Advertisement

Vocations and Learning

, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 175–193 | Cite as

Networks as Agents of Innovation: Teacher Networking in the Context of Vocational and Professional Higher Education Reforms

  • Külliki Tafel-ViiaEmail author
  • Krista Loogma
  • Silja Lassur
  • Anne Roosipõld
Original Paper

Abstract

The effective implementation of educational reform is an issue that confronts both those that plan and sponsor those reforms and those that are affected by them. This article discusses networking processes in the context of reform in vocational and professional higher education. When exploring failures in educational change processes, issues associated with facilitating the adoption, adaptation and implementation of educational change have not been sufficiently addressed. Here, we use the concept of social innovation, which is relatively new in innovation research, to explain the mechanisms that facilitate educational reform, and emphasise the relationship between interaction and the perception of change. In this paper, we examine how networking among teachers is related to their perception of educational change and how the effective implementation of educational reforms can be influenced by such networking. By differentiating the various types of networks we explore the relationship between networking and educational change. The article is based on the findings of a quantitative survey of 228 Estonian teachers in vocational and professional higher educational schools administered in 2010.

Keywords

Teacher networks Educational change Vocational and professional higher education reforms Social innovation Estonian survey 

Notes

References

  1. Anderson, S. E. (2010). Moving change: evolutionary perspectives on educational change. In: A. Hargreaves, A. Lieberman, M. Fullan & D. Hopkins (Eds.), Second International Handbook of Educational Change (pp. 65–84). Netherlands: Springer.Google Scholar
  2. Adler, P. S., & Kwon, S.-W. (2002). Social capital: prospects for a new concept. Academy of Management Review, 27(1), 17–40.Google Scholar
  3. Asheim, B., & Gertler, M. (2005). The geography of innovation. In J. Fagerberg, D. Mowery, & R. Nelson (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of innovation (pp. 291–317). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Aydalot, P., & Keeble, D. (Eds.). (1988). High technology industry and innovative environments: The European experience. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  5. Camagni, R. (1991). Local ‘milieu’, uncertainty and innovation networks: towards a new dynamic theory of economic space. In R. Camagni (Ed.), Innovation networks (pp. 121–144). London: Belhaven Press.Google Scholar
  6. Coburn, C. E., & Lin Russel, J. (2008). District policy and teachers’ social networks. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 30(3), 203–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cooke, P., Heidenreich, M., & Braczyk, H. J. (Eds.). (2004). Regional Innovation Systems (2nd ed.). London: UCL Press.Google Scholar
  8. Cornelissen, F., van Swet, J., Beijaard, D., & Bergen, T. (2011). Aspects of school – university research networks that play a role in developing, sharing and using knowledge based on teacher research. Teaching and Teacher Education, 17(6), 1049–1058.Google Scholar
  9. Cummings, J. N., & Cross, R. (2003). Structural properties of work groups and their consequences for performance. Social Networks, 25, 197–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Daly, A. J., & Finnigan, K. S. (2010). A bridge between worlds: understanding network structure to understand change strategy. Journal of Educational Change, 11, 111–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. de Lima, J. A. (2010). Thinking more deeply about networks in education. Journal of Educational Change, 11, 1–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Earl, L., & Katz, S. (2005). What makes a network a learning network? National College for School Leadership, UK. http://networkedlearning.ncsl.org.uk/collections/network-research-series/summaries/nlg-what-makes-a-network-a-learning-network.pdf. Accessed 10 January 2011.
  13. Edquist, C. (Ed.). (1997). Systems of innovation: Technologies, institutions and organizations. London: Pinter.Google Scholar
  14. Fullan, M. (2001). The new meaning of educational change (3rd ed.). New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  15. Gilsing, V. (2003). Exploration, exploitation and co-evolution in innovation networks, ERIM Ph.D. Series Research in Management 32, Rotterdam School of Management / Rotterdam School of Economics.Google Scholar
  16. Gopalakrishnan, S., & Damanpour, F. (1997). A review of innovation research in economics, sociology and technology management, omega. International Journal of Management Science, 25(1), 15–28.Google Scholar
  17. Granovetter, M. S. (1973). The strength of weak ties. The American Journal of Sociology, 78(6), 1360–1380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hansen, M. T. (1999). The search-transfer problem: the role of weak ties in sharing knowledge across organization subunits. Administrative Science Quarterly, 44(1), 82–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hargreaves, A. (2004). Inclusive and exclusive educational change: emotional responses of teachers and implications for leadership. School Leadership & Management, 24, 287–309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hatala, J.