The Long March or Bold Strokes : Comparing Strategies for Adopting EVS Learning Technology at a UK University
In recent years there has been much encouragement to investigate the use of classroom technologies to enhance the student learning experience especially in the STEM subjects but now extending across other subject areas as well. A typical classroom technology is electronic voting system (EVS) handsets which allow a lecturer to invite students to vote for their choice from a selection of given answers. Recently, a medium-size UK University has purchased over 9000 EVS handsets for use across the academic Schools as an innovative means for supporting formative and summative testing. Numerous training and support sessions have been provided to staff with the intention of supporting new and experienced users and increasing the take up by academics. As noted in earlier research reported at ECEL 2013, the student feedback was very positive for the use of EVS for formative activities, and less so, for its use in summative assessment. A recent review of the trends of EVS adoption at the University has been undertaken to inform decision-making and future use and support for the technology. One aspect of this review has considered the effectiveness of the strategies adopted by different academic Schools. EVS adoption and use across the University has been compared and placed within Rogers’ theory of the diffusion of innovation. This paper further considers a set of six different strategies adopted for EVS use by academic Schools. They have been categorised according to several variables, including their choice of speed of uptake and the number of handsets in use. The inherent strengths and possible weaknesses of the approaches adopted are considered. Among the questions raised were, does a strategy of large-scale technology adoption over a short time period indicate a greater likelihood of long term engagement and ultimate adoption of the technology? Or, does a longer elapsed time taken for a gradual purchase and adoption of EVS technology suggest a greater inclination for the embedding of technology for enhancing learning? What other success factors should be considered alongside the training and support provided for technology adoption to enhance the likelihood of long term adoption of classroom technologies? The discussion provides a comparison of six different strategies identified across the university and the rationale behind them and then proposes a set of strategy choices which can lead to a greater likelihood of successful adoption of classroom technology.