Fuzzy cognitive map modelling the adoption of educational software in schools
This thesis focuses on modelling factors in the adoption of educational software in schools based on the perceptions of key stakeholders. Findings indicate educational software adoption in UK secondary schools is unsatisfactory. Given the potential of educational software to affect the learning process; the government's emphasis on developing software content for learning purposes and the concern that scarce resources in schools are wasted on software that is inappropriately used or not used at all, there is a need to ensure the successful take-up of educational software. This study aims to provide schools the means to facilitate better management of resources and achieve greater utilisation of educational software. The study in recognising the importance of stakeholders in any technological adoption considers modelling educational software adoption in schools, based on key stakeholders' perceptions. Fuzzy cognitive maps (FCMs), considered extensions of cognitive maps used for modelling complex chains of casual relationships, are used as a modelling approach in this study. A mixed methods research approach is adopted. Participants, include students; a range of teachers; ICTCoordinators and ICT-Technicians, drawn from three UK secondary schools. The resulting FCM model offers a visual medium providing insight into the factors required in the take-up of educational software. Some factors identified include the availability and accessibility to IT facilities and equipment; the availability of educational software; software ability to satisfy learning requirements and to meet curriculum requirements. The model provides the means to identify factors which have a greater impact on educational software adoption, so scarce resources can be directed accordingly. As a holistic model it provides insight into the context of educational software adoption in schools. As a dynamic model it allows the opportunity to explore `what-if possibilities relating to policy and investment options. The model can act as a guide for planners, decision-makers and software developers.