A large component of my work is to provide advice and suggestions surrounding the possible purchase and integration of educational technologies into teaching and learning environments. How do I determine my decisions? What are the criteria I use?
Well… I draw my criteria from a variety of sources.

First, I begin with using the 4 Laws of Media – (Marshall McLuhan, 1988)

Marshall McLuhan (1988) designed a tetrad (a way of explaining the adoption of any medium) as a pedagogical tool, phrasing his laws as questions with which to consider any medium:

  1. What does the medium enhance?
  2. What does the medium make obsolete?
  3. What does the medium retrieve that had
    been obsolesced earlier?
  4. What does the medium flip into when pushed
    to extremes?

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This framework, once practiced, is a good way to have people of all understandings participate in a process to determine if any type of pedagogical medium should be applied.

For example, below is a quick – definitely not complete – snapshot of evaluating the use of SMART phones in teaching and learning. The answers included bellowed we brainstormed by a group of graduate level students enrolled in their first Master’s level course.

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A great activity to try out is to organize your staff inof two or three, pick one of the following to evaluate using McLuhan’s ebooks, blogging, clickers, iPads, podcasting, online home reading programs, or something else they are interested in. Have the group then answer the following two questions:

  • What are the strengths of evaluating new technologies this way?
  • Consider, regarding McLuhan’s laws, what factors are not considered using this approach?

Next, I look at Technological Readiness (Spector, 2012)

When is comes to technology, the magnitude of resources available that claim to support teaching and learning is tremendous.
When considering the use and integration of technologies, we need to consider:

  1. Technology needs:
  • determine what problems exist and are likely to occur with the technology
    • use this to determine possible needs for implementation
  • identify prioritize the possible problems
    • restate them in terms of needs
      • state this need in terms that can be measured
    • you can then look at adopting a new technology being clear to articulate the problem and associated need that technology is intended to address.
  1. Technology readiness
  • Ask the question, How prepared are the users for this technology?
  • Factors that will influence this answer include
      • previous experience with similar technology
      • willingness for change
      • involvement of users in step one above
      • perception of how new technology will meet individual needs
  • Here, I remind myself of Roger’s (2003) Diffusion of Innovation Model. This model identifies two key groups to consider:
    • early adopters: your in-house advocates and trainers of others
    • traditional resisters: those who you know will resist. It is wise to leave the resisters until end or they may influence others who may have been willing to try!

      Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 10.42.18 AM

  • Roger’s (2003) also suggests that those more likely to embrace or resist is determined by the perceived usefulness of the technology.
  1. Technology deployment
  • We must consider the following question: Is the organization ready for deployment?
  • When asking this, look at two factors:
    • Infrastructure
    • training
  • The larger the system, the wiser it is to stage deployment (Heath & Heath, 2010)
    • If it is a large initiative, begin with a pilot group
  • We must ensure that familiarity with terminology and concepts has occurred prior to deployment. Here, I like to use the TPACK Model to find where key players are most likely to succeed in assisting with deployment and implementation

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  1. Management of Change
  • For technology to be effective, change must occur. This change must be positive. Thus, continual assessment of measurable targets must occur to ensure benefits continue to justify the cost of the change.
  • Doing this early is necessary so appropriate adjustments can be made
    • document expenditures, take attitude surveys, look at assessment/achievement data – do your homework!
  • We then must share this data, including both the success and the failures, with key stakeholders in order for forward movement to occur.

Yes, this is a lot of work, but when considering the money and time we are asking teachers, administrators and learners to invest in new learning tools, as an educational technology expert, the work must be done!


McLuhan, M., & McLuhan, E. (1988). Laws of media. Toronto,, Canada: University of Toronto Press.

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

Spector,J. (2012). Foundations of educational technology. New York: Routledge.



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