Historically implementing, maintaining and managing educational technology has been difficult for K-12 educational systems. Consequently, opportunities for significant advances in K-12 education have often gone unrealized. With the maturation of Internet delivered services along with K-12 institutional trends, educational technologies are poised to help support the transformation K-12 education by providing student access to educational resources on an anywhere, anytime, any device basis. In addition, an emerging body of empirical research shows that when implemented systematically, technology can support a wide range of potential education innovations including inverted classrooms, peer-to-peer teaching and customized learning as well as increased academic achievement.
A major public policy question is how best to insure educational technology resources reach all K-12 students in the shortest time and most equitable way possible. In response, this paper adopted an educational technology value chain model to assess potential avenues and barriers to implementing educational technology inK-12 systems. We find that a fully implemented educational technology value chain would directly benefit students, teachers, school systems and society. However, the analysis also finds that efforts to implement educational technology in K-12 systems still must overcome challenges and risks.
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Fig. 2 presents a standard version of a diffusion of innovation curve (Bass, 1969; Rogers 2003). It is characterized by a sigmoid function that exhibits very slow growth in during the initial stages of development followed by often rapid increase (depending on the innovation or application) and ending with a leveling off, as the limits of the innovation’s utility are achieved. Concurrent with the diffusion growth curve is a second, inverse sigmoid curve that represents the fiscal and organizational transaction costs associated with introducing and implementing an innovation. In this case, there is a relatively long period where the costs associated with developing a technology’s infrastructure do not decline appreciably. However, as an infrastructure matures, there can follow a relatively rapid decline in the fiscal and transaction costs associated with the innovation. Transaction costs are most likely to decline when a technology is successfully integrated (fully operationalized) into the organizational system(s) it supports, which in this case is the K-12 system. Thus, the slope of the diffusion function is dependent on the financial and transaction cost function, and the slope of the cost function is determined ultimately by how fully the value chain (Fig. 1) is implemented.
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We wish to thank two anonymous reviewers for their very helpful comments. We would also like to thank Dr. Elizabeth Grady for her insights on the integration of educational technology into K-12 curricula and organizational systems.
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Pierce, G.L., Cleary, P.F. The K-12 educational technology value chain: Apps for kids, tools for teachers and levers for reform. Educ Inf Technol 21, 863–880 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10639-014-9357-1