-P. (2006). Social network analysis in human resource development: a new methodology. Human Resource Development Review, 5(1), 45–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Heiskala, R., & Hämäläinen, T. J. (2007). Introduction: Historical transformation challenges established structures. In T. J. Hämäläinen & R. Heiskala (Eds.), Social innovations, institutional change and economic performance (pp. 1–7). Cheltenham, Northampton: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  22. Heiskala, R. (2007). Social innovations: structural and power perspectives. In T. J. Hämäläinen & R. Heiskala (Eds.), Social innovations, institutional change and economic performance (pp. 52–79). Cheltenham, Northampton: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  23. Hofman, R. H., & Dijkstra, B. J. (2010). Effective teacher professionalization in networks? Teaching and Teacher Education, 26(2010), 1031–1040.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kratzer, J., Leenders, R. Th. A. J., & Van Engelen, J. M. L. (2010). The social network among engineering design teams and their creativity: A case study among teams in two product development programs. International Journal of Project Management, 28(5), 428–436.Google Scholar
  25. Loogma, K. (2004). Töökeskkonnas õppimise tähendus töötajate kohanemisel töömuutustega. Doktoritöö, Tallinna Pedagoogikaülikool. Tallinn: TPÜ Kirjastus.Google Scholar
  26. Loogma, K. (2009). Changing work of VET teachers in Estonia. Presentation at the ECER Conference "Theory and Evidence in European Educational Research", 28–30 September 2009, Vienna.Google Scholar
  27. Lundvall, B.-A. (Ed.). (1992). National systems of innovation: Towards a theory of innovation and interactive learning. London: Pinter.Google Scholar
  28. Marcey, R. T., & Mumford, M. D. (2007). Social Innovation: enhancing creative performance through causal analysis. Creativity Research Journal, 19(2–3), 123–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Moulaert, F., Martinelli, F., Swyngedouw, E., & Gonzales, S. (2005). Towards alternative model(s) of local innovation. Urban Studies, 42(11), 969–1990.Google Scholar
  30. Mulgan, G. (2006). The Process of Social Innovation, www.policyinnovations.org. Accessed 20 May 2010.
  31. Pennell, J. R., & Firestone, W. A. (1996). Changing classroom practices through teacher networks: matching program features with teacher characteristics and circumstances. Teachers College Record, 98(1), 46–76.Google Scholar
  32. Powell, W. W., & Grodal, S. (2006). Networks of innovators. In J. Fagerberg, D. C. Mowery, & R. R. Nelson (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of innovation (pp. 56–85). Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Reagans, R., & McEvily, B. (2003). Network structure and knowledge transfer: the effects of cohesion and range. Administrative Science Quarterly, 48(2), 240–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Rekkor, S., Piiskop, K., Ruus, V.-R., & Tooman, H. (2005). Õppekavaarendus kutsehariduses. In Eesti kutseõppe I teaduskonverents "Teaduspõhine kutseõpe – osa teaduspõhisest majandusest": 25. august 2005 Eesti kutseõppe I teaduskonverents (pp. 37–50). Tallinn: Tallinna Ülikool.Google Scholar
  35. Rogers, E. (1995). Diffusion of innovations (4th ed.). New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  36. Ryymin, E., Palonen, T., & Hakkarainen, K. (2008). Networking relations of using ICT within a teacher community. Computers in Education, 51, 1264–1282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Scott, J. (2000). Social network analysis: A handbook. London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  38. Scott, W. R. (2001). Institutions and organizations (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  39. Sliwka, A. (2003). Networking for Educational Innovation: A Comparative Analysis, In Networks of Innovation. Towards New Models for Managing Schools and Systems (pp. 49–63), Schooling for Tomorrow, OECD.Google Scholar
  40. Statistics Estonia, database, available at: www.stat.ee.
  41. Struyven, K., & De Meyst, M. (2010). Competence-based teacher education: illusion or reality? An assessment of the implementation status in Flanders from teachers’ and students’ points of view. Teaching and Teacher Education, 26, 1495–1510.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Tuomi, I. (2005). The Future of Learning in the Knowledge Society: Disruptive Changes for Europe by 2020, background paper prepared for DG JRC/IPTS and DG EAC. http://www.meaningprocessing.com/personalPages/tuomi/articles/TheFutureOfLearningInTheKnowledgeSociety.pdf. Accessed 22 November 2010.
  43. Tuomi, I. (2006). The new meaning processing paradigm. In R. Compañó, C. Pascu, A. Bianchi, J.-C. Burgelman, S. Barrios, M. Ulbrich & I. Maghiros (Eds.), The Future of the Information Society in Europe: Contributions to the debate (pp. 197–227), Luxembourg: European Commission, EUR No: 22353 EN.Google Scholar
  44. Tödtling, F., Lehner, P., & Kaufmann, A. (2009). Do different types of innovation rely on specific kinds of knowledge interactions? Techno innovation, 29, 59–71.Google Scholar
  45. Uzzi, B. (1997). Social structure and competition in interfirm networks: The paradox of embeddedness. Administrative Science Quarterly, 42(1), 35–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity. New York: Cambridge University.Google Scholar
  47. Wilhelmsson, M. (2007). How can research networks improve the innovation process? CESIS Electronic Working Paper Series, Paper No. 108.Google Scholar
  48. Zembylas, M., & Bulmahn Barker, H. (2007). Teachers’ spaces for coping with change in the context of reform effort. Journal of Educational Change, 8, 235–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Külliki Tafel-Viia
    • 1
    Email author
  • Krista Loogma
    • 1
  • Silja Lassur
    • 2
  • Anne Roosipõld
    • 3
  1. 1.Centre of Educational ResearchTallinn UniversityTallinnEstonia
  2. 2.Estonian Institute for Futures StudiesTallinn UniversityTallinnEstonia
  3. 3.Estonian Entrepreneurship University for Applied SciencesTallinnEstonia

Personalised recommendations