Ten Reasons for IT Educators to Be Early Adopters of IT Innovations

Article excerpt

Introduction

Innovations in the field of information technology (IT) continue to increase at an ever spiraling rate; advances in operating systems, software, communication devices and methodologies are renovating the inventory of IT products on a near daily basis. Businesses are embracing many of these technologies and are anticipating that university graduates will have the skills to quickly adapt to their business environment and choices of technologies. The IT educator plays a significant role in preparing students in IT fields of study to enter the IT-permeated business environment. That role is, in part, influenced by the educator's attitudes and choices regarding adoption of innovations. Educators in every discipline help to prepare their graduates for the world beyond the classroom. Every discipline has those educators who are considered "techies" or innovators those who are first to adopt new technologies. It is expected that a higher percentage of IT educators would be early adopters of IT innovations.

As new technology and changes to existing technologies make their way into the marketplace, those involved--private citizens, businesses, industry, and educational institutions--must determine the right time, if ever, to embrace these innovations and to integrate them into their lives and/or business processes or curricula. Not all consumers rush to buy a newly introduced product, and not all IT innovations are immediately embraced by IT professionals and educators. Ignoring the institutional and environmental influences that often hinder adoption (resource considerations), IT educators follow similar patterns of adoption as the population in general. Some tinker with virtually every new "toy" and adopt immediately those of interest or use; others wait for the innovators to sift out the chaff and then try only the "good stuff"; others wait until their friends, colleagues, or students are using and talking about a product and then decide they had better adopt just to fit in; others choose not to adopt and seem to wish they could go back to the "good 'ol days." Whereas few IT educators appear to fall into the "No, thank you!" category, by virtue of the nature of the field itself, the authors suggest that none should! There are numerous reasons. After a brief discussion of innovation adoption and diffusion theory as well as factors that influence an educator's adoption decision, ten reasons that support early adoption are presented.

Innovation Adoption and Diffusion Theories

Innovation adoption and diffusion theories as academic research endeavors have emerged over the last 40 or so years (McMaster & Wastell, 2005), yielding numerous models: Theory of Planned Behavior (Ajzen, 1985); Technology Acceptance Model (Davis, 1986); Theory of Reasoned Action (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975); Concerns-Based Adoption Model (G. E. Hall, Wallace, & Dossett, 1973); Technology-Adoption Life Cycle (Iowa State University, 1957); Instructional Transformation model (Rieber & Welliver, 1989); Diffusion of Innovation (Rogers, 1962); Integrated Technology Adoption and Diffusion Model (Sherry, 1998); Decomposed Theory of Planned Behavior (Taylor & Todd, 1995). Each model has a unique set of acceptance determinants (Venkatesh, Morris, Davis, & Davis, 2003).

Research into the psychology of judgment and choice (Billings & Scherer, 1988; Einhorn & Hogarth, 1981; Kottermann & Davis, 1991; Tversky, Sattath, & Slovic, 1988; Zakay, 1985), sensemaking (Louis, 1980; Pereira, 2002; Prasad, 1993; Seligman, 2006; Weick, 1995;), and herd behavior (Banerjee, 1992; Farrell & Saloner, 1985; Scharfstein & Stein, 1990, 2000; Vergari, 2005) has enhanced the field of study and added unique dimensions to the research. Nay-sayers also enrich the field of research, provoking thought and entreating further research. McMaster and Wastell (2005, pg. …