The use of instructional technology in teaching and learning is becoming an essential tool for enhancing the studentsâ€™ experience.
Many tools have been developed which makes adopting a tool for classroom use a difficult task. In this article, we present the Instructional Technology Tool Adoption Model (ITTAM) which helps instructors select and adopt the most appropriate tool in the class context.
The model presents two necessary features for the tool: availability and suitability for the two users: instructor and student. Lacking any of these will hinder the successful use of the tool in the classroom context. Below, we discuss the details of all these main model components.
Figure 1. Instructional Technology Too Adoption Model (ITTAM)
The instructor should be willing to use the specific tool. It will be an extra effort for him to prepare, manage and support. Without the instructorâ€™s approval and willingness, the tool will never be used by the students in the class. The instructor should consider the other three components of the model when he selects the tool.
Students should be interested and willing to use the selected tool. For students to be motivated to use the tool, it should be suitable for their background, age and skills. Students should be clear on how to use the tool and they should get equal opportunity when using it. If the tool does not attract the students to use it, then there will be minimum use of the tool to satisfy course and instructor requirements.
The tool should be available to all users (instructors and students) either through a free version or a version provided by the institute. This requires hardware and software availability of the tool. If there is a cost associated with it, instructors should try to facilitate that and make it available. The availability of the tool is also affected by the infrastructure, the network and the policies of the institute; the tool should run on the instituteâ€™s network and does not violate any organizational issues. The tool should also be reliable. If the tool is not made available, then it will be used partially as it will be used by only those who have access to it.
The tool must be suitable and relevant for the learning objective it is used for. There should be a reason for using such technology; it should fit the course and user needs. It should also be easy and intuitive to use and accommodate individual differences. If it is difficult to use, users will have resistance for using it, thus, it may not be adopted. It should also support the type of learning it is intended for, whether it be communication, collaboration, teamwork, giving feedback, active learning, critical thing etc. The time needed for the tool setup and configuration should be considered and planned for. The tool should consider the security and privacy issues and provide fairness to all users. If the used tool is not suitable, it will not achieve its objective.
By satisfying the above four main components (instructor acceptance, student use, tool suitability and availability) tool adoption can be successful. Lacking any of these components will most likely have a limited success.
The above are the main components that should be considered when selecting a tool to be used in the classroom context. However, instructors should always evaluate the use of technology in terms of impact, experience and achieving objectives to assess if it is a successful experience or identify changes to be made for a better teaching and learning experience.
Instructors should always be ready for technical obstacles they may face and come up with backup plans. They should also be careful not to focus on the tool while forgetting the objective it is used for.