Tech Times at Ely’s High

Ely’s High School

This activity reminded me a lot of one of those dinner mystery theatres.. and the game Clue.  “The Teachers, Principal and Board Facilitator… used the iPads…. in the School…. to help students learn…” What a terrific concept to learn about and understand Ely’s Conditions of Change.  Congratulations to all the creators for our course this week!

For those unfamiliar with this activity, we were asked to read over a school scenario, where the lucky high school was to receive enough iPads for everyone – staff and students – in their school for one year.  If they were to be successful, then other schools would get the opportunity.  For this assignment, my peers and I got to help them implement the use of the iPads in the school through interactive blogs.

Roles:Mrs. Elise Changer – Principal of Ely High, Evan Wells – Teacher at Ely High (Early Adopter role),  Joyce MacDonald – Teacher at Ely High (Reluctant Teacher role), and Francine Facil – Board Facilitator

For the purpose of this assignment, I was asked to blog with Francine.

Initial Analysis of the Board Facilitator

I must admit, that I did not have the best opinion of Francine at first.  She was really only worried about keeping a job at the board office, not wanting to go back to the classroom quite yet.   She made a plan on how to start up things, but not how to continue working with staff.  In September, she sent out an email to staff outlining the pedagogical implication of the iPad, research and Ministry documents.  She made a September Powerpoint and a FAQ sheet. Francine didn’t really want to interact with the staff other than through: a one-size fits all presentation, email and phone calls.  Francine did not want to ‘hold the hands’ of staff or differentiate for different staff learning needs – she only really wanted to work with the ‘keen’ teachers.  She did not seem very committed to working with the principal (who she secretly calls Mrs. Challenger) or those who are not already on board.  Deferral of responsibility was another avoidance strategy.  Overall, Francine wanted to keep her board office job with a minimal amount of work, with the most benefit for her professionally. 

Happily through suggestions of my peers and myself through this process, I think Francine sees her role differently, and has started to embrace things that might better the success of the project.

Using Ely’s Eight Conditions of Change Model, I categorized the suggestions I made with respect to building the use of iPads in the schools.

Ely’s Eight Conditions of Change

1. Dissatisfaction with the status quo

The board recognized a need to “increase literacy and numeracy skills, make students’ learning more relevant and meaningful and in turn raise standardized test scores.”

The principal, Mrs. Changer, did all the paperwork to start the process of getting the iPad grant for her school. (It is too bad that she did not involve her staff in this process, as it may have brought in more staff at the early onset of the project)

Generally I think teachers like to change things up in their programs to make them more interesting for them and for their students.  This of course is not always the case.

2. Sufficient knowledge and skills

  • suggested that Francine learn how to use the iPad to teach with and share this knowledge with the staff
  • suggested that she focus more on those who needed support like the “Joyce”s than than the “Evan”s of the school
  • suggested Student Technology Ambassadors – in a Coop/Technology course creating  potential student helpers in the class for teachers as needed
  • differentiate PD to meet the needs of the teachers (allow for signups)
  • suggested the building of a school wiki for definitions and app ideas that could be accessible on the iPad
  • suggested that all materials she generates be accessible on the iPad (no more paper!)
  • suggested websites that recommend apps that high school teachers might like 
  • to Joyce – I suggested some iTunesU podcasts  (general overview of the iPad, and assistive tech), some websites, and some apps that she might use with her class, and suggested that she might find some things on iTunesU

3. Availability of resources

  • I suggested that she help in making sure that supports were in place – availability of equipment and network
  • suggested Student Technology Ambassadors built through a credit course, which would potentially allow teachers to ‘sign out’ coop students as needed 
  • suggested the building of a school wiki for definitions and app ideas that could be accessible on the iPad
  • suggested that all materials she generates be accessible on the iPad (no more paper!)
  • to Joyce – I suggested some iTunesU podcasts  (general overview of the iPad, and assistive tech), some websites, and some apps that she might use with her class, and suggested that she might find some things on iTunesU

4. Availability of time

  • suggested that email and phone contact is difficult for staff during the day – that she spend more time at the school than she initially thought (initially 1 Friday a week.. went up to 4 at the end of our blogs)
  • suggested that all resources on the iPads for staff – this would also allow them to work at their own pace through the materials, could even take it home to work with it personally
  • Professional Development
  • I wish that I had added the idea of release time in small groups to allow for divisions to meet and devise lessons using the iPads

5. Reward or incentives

  • Francine is motivated by the idea that she keep her role as a Board Facilitator, so I suggested that she create a blog of all the cool things happening for the school – which could be added to her portfolio
  • suggested that working with early adopters might keep her motivated
  • suggested blogs and twitter could be used to highlight the cool things happening in the classes (thought this might act as a motivator for teachers who wish to share what they are doing with the iPads)
  • Student Technology Ambassadors could earn a credit for their time
  • to Joyce – I suggested some iTunesU podcasts that she might find useful for herself even into retirement
  • although I did not suggest this, the new iPads themselves could be seen as a reward for staff and students 

