment with the research question
The relation of the Diffusion of Innovations theory suggested by Rogers to the given paper is obvious. As the research question concerns the attitudes among teachers towards the use of technological innovations in educational settings, the positive aspects of the technology use in class will help define the reasons for teachers to be eager towards technology use during lessons (White, King & Tsang, 2011).
It is worth mentioning, though, that the study will also revolve around the cases of teachers being unwilling to utilize modern media for academic purposes. In the given case, the theory of Diffusion of Innovations will allow to seek the avenues to overcome the prejudices among reluctant teachers.
The current study and other researches based on the theory
It would be a mistake to consider that the given theory is far too young to have been used in any other research except for the given paper. Quite on the contrary, the Diffusion of Innovations theory has quite a history of being used as the fundament for numerous papers, including the studies conducted in the field of education, business and healthcare. Therefore, it can be assumed that the Diffusion of Innovations concept is well worth being adopted in the given study as well. Of all the studies that used the Diffusion of Innovations theory as their basis, the following studies should be mentioned.
Valente, T. & Davis, R. (1999). Accelerating the diffusion of innovations using opinion leaders. AAPSS, 566(5), p. 55–67
Despite the fact that the authors of the research do not expand the existing theory, but only use it as a basis for their own academic paper, it cannot be denied that the given research makes an efficient use of the theory in question by applying it to educational setting. It is also noteworthy that the authors of the research trace the history of the theory back to its origins, therefore, creating the premises for its modernization and making it clear that, when refurbished, the given theory can be adopted towards modern concerns.
Bowen, C. M., Stanton, M. & Mammo, M. (2012). Using diffusion of innovations theory to implement the confusion assessment method for the intensive care unit. Journal of Nursing Care Quality, 27(2), p. 139–145
Another intriguing study, the research by Bowen, Stanton and Mammo allows for a better understanding of the theory of Diffusion of Innovations by putting it into a completely different setting; instead of the traditional learning or business environment, the postulates of the theory under consideration are implemented within the healthcare service setting. The given step opens even more possibilities for researchers, proving that the given theory can be used in a variety of scenarios and serves the purpose of integrating technology and information management within literally any environment.
Of course, the papers written by Rogers must be named among the most prominent researches that utilize the basic postulates of the Diffusion of Innovations Theory ad even expand it to the point where it can be applied to practically any setting, starting from business field and up to the field of teaching. With that in mind, such papers as Diffusion of innovations (Rogers, 1983), Diffusion of innovations (4th ed.) (2010), Communication networks: Toward a new paradigm for research (1981) and many other ones.
That being said, it should still be mentioned that the Diffusion of Innovations theory did not always work right and cannot be used as the silver bullet for literally any teaching purpose. While it is important to understand the power of the modern social media, as well as its influence and the staying power of the news transported with the help of social networks, it is impossible to rely completely on technologies in the process of teaching (Wu, 2012).
The theory and its relevance to the proposed study
As it has been stressed above, the theory of diffusion of innovations can be used in a variety of fields and for a number of purposes, seeing how it enhances the process of knowledge management and makes the procedure of information acquisition, processing and further distribution considerably easier. Therefore, it can be assumed that the Diffusion of Innovations theory has a lot to do with the given research. Indeed, it must be admitted that the present-day technology opens ample opportunities for education. However, by far the most impressive quality of modern technology is that it allows for an almost immediate transfer of vast amounts of data to the remote corners of the world. Seeing how studying presupposes that the students must provided with the relevant information to study and consider, it is imperative that every learner should have an access to the given information, which modern social network provides.
Bowen, C. M., Stanton, M. & Mammo, M. (2012). Using diffusion of innovations theory to implement the confusion assessment method for the intensive care unit. Journal of Nursing Care Quality, 27(2), p. 139–145.
Deleuze, G. (2004). Difference and repetition. New York, NY: Continuum.
Rogers, E. M. (1981). Communication networks: Toward a new paradigm for research. New York: Free Press.
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Rogers, E. M. (1983). Diffusion of innovations (3rd ed.). New York: Free Press.
Rogers, E. M. (1983). Diffusion of innovations. New York: Free Press.
Rogers, E. M. (2010). Diffusion of innovations (4th ed.). New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.
Sharma, R. K. & Sharma, R. (1997). Social psychology. Mew Delhi: Atlantic Publishers and Distributors.
Valente, T. & Davis, R. (1999). Accelerating the diffusion of innovations using opinion leaders. AAPSS, 566(5), p. 55–67.
White, B., King, I. & Tsang, P. (2011). Social media tools and platforms in learning environments. San Francisco, CA: AT&T Lab Research.
Wu, Y. (2012). Advanced technology in teaching: Proceedings of the 2009 3rd international conference on teaching and computational science. New York, NY: Springer.