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Psychological investigations of educational explorations with technology: Understanding what makes a ‘good innovation’

, Michigan State University, United States

Michigan State University . Awarded


In this study, I set out to answer the question, “What makes a good technological innovation?”—an important mandate for our young field of educational technology. Drawing on an exploration of an innovation entitled, ‘Got Milk?’, as well as an in-depth literature review, I establish that a good innovation is one that consists of three “P's”: pedagogy, people, and performance. I argue that this deep psychological approach helps us establish a more multi-layered and complete understanding of the impact of technology innovations.

In working to establish this model of a good innovation, and thus to learn more about the participants working with the innovation, I adapted an interview protocol from Dan McAdams (McAdams, 1995) that leads a person through the telling of their story. This narrative approach, initially used as a methodology to understand educational technology implementation, was used by the teachers and students to further develop their teliographies regarding life, teaching, and teaching with technology.

Understanding the elements of a good innovation is an important task for our young field. It allows us to revisit what we already know, ground what we are currently working on, and guide our future endeavors. The unintended outcome of the positive use of the narrative methodology is also important as it offers the potential for a new approach to teaching teachers about technology. Implications for both of these points are drawn for teachers, developers, and teacher educators.


Ferdig, R.E. Psychological investigations of educational explorations with technology: Understanding what makes a ‘good innovation’. Ph.D. thesis, Michigan State University. Retrieved September 26, 2021 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

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