6. Participation

  • suggested that Francine work with not only the early adopters but also those that are not so keen
  • suggested that she encourage the Principal to use the iPad to help model it and show her involvement
  • suggested that she create and send out a survey to find out what teachers are concerned about and any thoughts they want to share (good way to create PD from too)
  • suggested student involvement in the process through trained Student Technology Ambassadors (coop/technology course) 
  • suggested Francine set up the idea of Twitter being a good format to share information between staff members, for questions and answers with everyone 

7. Commitment

  • suggested student involvement in the process through trained Student Technology Ambassadors – even through a coop/technology course – could help with maintenance – having the availability of a student helper in the class for teachers
  • suggested she spend more time at the school than just one day a week
  • suggested she model the use of the iPad

8. Leadership

  •  suggested indirectly that she might need to take on more leadership roles than she initially thought (Francine kept saying things like she did not expect to be ‘hand holding’, or certain things were not her job) even though she was in the best position to coordinate things, and the only one who could devote themselves 100% to the implementation of the iPads.  Think she expected the principal to do more in this area – while the principal wanted to continue running the school
  • suggested she differentiate PD to meet the needs of the teachers (allow for signups, suggestions for inservice)
  • suggested she spend more time at the school and use the technology with the staff for PD and support
  • suggested that she support all learners not just those that are early adopters

I would have probably made more suggestions.. but the first time I wrote her, I seemed to overwhelm her – lol.  My peers did an excellent job of vetting out things that I had not addressed anyways.  The conditions really need to work together to make the change happen. Fun assignment!



Part 2 – Looking up information about Ely’s Model

In trying to find out more about Ely’s Conditions to Facilitate Change, I came across Rachel Finken’s (2012) contribution to the wiki – Breaking the Mold: An Educational Perspective on Diffusion of Innovation/Ely’s Conditions to Facilitate the Implementation of Educational Technology Innovations in wikibooks.  In this wiki, Finken discusses the findings of Surry and Ensminger (2008) who looked at the application of Ely’s ideas to different Educational systems and the business world.  This included the K-12 school system.  I took a look at that study too. I was a bit intrigued to see if what I thought would be important in a school would be the same.  From this study, they created a chart that outlined the conditions in importance for each group.   For a High school, the order would be as follows:  dissatisfaction, resources, time, commitment, participation, skills and knowledge, leadership and reward.

Finken writes: “For educators, the study indicated that resources, participation, and skills and knowledge were closely grouped as the three most important factors in facilitating implementation for the education group. This showed the education group perceived that in order for an innovation to be successfully implemented, workers need supporting resources, a sense of ownership in the decision making process, and the skills and knowledge necessary to use the innovation effectively (Ensminger & Surry, 2008).”

I was pleased to note that ‘Reward’ was the least important condition in all three groups examined.  While I understand the benefits of extrinsic motivators with learning practices, it is not my favourite motivational tool – but I do admit that giving teachers food can be a big motivator! lol  The leadership part also did not surprise me too much – as teachers generally see themselves as leaders in education, and life long learners. 

Finken also shares a “Guide for the Educational Change Agent” that can help work an institution through the change.  I wish I had seen this wiki prior to doing my blogs with Francine – lol – but now that I have it, it will be a good resource to share with my staff.

So.. at the end of it all, I think I have a pretty good idea about Elys’ Conditions of Change Model – where each condition plays a part in the adoption of a technology.  Francine the Board Facilitator seemed to change over time.. and happily I think much better of her and rather like her now.  She will do an awesome job as well as will the other cast members.  I think there is hope for the implementation of the iPads at Ely’s High School.. now if only this could be real! I volunteer my school!!!




I ran across this game awhile ago.. it is a little like this simulation that we did for this class – The Diffusion Simulation Game. It is free.

(The Diffusion Simulation Game was created in the Department of Instructional Systems Technology at Indiana University Bloomington. This Web version was led by Dr. Ted Frick with designers Barbara Ludwig, K. J. Kim and Rui Huang. The DSG is based on a board game originally developed by Dr. Michael Molenda and Patricia Young, and is based on research on diffusion and adoptions of innovations.)


References (1976). Overview – Ely’s Conditions of Change. [online] Retrieved from: [Accessed: 12 Mar 2013].

Correia, A.-P. (2012) (Ed.). Breaking the Mold: An Educational Perspective on Diffusion of Innovation. Wikibook/textbook, available at:’s_Conditions_to_Facilitate_the_Implementation_of_Educational_Technology_Innovations [Accessed: 12 Mar 2013].

Ensminger, D. C. & Surry, D. W. (2008). Relative ranking of conditions that facilitate innovation implementation in the USA. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 24(5), 611-626.


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