Technology Assessment in Education and Training

By Eva L. Baker; Harold F. O'Neil Jr. | Go to book overview

2
An Ecological Approach for
Information Technology
Intervention, Evaluation, and
Software Adoption Policies
Zimra Peled Elad Peled Gad Alexander Ben-Gurion University of the NegevThis chapter reviews an approach that guided a 5-year ( 1985-1986 to 1988- 1989) research-oriented information technology innovation (Project Comptown) that extensively computerized school systems in two localities in Israel ( E. Peled, Z. Peled, & Alexander, 1989). The intervention, evaluation, and resulting software adoption policies all evolved from a single conceptual formulation that we call "ecological" ( Gibbs, 1979; Z. Peled, E. Peled, & Alexander, 1991). This formulation treats the constituents of large-scale interventions and evaluations and combines their multisystemic and treatment-specific components into a model of educational change.The chapter is divided into three parts. The first part presents the ecological formulation and briefly describes the Comptown project. The second part elaborates principles, considerations, and procedures that are central for the evaluation of large-scale information technology interventions. This part presents a model that within the same evaluation handles two types of processes that are modeled by two types of fundamentally different paradigms:
1. Cultural ecological processes that cannot be subjected to experimentation: The evaluation of these processes is based on paradigm modeling processes that evolve from complex cultural-ecological arrangements. The use of this paradigm prescribes longitudinal explorations, multiple ecological contrasts, identification of systemic interdependencies, and hypotheses generation.
2. Treatment specific processes that are subjected to experimental manipulations: The evaluation of these processes is based on a paradigm that modeling processes evolve from mindful ( Salomon & Perkins, 1989) computer software manipulations (i.e., conscious manipulation of the elements of the software).

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