What role should technology hold in education has been a hotly contested topic. Advocates suggest that technology will expand students' learning experiences and prepare them for a future where workers will require a skill set not yet developed. Critics point to the massive budgets invested by federal, state, and local educational agencies in the acquisition of educational technology only to have little to no change in education practice or student achievement.
This study utilized an instrumental case study that investigated the adoption of the technology-based innovation of e-portfolios in a southwest urban school district. The three questions used to guide this research included: (a) Does a participant's perceived quality of professional development influence the adoption of e-portfolios? (b) Is there a relationship between the quality of participant's instructional planning and subsequent adoption of e-portfolios? (c) Based on the status of adoption (completer/non-completer), how does each group describe the variables that impacted their adoption/lack of adoption of e-portfolios?
The study used three different indexes---level of adoption, quality of professional development, and quality of instructional lesson planning---generated from participant responses on electronic surveys to explore two different interactions on the issue of adoption. A Pearson's correlation coefficient did not identify a statistically significant influence between perceived quality of professional development and level of adoption (r = -.125 p >.05). However, a Pearson's correlation did identify a statistically significant relationship between the quality of an instructional lesson plan and the Level of Adoption (r = .495 p = .003) of e-portfolios.
The third research question produced 11 themes from the wide array of participant feedback collected through both an electronic survey and participant interviews. The 11 themes include: Instruction and Pedagogy, Time, Student Engagement, Access to Resources, Professional Development - Ongoing Support, Quality of Professional Development, Mentoring, Collegiality, Administration Influences, The E-Portfolio System, and, Motivation.
This study produced several recommendations for practitioners. Recommendations include the acquisition and deployment of technology to the schools before introducing the innovation; the identification and selection of early adopters to provide a foundation of mentors; include compulsory development sessions for instruction development to insure the focus on quality; and the inclusion of instructional lesson planning to support new innovation.
The study also provides several recommendations for further research. Recommendations include the expansion of several demographic and/or contextual data points in an effort to provide rich narrative of the environment that could influence adoption; limit the impact of technical variables that fall outside the scope of the study; move the focus of the study from if they adopt to when do they adopt; and, explore the impact of an innovation on student achievement.