Beyond Prototypes

Report coverI co-authored the Beyond Prototypes report, which provides an in-depth examination of the processes of innovation in technology-enhanced learning (TEL). The report sets out what can be done to improve the process of moving from academic research and innovative prototypes to effective and sustainable products and practices. In doing so, it shows that technological development is only a small part of the picture. Significant and lasting TEL innovation requires long-term shifts in practice. These shifts are not confined to the classroom or training environment; they require alterations to many different elements of the education system. In order to make these shifts, different communities and groups need to work creatively together over time, so policymakers and funders should plan for engagement with teams able to initiate, implement, scale and sustain long-term innovation.
Referencing the report: Scanlon, E., Sharples, M., Fenton-O’Creevy, M., Fleck, J., Cooban, C., Ferguson, R., Cross, S. and Waterhouse, P. Beyond Prototypes: Enabling Innovation in Technology-Enhanced Learning. Technology-Enhanced Learning Research Programme, London, 2013.

Key insights summarised:

TEL involves a complex system of technologies and practices. In order to embed significant TEL innovation successfully, it is necessary to look beyond product development and pay close attention to the entire process of implementation.

Significant innovations are developed and embedded over periods of years rather than months. Sustainable change is not a simple matter of product development, testing and roll-out.

TEL innovation is a process of bricolage. This process includes informed and directed exploration of the technologies and practices required to achieve an educational goal. It involves experimentation to generate fresh insights, and a creative use of available resources. It also requires engagement with a range of communities and practices.

Successful implementation of TEL innovation requires evidence that the projected educational goal has been achieved. Reliable evaluations must be carried out; their findings must be disseminated and acted on. Methods of evaluation are required that can be applied to processes of innovation and to institutional change, as well as those that can be applied to shifts in technology usage.

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